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 Post subject: The Golden Compass
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 3:46 pm 
I'm pretty certain we'll need a thread for this film!

I'm going to see it in a couple of weeks hopefully. Can't wait. I'm a big fan of the books, and frankly could do with an escapist blockbuster at this time of year...

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:57 pm
Posts: 90
The film may have had some lukewarm reviews, especially in the States, but anyone who checks out the film's discussion board at IMDb (a site also somewhat heavy on advertising for the work at the moment) can see the debate about it rages with some predictable, earnest vigour..

"It's too short!
We need more monkeys! "

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:11 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: Cheshire, UK
I saw the film yesterday and wondered at its SF ish content. Too much SF for the critics I'd say. All the stuff about 'dust' and parallel universes; what were they thinking of?

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 11:27 am 
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Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:30 pm
Posts: 371
Location: Barnsley, England
Perhaps they were thinking of sticking to the book, for a change? ;) or they're doing a bit of product placement for Hugh Everett III

I shall be going to see this in a couple of weeks (and I already want a talking polar bear) and am looking forward to seeing how they've adapted it. I really enjoyed the "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

Jo Thomas

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:13 pm
Posts: 868
Location: The Village
I heard that author Philip Pullman thanked Catholics' protest (calling for boycott of the film), as publicity like that can't be bought... and is likely to increase cinema attendance, and won't do his book sales any harm.

Pigasus Press | VideoVista | The ZONE

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:42 pm 
The books are fantastic.

And more power to Pullman's elbow!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 2:44 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:57 pm
Posts: 90
Predictable carping from the God Squad of the 'atheistic candy' of the new Pullman adaption, with some inevitable spoilers follows. Why any religion should be above criticism, explicit or otherwise, is beyond me



FINDINGS [with chapter and verse removed]

All the hype about the anti-church, anti-God, Word-counterfeiting content expected of avowed atheist author Philip Pullman and predicted of The Golden Compass, volume one of a hopeful film trilogy of the book trilogy His Dark Material (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass), is not all that accurate. Apparently the film content is toned down from that of the film's children's source book. Even the director, Chris Weitz is noted as saying "I will not be involved with any 'watering down' of books two and three."

Some such Truth-corrupting elements, which are apparently plentiful in the book, can be found in The Golden Compass movie if one can keep his/her eyes and ears open, is armed with the Word and is not swayed by the sometimes ambiguous nature of thinly veiled innuendo. However "sanitized" this film might be of the reported Spiritually corruptive content of the source book, such content is still present in the film. And if you spend money to see it you will be supporting one who likely wants your kids to stop believing in God; who sets the stage for making that happen. Subtly. And likely invisibly to the target age stratum -- the most morally and Spiritually vulnerable age made gullible by strongly appealing cinematography such as the little girl riding a Panserbjørne, a great bear in the icy far North as the beast blasts through snowy land in slow motion.

That the cut of the film I saw of this book-borne snack of atheistic candy is apparently muted and maybe for a reason -- to perk interest by making the first installment appealing and attractive to children to get them to buy the books, preparing them for a barrage of fine-sounding arguments , vain philosophy and smooth talk against the Word in later installments. We'll see. And I fully intend to conduct analysis for you of each of the next two installments and prepare a comparative of all three should the next two volumes of His Dark Material become films. Note that the ending of The Golden Compass makes ripe the chances of a sequel ... or two. The Golden Compass is the infant. Next is the toddler then the teen likely with a whole lot more to say.

Heavy accents and other matters such as inadequate character development and connectivity made it difficult for me to follow the story but I want to offer what I can to help you fathom what is fed to your children by this children's book-to-screen film.

After narrating that no one possesses his/her soul, rather that his/her soul is possessed by his/her dæmon -- a familiar spirit in animal form -- the story opens with orphaned Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) trying to control other children with a witch's tale of harm. After entering Jordan College where her scientist "uncle" Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) works while hiding in a closet of a room where she is not supposed to be, Lyra witnesses an attempt to assassinate Lord Asriel by poison drink. The theocratic organization called the Magesterium, the tyrannical "church", wants Asriel dead. Lyra saves Asriel by knocking the drink from his hand.

The Magesterium, complete with medieval clerical garb, kidnaps and tortures children to separate their soul-possessing dæmon from them to maintain power by eliminating free will during youth. The Magesterium and its hitmen run the government with the aid of their General Oblation Board (GOB) -- the GOBblers. The Golden Compass is the retelling of the age-old story of freedom of choice fighting the stifling of free will by religious fear tactics. That is to assume we are to fear God. Please visit our publication Fear of God <>. It explains how we do not need to be afraid of God to fear Him. God certainly gave us the freedom of choice but the freedom of choice does not give the freedom to sin.

