Thursday, January 03, 2008

Review: The Golden Compass

Now when I say this movie is a mess, I do not mean it in a complimentary way! About halfway thru, I found myself saying, what the hell is going on in this movie??? It reminded me of David Lynch's adaptation of Dune, which also seemed incomprehensible.

The story - as best I can decipher: there is this alternative universe-England, in which the Magisterium rules all. The group is much like the medieval Catholic Church - trying to run all facets of life. A young girl, Lyra, is the incarnation of an ancient prophesy - she will oversee a major war and revolt. In this alternative world, each person's soul appears in a physical form called a daemon, and each person's daemon changes shapes until the soul is settled. You see each person walking around with some kind of animal nearby - which is actually kind of a charming idea. Anyway, the Magisterium is kidnapping children and surgically removing their daemons, thereby making them easier to control. And there's some bit about dust and traveling between universes...

Okay, I guess I can't decipher the story. I will say it is beautiful looking - the special effects and CGI work is breathtaking. They have truly created another world. And there are some fun performances - I adore Sam Elliot and he's terrific here in a supporting role. The daemons are cute and fun - and Iorek the armored ice bear is incredible.

The story ends unfinished - clearly they are hoping for a sequel. (The film is actually based on the first book in a trilogy by Philip Pullman). Here's hoping not.