The Golden Compass: The Review

So, after my mother took me out to dinner I took myself to the nearest Showcase Cinemas and saw the 7:30 showing of The Golden Compass. Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect, having not read the book (I wanted to wait to read it, that way I wouldn't be disappointed).

The movie was okay for the most part. The special effects were decent, but it was the acting that really shined. You know how in some movies, it's the cinematography or the script? This time, it was the acting.

For the six and a half minutes that he was on-screen, Daniel Craig rocked. He commanded everyone's attention, even when he wasn't yelling or giving the Council the 007 Glare. Nicole Kidman came to life for once and put in a stellar performance as Marisa Coulter, the head of the Magisterium, who was simultaneously sweet and poisonous... and had a real douche bag of a monkey for a daemon, or animal spirit. Sam Elliot was a cowboy... literally. He was SO good, what with his drawl and his jack rabbit daemon named Hester and his very shiny gun and his greasy hair and Gregory Peck eyebrow-mustache. Ian McKellen was BOMB as Iorek Byrnison, the armored bear, with his strong voice. Every time he got angry, or spoke, I was like, "bitch is gonna die."

EVA GREEN. I want to be you when I grow up. Why are you so pretty and so talented and pretty?

And last but not least, Dakota Blue Richards. She was fantastic as Lyra Belacqua, the protagonist. This is her breakout role and I do think that after this trilogy is done we shall be seeing more of her. I hope we do. She was the right amount of petulant and sarcastic and brave, never afraid to take charge of a scene, even among veteran actors. She was comfortable and genuine, and reminded me a little of myself when I was younger. You know, running through fields and talking to animals and hanging out with old men and gypsies on dirigibles.

However, as fun and fantastic as the acting was, the movie was terribly rushed. I do know some about author Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, and even without reading the three books I could tell that his characters lost their nuances and the plot was simplified in order to appease a two-hour limit, which is a shame, because I would have loved to have learned more about the characters and the world. A lot of people complained that it was hard to keep up and that they didn't understand some of it. Understandable. Some things definitely got lost in translation while filming this.

But for an adaptation, it could have been worse. It was okay, although not as well thought out as the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings films.

Go see it, though, if you've got 2 hours to spare and want to see two polar bears kick the ever-loving shit out of each other. And while you're there, kick a Catholic. They're protesting kids going to see this movie because they're afraid the kids will read the books and become atheists. That's right, Catholics, let's not allow our children to read. Have them turn on The Real World, instead.

I give The Golden Compass a 2.5 out of 5.

Bitch is crazy!


Mars said...

I can't wait to see this movie! Sadly, it is clear that I will only be able to next week, aka when I leave this country. Damn finals.

Very interesting review! I have read the book, it's wonderful (and the end of "Amber Spyglass", the third in the trilogy, made me cry) so obviously I really hope that people like and understand the movie. But frankly I'm surprised that they've managed to make one at all. And I tend to distrust film adaptations of fantasy books, because so much is lost in the process.

Oh well, guess we'll see. Would you be willing to watch the sequel ("The Subtle Knife"), though?

kayley said...

I agree with everything you just said.