« R2D2 Translator | Home | The Torchwood Institute blog »

December 10, 2007

The Golden Compass

It's been a few years since I read Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, but from what I can remember The Golden Compass is a very accurate conversion of that book to film. That does unfortunately mean that it suffers from all of the same deficencies as the book. At times the plot wanders away from the core story of missing children, characters are introduced seemingly at random and there is the hint that everything is much bigger than the story we are being told. Which is of course true. Northern Lights becomes a better book after reading The Subtle Knife.

There are some good things about the film though. Firstly it looks gorgeous, I loved the twisted, parallel world vistas of Oxford and London, and also liked all the airships type contraptions, and the daemons were fantastic. As for the polar bears, well, they could have been real. I thought the atcing was pretty good too, Nicole Kidman was scary, Daniel Craig didn't have too much screen time to prove himself, and all the daemons acted well too. Plus it gets bonus points for having Derek Jacobi and Christopher Lee in the same scene.

Hopefully the next two films will get made and we can watch the true, full, story of His Dark Materials, whereupon all of the plot hints and subcontext will become more exposed.

Anyway, I liked it. Metaphysics for adults, fighting polar bears for kids.


Fighting polar bears is for adults. Watching polar bears fighting is for kids, and wimpy adults.

A lot of people seem to prefer the book, or at least read it first. If you're one of them you might like one of these t-shirts with a design promoting the book by Philip Pullman.

Look under Books & Films at