The Magesterium wants Lord Asriel dead because of Lord Asriel's discovery of Dust, a cosmic matter that seems to nurture the free will of youth and thereby incite young adults to rebel against the authority of the Magesterium. I can see the emails now, claiming the CAP Ministry is the Magesterium, believing the influence of much of the entertainment industry incites youth to rebel with the influence of the entertainment industry being the Dust.

In a world powered by eerie blue fire-like anbaric energy, Dust has mystical powers and is thought to originate in a parallel universe and enable travel between universes, thus challenging the authority of the Magesterium. And what better way to be rid of Asriel than to fund his expedition to the North and let the Tartars and the elements kill him. Little did they know that Gyptian king John Faa (Jim Carter), the witch queen Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green), a gaggle of witches, Aeronaut Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott) plus Panserbjørne (ice bear) Iorek Byrnison (voice of Ian McKellen) would be strong allies of Asriel and Lyra.

To prevent Dust from, in the minds of the Magesterium, corrupting children the Magesterium dictates that all children must have their dæmons removed since a dæmon has an appetite for Dust. The children are kidnapped and taken to Bolvangar in the North. In Bolvangar the children and their dæmons are separated, painfully,by forcing them into the intercission machine.

As Lord Asriel prepares to embark on his expedition to the North to research Dust, Mrs. Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman) decides Lyra is not fit as a 12 year old to make the trip with Lord Asriel. Taking custody of Lyra, Coulter slowly reveals her intent. A hint of her intent lies in her personal hypocritical doctrine that the rules don't apply to those "at the top." Lyra becomes more of a captive than a guest. Coulter is a high-ranking agent of the Magesterium and boss of the Bolvangar intercission station. While under the custody of Coulter, the master of Jordan College (Jack Shepherd) gives Lyra the last alethiometer (the Golden Compass) which enables Lyra, a rather bitter 12 year old girl, to see the truth which often includes seeing the future.

Lyra escapes Coulter's clutches, is kidnapped by the Samoyeds and, after escaping their clutches with the aid of the Gyptians, travels north to find and rescue her friend Roger (Ben Walker) who has been kidnapped along with dozens of other kids by the Gobblers and taken to Bolvangar in the North to have their souls separated from them so they may more easily stifle their free will. "Their souls" maybe more accurately defined as their moral consciences in accordance with the story's use of "free will" or, maybe better said, in accordance with the moral filtration of the story.

In that is one allegory of anti-Christianity. Many feel that obedience to God's Word is stifling of the free will: that God-given free will might permit the occasional practice of sin; that if our God-given free will guides us to shrug off any obedience then it must be okay every now and then; that, e.g., if something is beautiful and feels good it must be right. Free will, or freedom of choice is indeed God-given but it certainly is not a freedom to sin. It does not give us the freedom to decide on our own what is and is not sin. Indeed, all that the freedom of choice gives us is the freedom to choose to obey or not to obey. If we choose not to obey -- if we choose to sin -- there are consequences. That is simple. This film counterfeits that reality by placing authority (God's Word) in the role of the criminal and they who choose to defy authority -- they who choose to exercise their free will [to sin] -- as the victims.

The Golden Compass is a strong R-13 ... It is probably as dark or darker than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix <>

Another of the allegories that challenge the Christian's faith in God's Word is very subtle. Mrs. Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman) says to Lyra "It would be best if we were left to do as we please." The main doctrine of the Satanic bible is "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law."

Yet another challenge of the Christian faith is that this story makes claim that the soul is not part of the human host: that one's soul is a separate entity carried through life in a talking animal called a dæmon, more accurately a familiar spirit. The animal shape-shifts to a different animal (which, if shape-shifting exists, is unholy) to reflect the changing character of the child host but as the child enters adulthood the animal becomes static and reflects the character of the host. While such a concept would make it easy to know the character of the one with whom one must deal -- just observe the animal host of his/her soul -- animal hosting of your soul is most certainly not within God's design. This concept was also used as a cinematic tool to help the viewer know the personality of certain characters. Coulter's dæmon is a malevolent monkey. Some had insects on their shoulder.

