The Golden Compass(2007)
This is based on the first novel (also released under the title 'Northern Lights'). It's set in a parallel universe – where people's souls manifest themselves as small animals, talking bears fight wars, and children are mysteriously disappearing. It follows 12-year-old Lyra (newcomer Dakato Blue Richards) and her quest to find her kidnapped friend Roger. Unwittingly catapulted into the heart of a much bigger, terrible struggle, Lyra is forced to seek aid from the good and bad of her world.
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BY Andrew Hedley Flicks Writer
The Golden Compass is an adventurous tale of young Lyra who leaves her refined Oxford home to travel to the ice-bound north, where her uncle, Lord Asriel, is conducting heretical experiments to open up a gateway into a parallel world. It's a savage land, where armoured bears prowl, beautiful witches fly through the skies, and evil British scientists are conducting horrible experiments on children.
The parallel world setting is magnificent, and their London is a steam-punk art-deco metropolis. Life here is also different. Every human being has their soul represented as an animal that wanders beside them, called a daemon. Children's daemons change, and only settle as the humans reach adulthood. There is a very interesting subtext here – it's bad to touch someone else's daemon, or wander too far from your own – but the film doesn't explore this in huge detail.
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was a successful fantasy adaptation because it felt fresh and original. It was like nothing else out there. Unfortunately, The Golden Compass doesn't have quite the same panache or conviction. It looks great, but there is something too literal about the translation from book to screen. It never transcends the source material, so there is little to move audiences unfamiliar with the story.
And without the context of the two sequels, the deeper meanings and philosophical questions that were posed by the books are largely left unanswered here. Characters are thinner, and their goals aren't quite as clear-cut. Add in the fact that the book's final chapters have been shifted to the beginning of a potential second movie, and you've got one very underwhelming ending (although, conversely, it made me rabidly excited about the sequel).
But in spite of all that, for my money, this is as good a young person's fantasy as you're going to get. The visual effects are very impressive, particularly the animation used to bring the polar bears to life. You can almost feel their weight during a brutal bear fight. Their king, Ragnar Sturlusson, is a scary creation indeed.
Performances, too, are all good. Particularly Dakota Blue Richards who plays Lyra with a plucky artful-dodger type charm. Daniel Craig plays Lord Asriel as Ernest Shackleton meets Indiana Jones - half oxford professor, half artic explorer. Nicole Kidman is creepy as the cunning Mrs Coulter.
The Golden Compass certainly provides a decent start to the fantasy trilogy, and we can only hope that the filmmakers are allowed to take more risks with the sequels.
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The Golden Compass
When I saw this movie i was bored out of mind. I mean the story was impossible to understand or keep up with at that matter. Everyones saying that this movie is so good and that is why I saw it.
I think my cousins wasted their money on a piece of junk. They also wasted their time. It was worse than Fools Gold witch was terrible by the way.
Im surprised that people liked the movie. Its like paying someone to kill you.
THERES NO PLOT LINE!
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