The Golden Compass tells the story of Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) and her Uncle Ariel (Daniel Craig) in a parallel universe. Therein, all people have demons (a creature attached to our very being, formed in the appearance of an animal and a Â‘soul mateÂ’) and the world powers are run by a religious order. The adventure of Ariel and Lyra involves an althiemoter which can tell the truth about anything; this (of course) helps in an attempt to discover long lost children.
The film mixes a massive array of acting talent, high budget production values, and publicity to create a film with enough credit to its name to draw in the Harry Potter crowd. Using the same glossy big scenery Golden Compass misses out on Harry Potter filmsÂ’ main success, a good plot.
Harry Potter took a good book and made it into a good film (well, at least some of the later ones). Golden Compass takes a good book, takes anything mildly controversial (and interesting) away from the plot, avoids major interesting plot twists that the book had, and creates a film which is at best an above average adventure film. The screenplay, which left something to be desired, concentrated too much on too many things, and could have done well to cut whole parts for the sake of a good story.
The film is visually stunning, and the acting competent, but the pace was too slow. Action, comedy and tension are misplaced by jarred tension, and long periods of scene setting or nothingness. The film takes no risks and just makes a painful attempt at making a book into a film, relying far to much on production value, star power, publicity and hype.
The Golden Compass arouses only irritation for the book fans with its inappropriate name (itÂ’s not even a compass!) but also the usual controversy when anything attempts to veer near religious themes. The film is good, but it is lost in its attempt at presenting itself as great, so lends itself for massive criticism. Recommended for fantasy adventure fans, and children, Golden Compass is true to its genre and brings few surprisesÂ… perhaps in the next film?