If you choose to watch this film and the ensuing sequels, please understand there is danger in the cunning of they who present doctrines and ideas that corrupt faith in Christ and the Word of God. Carry with you in your heart His Word: "That we henceforth [after reaching unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"

Following are brief discussions of content by investigation area. For a detailed presentation of the findings see the listings in the Findings/Scoring section.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)

Though the violence in this film is bloodless and gore-free, it is often intense and graphic.... Examples of violence include kidnapping, death by fall, arrow impalements, gunfire to kill, threats to do harm, firearm to the face to control, battle sequences with many killings and attempted murder of a child. Most of the issues of violence involve a child or children.

Impudence/Hate (I)

This investigation area found content centered around child behaviors regarding rules and authority abuse of a child and a child assuming unmerited autonomy.

Sexual Immorality (S)

The only matters regarding sexually immoral behavior and/or imagery are that of Kidman wearing a form-fitting dress that displayed excessive cleavage and admission of immoral sex resulting in a child out of wedlock.

Drugs/Alcohol (D)

Drinking alcoholic beverages (once by a child) and the use of a drug to attempt poisoning are the only drugs and/or alcohol content noted. There is danger in the middle school age stratum being exposed to drinking alcoholic beverages in an as entertainment.

Offense to God (O)

Like the content found by the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area, this investigation area found enough content to earn an area score of zero. Witchcraft/witches, shape-shifting, presentation of doctrines in defiance of and mocking His Word, portrayal of a young girl being fulfillment of a witches' prophecy, portrayal of witches as "good' more. There are too many items of content applicable to this investigation area to summarize. Look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for the best representation oft he content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)

using a tale of harm by witchcraft to intimidate
threat to silence
explosive startle
using an animal attack of another animal to extort
kidnappings, several, a couple graphic
defensive killings by arrow, sword, gun and other assault devices, repeatedly: two rather graphic
multiple firearms
gunfire to kill
firearm threat to control, repeatedly, once to the face
fall death, two, graphic
threat to do harm, repeatedly
action violence, repeatedly, of varying intensities
intense battle sequence with many deaths
threat to kill child
great threat to child by bears, long sequence
fight to the death between bears, intense but no blood
defensive killing of a bear by a bear, graphic
peril to child crossing crumbling ice bridge
tale of child deaths in escaping from evil deeds
tale of ripping children apart
attempted murder of a child
sword threat of children
multiple animal threat to children
many defensive/warfare killings
firearm threats to many children
animal bite on man's head

Impudence/Hate (I)

adolescent disobedience and defiance of authority
adolescent backtalk
adolescent taking terrible risks
adolescent mischief
child listening to "voice of disobedience"
lies, repeatedly
child abandonment
child leaving mother to help another child
slap to child's face by an adult
portrayal of children with total autonomy

Sexual Immorality (S)

excessive cleavage in form-fitting dress, repeatedly
admission of immoral sex
child by immoral sex

Drugs/Alcohol (D)

poisoning a beverage to kill
drinking, repeatedly
child drinking alcohol but spitting it out
character guzzling whiskey with implication of it being done often

Offense to God (O)

God's name in vain, repeatedly but without the four letter expletive
demonology, portrayal of the human soul occupying an animal familiar spirit
witchcraft, repeatedly
shape shifting, repeatedly
"It would be best if we were left to do as we please"
sympathetic harm to human host caused by harm done to familiar spirit, repeatedly
knowing the future and revealing the unknown
portrayal that souls can be killed/separated from the human host
many witches, repeatedly
mockery of obedience
small mechanical insects powered by evil spirits
battle by evil soldiers and witches
portrayal of witches as good
a young girl as fulfillment of witches' prophesy

Murder/Suicide (M)

While there were many killings in this film, none were murder since each was a defensive killing.

"It's too short!
We need more monkeys! "

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:13 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:02 pm
Posts: 34
Location: UK
I've just seen the film and its a pretty good adaptation. It ends with a little too much presumption of a sequel IMHO. The people in the cinema who hadn't read the book grumbled as the credits came up.

The anti-religious theme came across as a criticism of dogma and authoritarianism, not really watered down. In fact removing the overtly Catholic nature of the Magisterium makes that aspect clearer in the film.

There is certainly a lot more depth of character in the books, but this is a movie after all. One thing that worked particularly well, I thought, was the way in which the daemons illustrated the internal states and conflicts of the characters.

The CGI is tremendous and the bears rock - Whinnie the Pooh they aint :shock: - and when the bears fight, most young kids I know would be terrified. But then again, there wasn't a single kid at my screening.

I'd give it a nine out of ten.

Better than Potter, on the coattails of LOTR, and leaves all six Star Wars films cowering in the corner.


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