The Golden Compass Pointing Toward Controversy?

Prepare the hysterical boycotts!

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Magic-loving moviegoers who have thrilled to the twists and turns of such tween-friendly literary adaptations as The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series will have their pick of sorcerous films this fall, including The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising and The Golden Compass. Plenty of controversy, too, if the past is any indication -- and oh look, here's some already!

The Golden Compass, opening December 7, was adapted from the His Dark Materials series of books, a bestselling trilogy by author Philip Pullman that incorporates every ingredient necessary for a shot at box-office fantasy gold, including magic, monsters, and a battle between the forces of good and evil. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, Pullman's books also include a fair amount of what has been perceived to be anti-Catholic rhetoric; in the first book, for instance, the church is in the business of kidnapping children and conducting some rather unpleasant experiments on them.

Naturally, when compiling their Fall Movie Preview (which is nice and all, but really doesn't hold a candle to our own), those muckrakers over at Entertainment Weekly asked Compass star Nicole Kidman how much Vatican-bashing we can expect to see on the big screen. The actress responded:

"It has been watered down a little...I was raised Catholic, the Catholic Church is part of my essence," Kidman said.

"I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic."

Of course, you just know comments like these aren't going to stop a tidal wave of outrage from conservative magpies, and the Sydney Morning Herald quotes what's sure to be an early harbinger of the response from some quarters:

"Clergymen who kidnap children. Witches who aren't wicked. Even a pair of sexually ambiguous angels. If you thought Harry Potter was blasphemous, wait till you get a look at [this] trilogy," wrote one film critic last week.

The Catholic League's William A. Donohue is usually good for a laugh. Can't wait to hear what he thinks of all this.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald