The Golden Compass
**WARNING - CONTAINS SPOILERS BELOW**
On Saturday night, Wife & I sneaked off to the cinema to see the Golden Compass. This is the first installment of Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, retitled from its original “The Northern Lights”.
We were ahead with getting the house ready for the carpet fitters arriving on Monday, so we decided to make a ‘proper’ evening of it. Daughter’s Best Friend’s Mother arrived at 7:15 to babysit, giving us time to sit down for a burger at Frankie & Benney’s next to the cinema.
The film itself was great. With any book-of-the-film, there’s always a degree of editing, which can often go too far (Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire only just more than a list of the chapter titles), and there were things left out here, as well as some tweaks in the order of some events. But on the whole, these changes were for the better, improving the narrative flow of the story.
I was also pleased to see that Philip Pullman’s apparent distrust & suspicion of [a large, based in Rome] religion hadn’t been completely sanitised to get the film past focus groups and into production. This is a crucial point for the plot of all three of the books, so leaving it in, at the risk of causing some offence was quite a move in these ar$€-clenchingly PC times in which we live.
The special effects were really well done - I’m now convinced that Daemons are real, polar bears can talk, and witches can fly. Speaking of polar bears, it was obvious that at least someone in the audience hadn’t read the book. At the end of the fight between Iorek Byrnison and the usurper Iofor Raknison, the loser has his jaw ripped off. When this happened, the audience was fairly shocked and silent, except for one woman, whose voice rang out, “Oh my God!”.
The casting was great. Dakota Blue is fantastic as Lyra, Danial Craig brilliantly commanding as Azriel, Nicole Kidman frankly scary as Mrc Coulter. The supporting actors are also great - especially Jim Carter as John Faa, with a flawless accent and physical presence, and Eva Green as Serafina Pekkala - one scary, alluring, flying, bow-wielding babe (schwiiing!). The only acting that didn’t push my buttons was Ian McKellen’s voice as Iorek - not enough Scandinavian for my ears.
If you haven’t read any of the books, go and see this film, it’s a hugely entertaining visual fest. If you have read ‘em, go and see it too - you won’t feel disappointed.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 12/09/2007
- Total Time: 1:00:00.00
- Distance: 20 miles
- Average Speed: 20 mph