Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Golden Compass

Happy New Year!

We took the kids to see The Golden Compass this afternoon, and a good time was had by all. Having already read the books, I certainly hope the series will continue, considering that the movie ended well before the demise of poor Roger. I understand why the movie had to end that way. No guarantee that #2 and #3 will be made (though there is soon to be a Prince Caspian movie, regardless of the lack of box-office for the first Narnia movie, which I can't even think about without humming Lazy Sunday), plus the movie would have been even more despised by those who were already predisposed to despise it had it ended on such a sad and sour note. All three of the Malefikids decided that the armored-bear battle was the best part, and I have to agree. There's just something about armored bears. It was somewhat disconcerting, to me, hearing Gandalf's voice coming from Iorek's mouth, though.

I heard some kid-less theater-goers at the end of the show saying, "Uh huh!" and "Yeah, I could see it." I assume they were shills for the anti-Golden Compass crowd who wanted to vet the movie before exposing their kids to the evil atheist conspiracy endorsed movie. I couldn't see it myself. Several of the characters said such things as, "Merciful Lord!" and other godly exclamations. It was made quite clear in the very first narration that the movie took place in a parallel universe, very different from ours. Plus the discussion of "souls" and the difference in their manifestation between Lyra's universe and ours was not very atheist-ish.

The movie lessened the trauma of losing one's daemon (which was pronounced "demon") that was so evident in the books and even brought a tear to my reader's eye. Probably, the producers didn't want to address the insanity and death that resulted, in the interests of the younger viewers. Violence was not censored, though it was bloodless, and we were treated to a graphic image of Iorek ripping the jaw from his rival's face at the end of their battle. The jaw itself flew toward the screen, which would have been great in 3-D.

Like the more recent Harry Potter movies, there was just too much in the book to include, which probably made the movie confusing to those who hadn't read it. The Gyptians, Lee Scoresby, and Serafina the witch were peripheral characters only, with no development or back-story.

The casting was excellent.

On a more personal note, my mom has informed me that my nephews and niece will not be allowed to see this movie, due to the fear of my sister-in-law that it will turn them into atheists. She attends an Episcopal church, which, in my experience (and I have quite a bit), always seemed a bit more open to harmless entertainment and a bit less stridently fearful. Her background is Church of Christ, though, of which I don't know enough to determine the possibility of lasting effects.

I don't know if she has allowed them to see any of the Harry Potters, but I assume not. In regard to those, I even got a laugh out of Nigel, who is Roman Catholic in name, but has actually formed his own religion of which he is the only member (the definition of "cafeteria catholic"), when I asked if the parents who claim Harry Potter is satanic and will make their children turn to sorcery and witchcraft truly fear that their kids will point a stick at them and cry, "Stupify!" and have it actually WORK.

Bottom line, crazy sister-in-law: FICTION, dumbass.

Perhaps I should sent the Pullman trilogy to them as a late solstice gift. Probably not, as I don't want to make my poor brother's life any more difficult than it already is.

Poor kids!

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