4 Jan 2012

Golden Compass Movie Review

So I know that this is hardly a timely review as the film has been around for years, but I liked it so much that I simply had to give it a boost in here.

The DVD has actually been sitting on the shelf in my girlfriend's house for a long time, from before I first met her, in fact. I had seen it before but never put it on, mainly because my own interest is high fantasy. Airships and parallel Oxfords simply do not do it for me. Until the other day when I found her surfing around on forums asking if the sequel would ever be made. That got us talking about the film, and when I heard that the Catholic Church had tried to torpedo the making of a sequel, I just had to sit down and watch it.

The film itself was interesting, well-paced and exciting. The main characters have sufficient depth, and are  likeable enough to gain the viewer's sympathy. I found myself exceptionally drawn to the armoured bear Iorek Byrnison, rooting for him during his duel to the death with the king of the armoured bears, Ragnar Sturlusson, and cheering loudly when Iorek gets up and smashes Ragnar across the face.

Iorek Byrnison, hell yeah!!
In the scene in which Lyra Belacqua has to cross a narrow bridge of ice to get to the Magisterium's base at Bolvangar, I genuinely expected Iorek to try to follow her after she had crossed, and to then fall into the gully with the bridge giving way, and found myself silently cursing that such a great character should be killed off. It was a tremendous relief when Iorek did not try to follow her, and went back to get help.

Not all the characters were as well-cast as Lyra and Iorek, however. Daniel Craig was not all that convincing as Lord Asriel, although, to be fair, his character does not actually play a very large part in this movie. Still, Craig is just not terribly convincing in the role of the wandering scholar. The other disappointment was Eva Green, who really did not make a very good witch. Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, is excellent in her role as Mrs. Coulter.

All in all, however, I loved the film. All I want now is for someone to sculpt a metal miniature of Iorek Byrnison with his armour on, and one of his arch-enemy Ragnar, both at 28mm scale of course.

Oh, and it would be nice if they made the second and third parts of the trilogy as well. But, if Sam Elliot is to be believed, the Catholic Church seems to have made sure that that will not be happening.

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