Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, June 09, 2008

The Top Ten Things I learned from The Golden Compass

As a way to beat the dreaded heat wave that's currently making it's way thru New York these days,I finally got a chance to see the controversial film adaptation of The Golden Compass that stirred certain folks up so last winter.

The first book of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy received a mixed response from both film critics and devoted readers of the series,which combined with the reluctance of some due to all of the fuss and feathers stirred up in the media,ultimately resulted in a less than stellar box office take. The chances of the other two books that follow The Golden Compass(Subtle Knife,Amber Spyglass)coming to the big screen are greatly reduced by those standards.

That would be a real shame,in my opinion,because whether you agree with Pullman's philosophy or not,this is a very intriguing and imaginative tale that is unfolded for us. While I can easily understand why some viewers may find the characters rather cold and many of the plot points extremely talky and overly mysteriously(like a junior version of David Lynch's Dune),once you get into it,the narrative really begins to flow.

For those unfamiliar with the basic plot,it's your traditional quest story with a female lead-young Lyra(well played by Dakota Blue Richards)leaves her sheltered existence at Jordan College and discovers that two of the major adults in her life,her uncle Lord Asriel(Daniel Craig) and her new friend Mrs. Coulter(Nicole Kidman,are involved in opposite ends of a brewing war for thought control that involves kidnapping children to use as test subjects for a procedure that divides them from their daemons(animal spirits that represent each person's soul). Sort of a spiritual lobotomy,if you will.

Lyra takes even more of a personal interest in this struggle when two of her friends are snatched up by the forces of evil and with the help of the title compass(a mystical truth telling device)and several alliances made along the way that include an armored ice bear,witches and a sky cowboy,Lyra's destiny makes a strong start.

With any luck,someone in Hollywood will take a real chance and make the sequels because this story deserves to be completed(if they can make a "do-over" version of the Incredible Hulk,they can certainly finish this trilogy!)and it may do better the next time around. In the meanwhile,here are a few things that I picked up from the film:

10) Dust is not just something to clean up,it's one of the most mysterious elements in more than one universe:

9) If having your daemon separated from you is only "a little cut",then why won't YOU have it done to yourself?

8) An ice bear's armor is like his soul;without it,he might as well take up whiskey drinking.

7) Sometimes it is best to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.

6)When bluffing a bear king,it helps to know what his heart's desire is and his darkest secrets are:

5) Beware of glittery,golden gowned women who suddenly enter your life and want to be your bestest friend right away:

4) Traveling by ice bear is a lot faster without the armor on.

3)If the Witches of the Air are joining your foes,you have much to fear:

2) Things will need to be sorted out before you can go home again.

1) Watch what question you ask while battling to the death. The answer you get may not be to your liking in the end:


Ladytink_534 said...

I still haven’t seen or read this yet. Not sure when I’ll get to it but I wonder whether I should watch the film first.

lady t said...

I think it's safe to watch the film before seeing the movie,since the movie had to leave out certain things due to time limits(that's what I have heard,anyway).

I didn't get very far in my reading of the books but am inspired to try again after seeing Golden Compass on film.