The Golden Compass Reviews
The cast is pretty awful, or at least Kidman and Craig anyway, the rest is a top notch bunch of English actors but again that has been done with 'Potter' and 'LOTR', its seems to be the same classical English actors repeating themselves in a variety of silly fantasy films. I'm sure kids will like it, maybe, it is long and I think its boring so maybe not. Without knowledge of the book its all double dutch haha and I have never heard of it before the film.
Best bit was the polar bear fight er...and that's it, I could almost see a legion of elfs and Hobbits coming over the hill hehe 'yawn'.
Good Visual Effects
Hard to follow at times
Dull at times.
Regardless, as a film, The Golden Compass fails to entertain. The major flaw is the script's incredibly expository dialogue. The characters fail to be motivated to speak by any intention except to explain obscure, unimportant details to the narcoleptic audience.
The ending of the film is worse because very little is resolved. I won't give anything away, but suffice to say that this film only serves to set up a sequel, which I hope will never come.
How in the world can a movie featuring talking, FIGHTING polar bears, be this dull? The only bit of mild interest came in the beginning, as I was learning about the world and its mythology. After that, it was just a parade of one uninspired and completely predictable scene after another. I'm not asking for some revelatory cinematic experience, but The Golden Compass felt like a movie a that I had already seen fifty times before, and never particularly liked in the first place.
None of the CGI or special effects were particularly eye-catching, and at times I thought that the armoured bears looked almost bad. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the effects budget was spent on the swirling golden Dust that seemed to pop up every few minutes.
The majority of the actors seemed completely miscast or incapable. Daniel Craig was ok for the five minutes he was in the film, but to say that Nicole Kidman (who I usually have a strong inclination to like) was on autopilot would be an understatement. The kid they have playing Lyra was decent in some scenes, and completely lost in others. Eva Green was wasted on a throwaway character (though I assume she would have been focused on more in subsequent movies). The rest were a total disaster of odd, cliché, or ridiculous.
This was the perfect example of how NOT to do a book adaptation. Either The Golden Compass was utterly unsuited to film, or the book was placed in the hands of people who had little idea of what to do with it. I'm leaning towards the latter.
That said, it could have been more tightly controlled, because much of it still feels like there are too many interesting ideas being casually referenced, a common result of distilling a book into a screenplay. To people unfamilar with the books, as I am, it is far too obvious that I am looking at cinematic Cliffs Notes, as opposed to a stand-alone movie. This is painfully apparent with the cliffhanger ending... although, that implies some tension at the end. Rather, it's just as if the movie took a commercial break, and decided to roll credits.
Despite it all... the Polar-Bear vs. Polar Bear fight scene. Out of all the over-the-top "Oh, Snap" moments to view with your slightly morbid family relations this holiday season, make this the one.
----- Review Ends Here. Read on only for a biased defense of the movie against hard-line religous criticism
Ok, apparently a pretty vocal group have been giving themselves fits over this one due to the "god killing" ideas supposedly oozing out of this movie from every orafice. Point 1: The movie admits to the concept of a soul. Alot more spitiuality and morality than say, '300', which it seems alot of the people who despise this movie want to have babies with. Point 2: The God-Killing theme NEVER APPEARS in this film. Point 3: Even if it did, from what I got out of the film, having NEVER read the books, is that the eventual theme is more about predestination versus free will.
So, in the end, if your kid is old enough to watch a Polar bear totally wailing on some dudes, they are old enough not to get brainwashed. Honestly, the cute furry chipmunk-spirt-companion-thing isn't going to tell your kid to go arson down the nearest church. If we are going to demolish movies for being original, and maybe siding with different choices, then why watch movies in the first place? Are we so jaded that we cannot enjoy a Polar Bear ripping off another Polar Bears jaw, because some dude who came up with it thinks differently than us? No. Polar-Bear on Polar-Bear action is awesome nomatter the moral overtones. So stop the whining and bawling, you fear-mongers. If your kid hasn't gone Wiccan from Harry Potter, they sure as hell wont become Animist god-killing Scientists from this one.
The typical "calvary arriving just in time" aspects were laughable, and so much of the dialogue was merely a way in which to explain the plot. Nichole Kidman's charactor was vaguelly interesting, but other than that... and even she was alternately too vague and way too pat and certain - just like the rest of the film - a kind of jumbled mess without a soul.
Positives: Sam Elliot, Nicole Kidman, some big name actors that were able to get behind it and pull off some good roles. The storyline is fairly enjoyable and I really liked the idea about parllel universe' especially in a time where science in our world is on the verge of proving they do in fact exist.
This to me was paticular a good movie based on simply that, it shows you what our world could of evolved into, could of been. It's an amazing concept to grasp and I thought it was awesome that a movie took a hold of that.
Negatives: It's a bit short and leaves to many broken peices to put them back into a five star category. The movies ending is very sudden, pretty much right in the middle of it all. There is a conclusion dont get me wrong but there's so many unanswered questions not only as what might happen later - to leave room for a sequal, but things right within the movie that are just left unfinished. It's like making a cheesecake and adding no topping, it's good but it's still, what the hell? Finish it.
Overall: This movie is a good movie that seems unfinished. Had they focused more on finishing it or making less dead ends that they knew they had no background for then this movie could of been in a classic, instead it's alright, and a little better then alright if you have some kids that want to sit down and watch it with you. Keep an open mind going into this and you may enjoy it.
I know that this is a movie review and not a book review, but having read this trilogy it is difficult to ignore the total disregard for the philosophy, intelligence, and courage inherent in the actual series.
Watching this movie pained me. Sacrificed on the altar of CGI our story is chopped up and delivered at such a frantic pace that I do not know how anyone who did not read the books could even understand it.
We have taken the brave swagger of Lyra and turned it into Pippi Longsticking. They jump from scene to scene with no regard to how they come together much less the chronology from the books. All important messages to be conveyed are either removed or diluted to a point where they are pretty much unrecognizable.
We have in this movie a simplified children's story that hardly an adult could understand due to its total mistreatment in the scattered telling. Instead of the profound we walk away from this movie with the thought "That kinda looked cool" running through our heads.
I am so sick of Hollywood catering to the religious wrong. How about some original thought? I am saddened and hope that this will be redone someday to do it justice because the actual series, "His Dark Materials" by Pullman is fantastic. and begs, no, demands to be told properly.
The cinematography lacks detail, the script is boring and tries to explain too much/too little. Some things doesn't need to be explained, leave it to the viewers imagination. The actors are pretty much disasterous, although there is a lot of talent here. What went wrong?
Fuck it, watch "Stardust" or "Spiderwick Chronicles" instead...
I have not read the book which leaves one at a disadvantage in understanding some of the relationships.
The ending was troubling as well as it unabashedly starts the next movie in the series.