HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
You Don't Nomi
Man from the Alamo, The
Vast of Night, The
Furies, The
Days of the Bagnold Summer
Black Power Mix Tape 1967-1975, The
Apartment 1BR
1776
Parasite
Looking On the Bright Side
Take Me Somewhere Nice
Simon
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Golden Compass, The Dust. Anyone? No? Dust. Anyone? No? Dust.
Year: 2007
Director: Chris Weitz
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Freddie Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Jim Carter, Tom Courtenay, Ian McShane, Sam Elliott, Christopher Lee, Kristin Scott Thomas, Edward de Souza, Kathy Bates, Derek Jacobi, Clare Higgins
Genre: Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: There are other worlds than this one, worlds running parallel to our own and that is where Lyra Bellaqua (Dakota Blue Richards) resides, staying at a prestigious university where she has spent most of her young life. Not that she is a student, as she prefers to run free with the other children around the grounds, but one day something occurs that changes things forever. She is wandering the halls when she steals into a room to explore, when she and her daemon Pan (voiced by Freddie Highmore), a small animal-like embodiment of her soul, hear someone approaching and hide in a cupboard. They see the wine that has been set out poisoned, so when Lyra's scientist uncle Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) enters and pours a glass, she is forced to cry out...

The Golden Compass was not a lucky film, as it turned out. The first in a proposed fantasy trilogy based on Northern Lights, the initial instalment in the modern classic His Dark Materials novels, written by Philip Pullman, it had been in production for quite some time before it finally opened in 2007. It did well enough across the world - just not in the United States, where it flopped and as that was where the money was to make the next part, the series went into limbo. It didn't help that the studio, New Line, were obviously hoping for a new lucrative trilogy to replace their Lord of the Rings, and Pullman's work did not fit comfortably into that design.

So much so that almost all references to religion that were involved with the original book were excised in the script by off-again-on again director Chris Weitz, supposedly to anticipate any controversy stemming from the powerful religious lobby in America who had been grumbling about the source and were not happy about the film version. Just how much that actually affected the box office is debatable, but the truth was that Weitz's longer cut was taken out of his hands and edited down to a far shorter length which is possibly why the end result did not seem either as epic or as substantial as it might have done in its first incarnation. Pullman fans across the globe were more vocal about these changes than anyone on the religious right would ever have been.

But even at the abridged length, some of what made the book so vivid is contained in The Golden Compass - just not enough. If you haven't read them, then you're likely to be lost in the early scenes, and this in spite of a script which is dead set on explaining everything to the point that you're blinded with the exposition when you really should be losing yourself in the storyline. There's such a thing as too much information, and perhaps in a longer cut we would not feel quite so much that we were being overloaded about a fantasy realm when we should really be allowed to discover it for ourselves in the way it all plays out. Yet that's the difference between film and books, where there's more space to expand on the plot's constituents on the page.

So if Weitz unfortunately comes second best to his special effects team in grasping this, who all put in sterling work, then his cast should have been better equipped to breathe life into well-delineated characters. Well, you might think that, but it doesn't emerge that way as most of them, Richards apart, are hardly onscreen enough to make much of an impression. No sooner has Lyra saved Asriel than he briefly mentions something about dust that has apparently no bearing on the rest of the movie, then zooms off to the Frozen North where he registers for a couple of minutes, then might as well have not shown up at all. Nicole Kidman fares slightly better, but her attempts at nuance seem ill-served by a production that wants more of a Wicked Witch than a motherly but conflicted villainess. All the way through the impression is that New Line lost faith and wanted the whole movie over with as quickly as possible, and there's no way it could have done Pullman justice like that. Music by Alexandre Desplat.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3395 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: