Reviews

The Golden Compass

New Line Cinema

Mark Haddon

Free will is the object of the game in The Golden Compass, a big budget exercise in orienteering where witches and polar bears point the way to enlightenment. You'll have to look between the CG seams to find the original intent of Philip Pullman's atheistic novel, but this isn't the overriding problem. It's that writer/director Chris Weitz doesn't convey a strong enough sense of purpose. Thank goodness for the star presence of Dakota Blue Richards.Free will is the object of the game in The Golden Compass, a big budget exercise in orienteering where witches and polar bears point the way to enlightenment. You'll have to look between the CG seams to find the original intent of Philip Pullman's atheistic novel, but this isn't the overriding problem. It's that writer/director Chris Weitz doesn't convey a strong enough sense of purpose. Thank goodness for the star presence of Dakota Blue Richards.

Stella Papamichael, www.bbc.co.uk/films/

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'The Golden Compass' has been deemed the must-see holiday film of 2007. Having read the complete 'His Dark Materials' trilogy more than once and seeing the stage adaptation of the books (which was superb), I was very excited about seeing this film.

The casting of the characters was excellent, especially Dakota Blue Richards who plays the lead Lyra Belacqua. She brilliantly protrayed the well-bred yet slightly insolent nature of Lyra whose inquistiveness and loyalty to her friend leads to her adventures throughout the film. Her daemon, Pantalaimon, brings balance to her character. Nicole Kidman does a wonderful job as the seductive yet vicious 'Mrs Coulter'; and he daemon, the Golden Monkey' is a very sneaky, scary creature.

The settings and CGI used within the film add a very luxurious element to the story. Many of the intial scenes are filmed in Oxford, but with minor CGI tweaks to make it the Oxford of 'Lyra's world'. The depiction of 'Bolvangar' was also well done; the eerie nature of the place was apparently just from a fleeting shot of the place.

The pace of the film was very fast moving. There was a lot of content and no time was wasted lingering on little sentimental details. Whilst this was perhaps a shame at the odd point, it did mean that attention did not wane at any point. The content did differ a little compared to the book, but for the most part it was not thatr noticable. However, the ending came around a little sooner than I expected and the ending of 'The Golden Compass' is not the ending of 'Northern Lights'. I can only assume that they will deal with that at the start of 'The Subtle Knife' (or whatever the Americans may call it!).

I really enjoyed this film and it has the real magical feel of the a Christmas blockbuster. It is a wonderful watch and definitely worth seeing.

 

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Reviewed on 09/12/2007 by Angela

 

Reviewed item details

Official website: http://www.goldencompassmovie.com/ (where you can find out what your daemon would be!)

BBC Review: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2007/12/03/the_golden_compass_2007_review.shtml

IMDB: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0385752/ (All images taken from IMDB)

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