Archive for the ‘phillip pullman’ Category

The Golden Compass (2007)

December 5, 2007

The Golden Compass is The DaVinci Code 2.0. Let me explain – Christians are running and hiding from it, and chastising those who don’t chastise it. It even has dozens of Facebook groups touting the need to boycott it. But it’s got a leg up on The DiVinci Code because Phillip Pullman is a better storyteller than Dan Brown could ever hope to be, the movie doesn’t star Tom Hanks, and, oh, everyone keeps telling me that the kids kill God (Brown just messed with him).

If you’re looking for an in-depth look into Phillip Pullman’s entire His Dark Materials trilogy–the first of which was adapted into this movie–stop reading this review and check out Jeffrey Overstreet’s essay “Questions I’ve Been Asked, Answer’s I’ve Given.”

The Golden Compass is the starting point for a fantastical journey in a parallel universe. This world is much similar to our own with one noticeable difference – our souls. In our world these are hidden away inside of us, but in this other world the soul is found outside of the body in the form of an animal, referred to as a daemon (not demon), which is like a companion that others can see and talk to, and with whom they can experience life.

The film introduces characters such as Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Richards), Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman), Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) and polar bear Iorek Byrnison (Ian McKellan), and introduces themes such as the deceit of the Magisterium and the power of young Lyra. As far as much more than that, there’s not much to say, because very little of anything get’s resolved (as tends to happen in the first part of a trilogy). The visuals of the film are stunning, and fantastical elements abound. However, that’s not really why you’re reading this review. You’re reading it so you can see whether I’m going to accept or reject the film; so, I’ll indulge.

While the film is full of things that tend to scare Christians such as witches (not the Harry Potter kind) and things that tell the Truth (other than the Bible), this first installment seems to have more things resonant with Christianity than many “Christian” movies. As my friend and I were walking out of the theater we overheard a man say, “I don’t know what the hell those Christian’s were so fired up about.” I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement. I think this quote from Jeffrey Overstreet sums it up well. When asked if Christians should be afraid of the film, Overstreet responded, “Mercy, no. Let’s not be afraid. Discerning, yes. But not afraid.” That’s as great of a charge as I’ve heard in a while.

-Chris Carson


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