Film Review: The Golden Compas
You had to see it coming. When the opening weekend grosses were in on Fellowship of the Ring, you knew that every big studio was going to get its hands on any "fantasy" book they could to crank out a movie to capitalize on the success of the Rings. Not unlike the comic book films after X-Men's release this has been met with mixed results (more bad than good in the fantasy film genre case). Which brings us to The Golden Compas; Like LOTR this film has a large ensemble cast and like LOTR is is based on a book. TGC is a story of a small girl who is living at a school while her uncle is a scientist trying to figure out the doorway to alternate realitys. The evil in the story is represented by the Magisterium which is trying to suppress the truth about alternate realitys and "dust". Every human in the move is bonded with their soul through the relationship with a talking animal called a "Demon" and there are also your usual array of talking polar bears, witches, and cowboys with air ships. This movie starts right up with an assumption that you already know these characters and everything thats going on, I wish I could say it hits the ground running but it really doesn't. It takes about half of the running time to get going and then when it finally does it splinters off into so many different directions that not only do you not know where the movie is going, you don't really care. There are about 3-5 different story lines being developed, none of which are resolved by the stop of the film. I say stop of the film because nothing really "ends" or is resolved. The main characters are flying to a destination and then the credits roll (c'mon, even Fellowship had a sense of resolution) and you know the studio is banking on a sequel. This film is a perfectly good waste of a great cast (or at least actors I like) such as Daniel Craig, Sam Elliott, Nicole Kidman, and Ian McKellen who voices a talking, fighting polar bear. The story gorges itself on blunt religious and political themes, tones, and underlying whispers with a snicker. Its over done and not done well. The only aspect of this film I liked (at least through the first hour) is the visuals. Many of the environments represented are very similer to real envirmoents from the time period making you believe this could actually be an alternate reality from ours; the same but with slight differences. Luckily this was a free rental, otherwise don't waste your time or money. 2 stars, one for the cast, one for the pretty pictures.