Sunday, May 25, 2008

Movie Log: The Golden Compass

I saw The Golden Compass several weeks ago now, and have mostly forgotten whatever I was going to say about it. Let's see if I can cobble something together and throw it out in the middle of a holiday weekend, when no one will be out there.

In my house, watching Golden Compass was something of an experiment about how confusing the movie was to those who hadn't read the book -- I had read the book less than a year ago, while The Wife had never come near it. She asked me a couple of things as the movie went along, but I don't think she found it horribly confusing.

(On the other hand, the movie does zip through a lot of material quickly, and it's probably most interesting to those who do know the book.)

Let's see, what else? The CGI is generally believable, even on the talking animals. The acting is solid, and Dakota Blue Richards, as Lyra, is just right -- fiery and tough and self-sure in the way of the book's Lyra.

Some parts of the plot didn't make a whole lot of sense, probably because of the truncation from book to movie. (For example, there's no reason in the movie why only Iorek goes with Lyra to save Roger near the end -- if Iorek can go, surely he could lead an army of panzerbjorne?) And, as many people have noted, the actual ending of the book is missing, so that the movie can stop at a happier place.

(I was also amused to see that Golden Compass continued the general rule that all alternate worlds have airships.)

I probably would have been more impressed if I'd seen this on a big screen, but it was pretty good as it was. I'd like to see the rest of the trilogy made, too -- it would give me a good excuse to read the books.


Anonymous said...

The director said in an interview that he changed the ending a few months before release so that in case he didn't get to make the other two films, this film would be a complete story.

Anonymous said...

Memory suggests that this didn't make enough at the box office to justify sequels.

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