Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not so Golden Compass

Saw it on Friday with a medium-sized crowd. After 30 minutes the teens behind me became restless and started making comments. The first half of the movie depicts an unusual interesting alternative world but the story is rushed by so fast you have no feel for the characters, they are cardboard cutouts either all good or all bad. A highlight is the remarkable Dakota Blue Richards as the teenage heroine. A major point of departure for this parallel world is that people's souls are personified outside of their bodies as small talking animals. The last half of the movie is much better as the heroine and a band of allies head north to find missing children, probably kidnapped by the almost all-powerful Magisterium, the church/rulers of this world. New allies keep being added including the hero of the second half of the movie, a huge talking fighting bear. The teens behind me greatly enjoyed the battle scenes. As people die on this parallel world golden dust streams off their bodies. The ending with a small band headed off to find the heroine's father and solve the mystery of the dust also seemed rushed and screamed out for the sequels. Many reminders of the Lord of the Rings and similar fantasies. I was also reminded of the anime alternative Victorian-like worlds of Hayao Miyazaki and Hiromu Arakawa. (Confession, I had read and enjoyed the fantasy trilogy The Golden Compass is derived from.)

3.5 dusty battle stars out of 5 for rushed execution of a fantastic story.

Catholic bishops give thumbs-up to ‘Golden Compass’

Amy Biancolli: Nickel tour through a parallel dimension 2.5 out of 4.

Salon, Stephanie Zacharek: "a spectacle with no heart, no brains and no soul."

1 comment:

Gary said...

Pat says it sounds like the movie just needed 15 to 30 more minutes.

Yes, added to the first half this would move my rating up quite a bit.