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As good as can be expected

Disclosure: I dislike movies as a way of spending three hours, I very rarely actually walk into a theatre, I see stuff on cable and that's usually good enough for me.

My Son and I went to see The Golden Compass today. I have read Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, so I understand the story, know what is going to happen next, and can identify the characters.

My reaction: it's as good a film as could be made of those books. The Dark Materials books are very heavy on philosophy and thought and analysis, a long way away from 'We must destroy this Ring' and off we go for three movies. Taking a cerebral book and making a movie from it means that, over and over, an entire chapter of exposition and development must be crammed into a witch dropping down on to the deck of a boat and telling Lyra something she needs to know for the next scene to make sense. A movie version of Boethius would suffer from the same issues. Selah. I think they did a reasonable job of translating a philosophical treatise into interpretive dance.

And I can see why people who won't ever bother to read the novels think that it's all about bashing the Catholic Church. If you can't read and won't watch, and refuse to think, then by all means believe what someone in Authority tells you to think. After all, that's what the movie is about.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
Until the big stink arose, I just thought it was about toppling a oppressive government--Lord knows we've got plenty of those!
Dec. 16th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
I don't think it's *all* about bashing the RCC any more than is Tales of Symphonia (a game which includes a villainous "Pope" for a fraud religion). That said, I was none too pleased with the relevant points I heard during an out-loud reading of TGC, and those who have read the other two books tell me it gets much worse. The author explicitly set out to write an antithesis to Narnia, featuring a "Yahweh" who must be destroyed. It may be toned down on screen, but the movie is still a likely gateway to the books.

But I'm not declining to watch it for that reason. I hadn't ruled out watching it until the reviews came in. Sorry, but a merely average rating on IMDb is unpromising by my standards. Maybe someday if it's showing on a plane ride...
Dec. 16th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
Just to set it straight from the beginning: it isn't God that is the enemy, it's a being who is posing as the Creator. big difference.

And anyone who thinks she or he is really an animal at heart (like a lot of the 'furry' people we seem to correspond with) has to love the idea of an animal soul! ;)

Tastes vary. Personally, I'm in favor of anything that kicks Authority in the ankle a few times, there's way too much Authority and way too little Responsibility around, to my mind.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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