Movie review: “The Golden Compass”

We loved The Golden Compass (click on link for discussion of the movie). It was an awesome fantasy movie, which left us hanging in the end, and yearning for more!

It is based on the first novel of a trilogy titled His Dark Materials by British novelist Philip Pullman. In the United States, the first novel is called The Golden Compass (click on link for discussion of the novel), whereas elsewhere it is called Northern Lights.

The movie was released in December 2007, by New Line Cinema, who had produced the highly popular Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The central character of the story is Lyra Belacqua (played by Dakota Blue Richards), an orphan girl who lives in a universe that exists parallel to our own, where the souls of human beings exist outside their bodies in the shape of an animal, called “a daemon” (not a ‘demon’, please note). This world is ruled by an autocratic government called the Magisterium. Lyra lives in some sort of college, under the care of her uncle, Lord Asriel (played by Daniel Craig – yummm), who returns from a trip to the North to speak about something called “Dust”, which appears to be entering their world from another parallel universe. He convinces the college to fund a research expedition to the north, and leaves Lyra behind once more. When her best friends are kidnapped by rather menacing people called ‘Gobblers’, she sets out to rescue them and to find her uncle.

The movie caused quite an uproar among Christian organizations. Among many other things, they objected to the idea that the soul could exist outside the human body, and denounced the film as ‘godless’ (see here). Conversely, others complained that the film had diluted central themes (esp. the abuse of power and the autocratic and dogmatic side of organized religion) in Pullman’s original novels.

As a result, the film did not make as much money as the studio hoped, and so it looks a bit doubtful that the two other novels in the trilogy will be turned into movies.

I’ll just have to read the original books then!


For other movies we’ve watched in May, click on:

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