The Golden Compass

The 2007 film adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy novel.

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Dust in the wind

  • Nov 15, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS)

1. A governing body called the Magesterium sets the rules and tells people what to think and when to think it.
2. Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) and Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) aren't very good at following rules.
3. In this world, a person's soul lives outside of their body in the form of an animal called a daemon.
4. Mrs. Coulter has one heck of an ugly soul, and a monkey on her back
5. Ashes to ashes is one thing, but when it's time for Dust it's a totally different matter
6. The Magesterium embarks on an ambitious "Save the Children" campaign
7. The result is an outbreak of separation anxiety and a bunch of missing kids
8. Lord Asriel sets off to get to the source of the Dust infestation
9. Mrs. Coulter tries to play Pygmalion with Lyra, but has her work cut out for her
10. Lyra is entrusted with the last surviving golden compass (alethiometer to those in the know) - no batteries required, but no instruction manual either.
11. Lyra sets off to find her missing friends with the help of the Gyptians (gypsies on water), witches (the pretty kind), an aeronaut (roguish Sam Elliot) and a cranky polar bear
12. A bear in need is a friend indeed
13. Bear fight!!!!!
14. Grand finale
15. Abrupt ending


I would recommend that you read the book before watching this, as the movie is merely a watered-down précis version and you'll have to fill in all the missing spaces yourself. What you'll get here is some average acting, but with lots of special effects and CGI for a very good viewing experience. Overall however, it's not so hot if you're going to be judging the book by its movie.

Book beats movie by a landslide. Rated: 3.5 stars



Amanda Richards

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More The Golden Compass reviews
review by . September 17, 2008
When this movie was green-lighted for production, the studios were obviously hoping to hop on the Fantasy Movie bandwagon and take advantage of the momentum created by the Lord of the Rings and Narnia movies.  Despite the very high quality of the visual effects, this movie was poorly executed.  Part of the problem may be a result of the movie being based on the first book of a trilogy.  I won't ruin the movie by giving away any spoilers... essentially because the movie abruptly ends …
review by . December 24, 2008
Early Poster
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers!      I suppose it's not surprising, what with the current trend of adapting fantasy literature into films, that Philip Pullman's novel The Golden Compass should become a major motion picture. What is surprising is who ended up writing the screenplay and directing the film. Chris Weitz, best known as one of the producers of the American Pie films, seems an odd choice to adapt the epic fantasy story for the silver screen and …
review by . June 07, 2008
This movie is based on a book, the first book of a trilogy. I have never read any of these books, and have no intention to, so this review is purely of the movie itself, as a standalone piece of entertainment.     First of, contrary to what some other reviews have suggested, there is minimal resemblance between this movie and the LOTR, Narnia, and Harry Potter movies of recent release. Unlike LOTR, this movie is more intellectual and the conflicts more subtle and nuanced. For …
review by . May 21, 2008
I've been looking forward to this film for the past couple of weeks. And while there are a lot of very strong reviews for this film there were one or two which really slated it, so I expected an average forgettable film which might at least entertain me. And I do like fantasy stories.    This movie was an if for me at first, being that it just seemed like one of the many quickly thrown together fantasy novels/movies that have supposed huge followings. However, I found myself …
review by . May 03, 2008
Not being one who seeks out the seemingly endless line of Harry Potter/Narnia/Lord of the Rings tropes (a little computer generated monster realm goes a long way), THE GOLDEN COMPASS came somewhat as a pleasant surprise. Yes, this is still a fantasy film, but the emphasis is more on stylish creation of various animals (in the forms of 'daemons' that accompany children as their souls, morphing into various animal life at will) than tiresome explosions and flying beasties.    Lyra …
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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The Golden Compass is an adaptation of the first book in the beloved but controversial fantasy series by Phillip Pullman. The story opens with Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) an orphan girl who lives in an alternate world that is similar to earth, but where people's souls exist outside of their bodies in animal form. The people are ruled by a shadowy and oppressive council known as the Magisterium, which is doing it's best to keep everyone from getting information about what is called "Dust." Lyra's Uncle Asriel (Daniel Craig) has been researching Dust, and he has seen to it that Lyra is given safe shelter at Jordan College. But when the visiting Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) arrives, she asks Lyra to accompany her on a trip to the North to meet the Panserbjorne, a race of armored bears. Before Lyra leaves, the Headmaster gives her a golden compass, a device which only she can read, and from which she can intuit the truth. Lyra leaves with Mrs. Coulter, but when she learns that her friends have been ...
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