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The Golden Compass. December 19, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in The Golden Compass.
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********SPOILERS**********

I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Having read the books and enjoyed them immensely, I thought the film, despite a few key omissions, was good. Yeah, good. Not great, but good. I feel that for the sake of possibly a half hour extra, with some attention being paid to the important little details, this film could have been a masterpiece.

For instance, the fact that Lyra is an habitual liar was hardly touched upon, so when she spun her fib about being Iorek’s demon to Ragnar, the Ice Bear King, it lost some of its impact. This lie was important as Lyra was lying ‘for the good’, but due to the fact that her lying hadn’t been much touched upon earlier in the film it gave a key moment in the storyline a very lack-lustre, put in as an afterthought, feeling.

Another point that got my goat was that not enough emphasis was placed on the fear of the Gobblers. There was hardly a mention of the Gobblers, even though this was a very important plot device.

At the start of the film, and the introduction of Lord Asriel, I feel another important plot device was missing. In the book, during his presentation about Dust, he shows the board a skull that has had holes drilled into it. This device of trepanning is important further along into the story and would be part of the second film.

But anyway, apart from this, I thought the film was more or less faithful to the book. The CGI effect for Lyra reading the alethiometer was overused and detracted from the film a little, though it was a good idea. I was very happy that enough screen time had been devoted to the fight between Iorek and Ragnar, as this was a turning point for Iorek. The fight between the Gyptians and the Samoyed guards a Bolvangar was also given the screen time it was owed.

I had been reading reviews and some mentioned that the last few chapters had been omitted. I can see why this was done, and the film was ended at a logical point, but if they had gone that little bit further I am sure they could have ended it on more of a cliffhanger.

That all being said, I think that the makers have made a suitable on-screen representation of Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’. I can understand some of the omissions in the story for the purpose of making the film, and at least the producers and screenwriters didn’t just rip pages out of the book and deem them suitable enough as I fear was the case with Christopher Paolini’s ‘Eragon’.

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