The Golden Compass

We saw this with the kids on New Years Day.

Despite the number of rather negative reviews of the movie, we all thought it was really, really good.

It prompted a lot of questions from Tania afterward, which means it made her think. Jason was just pleased there was some fighting.

It is a simple story of the forces of light versus the forces of darkness. Or as the Yahoo movies synopsis puts it, "A 12-year-old girl tries to rescue a kidnapped friend and winds up on an epic quest to save her world."

I wonder why movies such as The Golden Compass, Van Helsing and Willow, which are simple good vs evil stories, get lower critical acclaim than movies such as Aliens or Forbidden Planet which are also simple good vs evil stories. The only difference I see is that the former are steeped more the mythology and symbolism of Western Judeo-Christian thought than the latter. Consequently, people not familiar with it (i.e. possessed with preconditioned emotional responses) miss the impact of those symbols.

The movie is also somewhat anti-establishmentarian in promoting free thought and free will over blind obedience and acceptance, but, mostly, it is an entertaining adventure movie with a 12 year old girl as the heroine.

I have to confess that when I saw the trailer the first time in the theatre, I was interested in seeing it ... until the polar bears came up - then I thought it might be kind of goofy (yup, armoured polar bears in a fantasy movie seemed goofy to me). Fortunately, the polar bears come across very well.

Image nabbed from here.


Vandalith T. said…
I will watch this movie in the next few days. I don't want to be in a long queue and I still feel really comfort to stay at home :p

Anyway, did you hear any negative comment to Golden Compass which related with religiosity? I heard such gossip but I didn't really understand. It said something like dishonors religions?

Differently with your opinion about the polar bear... I thought it has to be "big", except big in literally. It is something different, not like the common lion :p

I really hope, it won't failed my expectations.
Ancilla said…
first of all, i amazed that the golden compass already on the theater. In Indonesia! I never feel far left behind, I just don't realized that it is this fast.

Does it means that the world is really getting flat?

This movie costs a lot of money. I expect this book-adapted-movie won't let me down like Narnia. Somehow, I am quite expecting there are movies as great as LOTR....
WE missed this in our town last week. If we had kids, we'd see a LOT more movies! I never see any...and only rent a few a year.
Richard said…
vandalith: thanks for dropping by. The controversy seems to be between the author (an athiest) and some Roman Catholics (and other Christians). The author has said he wrote the story as a deliberate attack on the Church and a promotion of atheism.

I have not read the book, so I cannot comment on that.

The movie however, does not explicitly mention the Church. There is a Magisterium, which is dressed up and looks from the political point like the Church at its worst. But there is certainly nothing in the movie that is explicitly anti-Church or anti-Christian.

I just thought the movie was good fun.

ancilla: you didn't like Narnia? I thought it was very good. I tink this movie is much more similar in style to Narnia than to LOTR.

Personally, I thought LOTR was to-o-o-o-o long. It did not move me as much as I hoped it would. But then again, I couldn't even get through the books because I thought they were boring. My friends who like LOTR hate me for saying that.

I would rate Narnia 3.5 - 4 and LOTR 3.0 - 3.5

MOI: no, no, you have it all wrong: when you have kids, you see fewer movies. We are starting to see more movies, but they tend to be kids movies (which is ok with me, since I happen to like kids movies and rarely am interested in movies rated higher than PG - because, as far as I am concerned, if it not suitable for everyone, it probably isn't suitable for anyone).
Ancilla said…
hahahaha... yupes, i didn't like it. i haven't read the book, but i guess that the movie is too short. hehehe... i feel like i don't really have the complete picture...

LOTR is great because of the story and the effect! it is a great thing that the sequel made more profit than others.
Ancilla said…
richard, i watched the film yesterday. it is a good one, but for me i feel a little bit disappointed because of its flow.

the story is put too much focus on lyra. i don't know how the others. the conflict and so on. hehehe...
Richard said…
ancilla: hmmm ... interesting. I rather liked the film because the focus is on Lyra. I dislike stories with the focus on too many characters.

I wonder if that is a extrovert / introvert difference? You like to focus on what a lot of people are doing and I prefer to focus on what one person is doing?

Wow! So many interesting differences are opening between us.

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