Dec 9 – We had only two reasons to watch “The Golden Compass”. One was that there wasn’t much choices to choose from and the second was because Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman were acting. With no prior knowledge of the movie and not knowing what really to expect, we decided to try our luck.
We later found out that “The Golden Compass” is first part of the “Dark Materials” trilogy by author Philip Pullman. The other two installments are “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass”.
Coming back to the movie, it all started in Jordan College, Oxford, in world which is parallel to ours with young Lyra Bellaqua (acted by Dakota Blue Richards who auditioned for this movie and beat thousands of others to get role) as a rebellious young girl who came across a plot by the Magisterium to poison her uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig). The Magisterium appeared be trying to hide some divine secret about the origin of life and what was known as “The Dust”.
The people in this parallel world had a daemon accompanying each person and these daemons come in the form of animals. This was the highlight of the movie where you will find an animal walking, flying beside each character. Lyra’s “daemon,” is named Pantalaimon, or Pan, which starts out as a cat kept changing through out the movie as mouse, ferret and a bird.
Lord Asriel took upon a journey to discover the secret to the “The Dust”. Meanwhile, a Mrs Coulter (Nicole Kidman) appeared and invited Lyra to accompany her to look for her uncle Lord Asriel. In her care, Lyra discovered the true identity of Mrs. Coulter and escaped with the help of Gyptians.
Lyra discovered that her best friend Roger (Ben Walker) was abducted by “Gobblers” and the magical golden compass came into her possession. With the golden compass or “alethiometer” as it is known, Lyra went on a journey of her lifetime to find Roger and her uncle.
In her journey, Lyra managed to hire a Winchester carrying aeronaut named Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott) and secured the services of a whiskey drinking ice bear called Iorek as her guardian.
The wasn’t many parts in the movie for Daniel Craig. The movie was deeply anchored by the acting skills of Dakota Blue Richards which is admirable for an actor in her first role. Nicole Kidman played a major supporting role.
I loved the mysterious flying witch called Serafina played by Eva Green.
The story line is not bad but the script and editing is a bit sketchy. My main complaint is that the movie looked like a “Harry Potter”, “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “Lord of the Rings” all blended into one. But blending everything together doesn’t mean that you have the best of all worlds. In fact, “The Golden Compass” appeared to have gotten the worse of all three. “Harry Potter” is more imaginative and original in its ideas. “The Chronicles of Narnia” would be more appealing to children for its simple innocent story line. “Lord of the Rings” will never be surpassed for its costumes and cinematography.
Nevertheless, if you do not compare with the other three predecessors, then “The Golden Compass” is actually quite good and viewable.