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The Golden Compass (The Movie)
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Went to see the movie this afternoon, and all in all it was pretty good, about as good a movie as could be made out of the source material.

The casting was very good (except for Lord Asriel), the acting was good, and the story had been edited about as well as possible to make it under 2 hours. The special effects and set design were also very good (though Ms. Coulter's monkey looked off). It was weird seeing it rated PG-13 after seeing Beowulf, which was far more sex-filled and violent. Compass could have been a little bloodier and been truer to the source material.

It clipped along at a brisk pace, trying to get as much of the plot in as possible, without a lot of standing around chatting and explaining the concepts, which was fine, since I think a lot of the conceptual stuff is incomprehensible and silly anyway.

I don't really understand the charges of watering down the religious criticism, because there wasn't a whole hell of a lot of it in the first book anyway. And I really don't see how a trilogy chock full of spirits, souls, daemons, and witches could really seriously criticize religion anyway.

So I'd tentatively recommend it if you just want a weird, briskly-paced fantasy adventure.

[SPOILER ALERT]




The big "change" was the truncation of the story to not include the actual scene where Roger is separated from his daemon, opening the portal to the other worlds through which Asriel and Lyra travel.

I think the main reason for this had nothing to do with running time or storytelling, but the fact that they didn't want to portray the death of any children in the film. The boy who'd had his daemon experimentally removed earlier in the film actually died in the book, but was alive at the end of the movie. I think they basically punted, figuring they'd deal with the issue in sequels if it came to that, and not dealing with it at all if the movie flopped.

So, a bit chicken-shit, but all in the name of marketing. All the Pullman devotees should seriously reconsider all the praise they've heaped upon someone so readily willing to sell out in the name of commercial gain.


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