Monday, November 26, 2007

No Challengers As This Year's Big Xmas Movie

As with many adaptations of this sort, a lot of the novel's supporting background material which might acclimatise us to the story's strange and distinctive world has been stripped out.

You're just plunged straight into the action and have to get used to this bewildering, exotic new universe as best you can. The effect is interesting and alienating, though the tiniest bit more absurd than I think Philip Pullman would have intended. It's not hard to see which buttons this movie is hitting: Narnia, Hobbits, Hogwarts, Star Wars. Christopher Lee has a small part - and I very much hope he is given more to do in succeeding episodes.

The crowded imaginary universe of The Golden Compass takes some getting used to, and in some ways, as a non-follower of the Pullman books, I have still to be entirely sold on it. But it certainly looks wonderful, with epic dash and a terrific central performance from Nicole Kidman, who may come to dominate our children's nightmares the way Robert Helpmann's Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang once did ours. It has no other challengers as this year's big Christmas movie.

Thank the Goddess. I really want to like this movie. And, often, when the book is so wonderful, the movie is a disappointmment.

hat tip to Plum P


Anonymous said...

I remember a review twenty years ago saying directors use Christopher Lee as if he costs a million dollars a minute.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

I finally bought the first book-published as 'Northern Lights' over here.
Yes,I loved it.

Terri in Joburg

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Terri, this explains the review's lead. I had never heard it refered to as "Northern Lights" and was therefore puzzled.

Why the change I wonder? I know they felt they had to dumb down Harry Potter 1 from "Philosopher's Stone" to "Sorcerers" (despite there not really being a category of "sorceror" in the story, not even Voldemort is described thus) because, apparently, "philosopher" was felt to be a turn-off to Americans unacquainted with the history of alchemy or something.

But Northern Lights, while applicable, is nowhere near as unique as "Golden Compass." It is a puzzlement.

Glad to see it wasn't just a bizarre typo in the review. Thanks. :)


donna said...

If it gets people to read the books, it's worth it. Pullman is an amazing writer - I loved this series.