Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Golden Compass

Me and Rebecca went to see 'The Golden Compass' last night thanks to a friend offering to babysit. As we went into the cinema we saw the poster for 'Enchantment' and a said something about how we might be better off seeing that, Rebecca agreed, but we both stuck with our original choice. So we're just as much to blame for the average evening.
I'm a big fan of Philip Pullman's incredible 'His Dark Materials' trilogy' and have been nervous of the adaptation, but two words kept entering my brain as we watched 'The Golden Compass'. Pedestrian. Ordinary. I really hope we've seen the last of these big budget fantasy films that have quickly become interchangeable. Stripping the story of it's religious content (leaving some unsatisfactory vagueness about what's going on) and picking key bits from the book and belting through the story at breakneck pace may be the worst crimes here. The actors may be great but we don't see much more than whats on the surface of them. Miss Coulter is particularly disappointing, yes, Nicole Kidman is inspired casting, yes, she is excellent, but only at being aluring and creepy. But Miss Coulter had much more depth to her than just that. It's left to a couple of unsatifactory scenes to give her more depth. It doesn't work.
In the end I didn't hate 'The Golden Compass', I just didn't care, I didn't get involved and I didn't once get the same sense of wonder and awe I got from the book.
About the only really good thing I can say about the film is Sam Elliott is as cool as only Sam Elliott can be. So, insead of youtubing 'The Golden Compass' trailer, here's a brief bit of Sam being cool in what has accurately been described as the best worst movie ever. I give you 'Road House'.


Andrew Glazebrook said...

It's bombed pretty bad The Golden Compass, it cost $180 million to make and it's only made $91 million in ten days and only $40 million of that is the US what they call the Domestic market, I doubt they'll make the sequels.

Jason said...

That settles it. I'm not watching it. Ever. Well, maybe when it's on BBC1 at Christmas or something. Pullman, why did you let them?

paulhd said...

Andrew - Wow, that's really bombing. Harsh. Not too worry, Lyra's little speech at the end wrapped things up nicely, just on the off chance the film flopped.
Jason - Sorry to put you off. Telly'll be the best bet though.

Danny said...

You know I can't be entireky damning of this... To be honest I had such terrible expectations of this that I was surprised it ended up kinda OK. It definitely has the studio's mucky paws all over it. Guess New Line can relax now that the whole mess with the rights to The Hobbit has been sorted. They'll have their share of the Blockbuster Fantasy Adaptation back that eluded them after the last LOTR, and that they'd presumably pinned in HDM in the meanwhile.

But those two words do kind of sum the film up. Add 'missed' and 'opportunity' to them as well.