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Talking polar bears!
The Golden Compass (DVD)
Member Name: charlie1979
The Golden Compass (DVD)
Advantages: Some good special effects
Disadvantages: Poor ending, repetitive, poor acting by some
In a bid to lose myself in a fantasy style film on a Sunday night I decided to give the Golden Compass a go. Released in December 2007 this film was based on Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' books. There was a huge amount of hype and publicity surrounding the release of this film but did it live up to it's hype? In my opinion no!
In this film humans souls are carried outside the body in the form of an animal called a 'demon'. These demons take many forms ranging from dogs to rats and accompany their human everywhere they go. These demons even talk and are portrayed in the film as each humans best friend.
The Golden Compass is based around the story of a young orphaned girl called Lyra who resides at a college in Oxford. Many of the local children have been mysteriously disappearing and Lyra tells stories of Gobblers who she believes are responsible. Lyra's uncle Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) is with Lyra at the college at the start of the film but he departs on a voyage to the Artic Circle to find out more about a strange element called 'dust' (not the kind we hoover up!). Lyra wants to go with him but he forbids her.
One evening at the college the mysterious Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman) attends and requests that Lyra accompanies her on a trip to the North. Lyra is desperate eto find out more about this 'dust' so dutifully accompanies her. Prior to her departure the college master gives Lyla an alethiometer (golden compass). She is told that this instrument will reveal the truth from any question it is asked but it told under no circumstances to let Marisa know of its whereabouts.
The journey begins but the real character of Marisa unveils itself and soon it becomes her mission is that of finding the whereabouts of the golden compass. Lyra enlists the help of an ice bear to help her on her quest to find and save the missing children and guard the golden compass.
Where have all these missing children gone and what is to be the fate of the golden compass?
Not being familiar with the novels on which this film was based I cannot comment on the similarity between books and film. After doing a bit of research I discovered that quite a bit of controversy surrounded this film in the Catholic church regarding the films portrayal of the human spirit. For goodness sake, this film has talking polar bears who fight wearing armour and human spirits in the form of talking ferrets who can morph themselves into bugs and birds!
The special effects in this film are great but unfortunately it is yet another example of a Hollywood film that has spent all its money on special effects and well known actors and not enough on the plot or fine details. The special effects were nothing mind blowing though and we are all familiar with talking animals in films now so this is nothing new, bring me the pig Babe any day!
Acting wise regarding the adults in the film such as Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman were faultless as usual. I must admit though from a woman's point of view Daniel Craig was looking rough, a beard really doesn't suit him and ages him ten years! The acting of the children in the film seemed a bit too staged and amateur dramatic.
There are so many characters in this film that it is hard to form any kind of bond with the majority of them. You are given brief incites into characters but throughout the film glimpses are given of some of the main characters and you are left thinking, 'oh yeah, I wondered what happened to them'! I personally don't like that in a film, if you have forgotten about any of the main characters then the film has failed in my eyes.
Not wanting to give the ending away in any shape or form, don't expect a good one! I can honestly say that the ending to this film is one of the worst I have seen in a long time! It's one of those endings when you begin to question in your mind. 'are they leaving it open for a sequel' or 'is it just a really bad ending'!
During this film I did get to know my ceiling quite well! I rolled my eyes up to the ceiling so many times that I lost count! It was a bit too predictable and cheesy in places and the special effects used for portraying the golden compass were far too repetitive.
With a great cast like this I feel that the film could have been so much better. The plot itself is very simple but the greatest films have the simplest of story lines, this is not one of them! The voice of Lyra's ferret form demon really started to annoy me half way through the film, I wasn't even sure if it was a boy or a girl!
Overall I was disappointed that I didn't get the escapism I was looking for from this film. With all the hype surrounding it I had high hopes but was left feeling disappointed. I toyed between two and three starts for this, ideally I would have given it two and a half stars but I felt two was a little too harsh!
Summary: Not worth the hype!