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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:27 pm
by John-Locke
tapehead wrote:
Peven wrote:imo the fundamental problem in adapting the books was the books themselves, or rather, the real motivation behind the author in writing them. he came up with a story to weave with his personal manifesto.


But Peven, not having read these books, as you have previously admitted elsewhere, how would you know?


Because he's a "know it all" ?

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:36 pm
by Peven
ever heard of the expression "from the horse's mouth"? i figure if i read an interview where the author himself is declaring the books as his way of getting across his view of religion i'd say that is fairly reliable.

also, my opinion that a story written without the main intent of writing being to write a good story is not so different than many other authors, including Tolkien.

but then i forget, only certain people have opinions that are valid in the Zone.........those that REALLY know it all :roll:

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:53 pm
by tapehead
Tolkien had an agenda too, but we don't hold it against him.


Why do you hate atheists?

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:07 pm
by Peven
tapehead wrote:I've read the books, would that make my opinion just a little more valid based upon a personal familiarity of their contents?

Can you link the said interview? I've read Pullman relating what you mention as part of his intent, but never as the reason that the books were written as such.


honestly, it would take me hours to try to find the particular interview. during the lead up to its release i was intrigued by the story as i had not read the books yet but am a fan of quality fantasy, so i read as much as i could about the books and the author, both here and following links to interviews/articles.

i would rather see authors who have a message to get across use a different genre than fantasy to do so, especially anti-religious messages which make it easy for reactionary people to justify their distrust of the genre, though if the books work for some people than they work for those people. thats totally valid. Pullman obviously struck a chord with a number of people, enough to sell enough books to get a studio to dump a boatload of money into adapting it.

BUT, i stand by my assertion that its charged message is what really prevented it from being successfully adapted, not any shortcomings of the director, because the number of people who did connect with the book represent a small minority of the general population. before the movie was released some of those very people were talking about how they thought it was going to be a tough sell to the general public if the movie stuck strictly to Pullman's vision due to the anti-religious tone. and based on their discussions, and what i remember reading of articles/interviews with Pullman, i still think that the message is the core of the story,the reason for its being, so when you thin it out to keep from offending the masses what you are left with is empty spectacle. for example, with LOTR they had to cut it down for time reasons, but they did not have to compromise the heart of the story to do it, which is why it was able to connect so well with audiences.

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:10 pm
by Peven
tapehead wrote:Tolkien had an agenda too, but we don't hold it against him.


Why do you hate atheists?


wha? Tolkien set out to write a great story, a legend. sure, with themes of heroism and bravery and sacrifuce and all that good stuff, but not any specific allegorical message. everything i have read about Tolkien states that he detested allegory in stories and resented the implication that LOTR was allegorical.

please point out where i said anything about hating anyone

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:14 pm
by tapehead
Peven wrote:
tapehead wrote:Tolkien had an agenda too, but we don't hold it against him.


Why do you hate atheists?


wha? Tolkien set out to write a great story, a legend. sure, with themes of heroism and bravery and sacrifuce and all that good stuff, but not any specific allegorical message. everything i have read about Tolkien states that he detested allegory in stories and resented the implication that LOTR was allegorical.

please point out where i said anything about hating anyone


I was only kidding. It's a shame really, as I find that the books don't contain the agenda you speak of, and can only really be accurately described as 'anti-organised religion', as I'm sure most readers would concede.

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:29 pm
by Peven
tapehead wrote:
Peven wrote:
tape head wrote:Tolkien had an agenda too, but we don't hold it against him.


Why do you hate atheists?


wha? Tolkien set out to write a great story, a legend. sure, with themes of heroism and bravery and sacrifuce and all that good stuff, but not any specific allegorical message. everything i have read about Tolkien states that he detested allegory in stories and resented the implication that LOTR was allegorical.

please point out where i said anything about hating anyone


I was only kidding. It's a shame really, as I find that the books don't contain the agenda you speak of, and can only really be accurately described as 'anti-organised religion', as I'm sure most readers would concede.


i think, like a song, different people will take something different from a story, and some may be more predisposed to an undercurrent of message than others. for instance, you feel that there isn't a strong anti-religious message, while good 'ol ZZS used to crowe about what a great job the books did in tearing apart religion.

20 years ago i would have been all over these books, more because i had a lot more time to read then than i do now and would have been curious to see for myself just what the fuss was about, and i have browsed through them a few times in the last couple years, considering making a purchase, but each time put them back because i found something else in the bookstore i wanted to read more, like the last time when i opted for the complete works of Ray Bradbury. can you blame me?

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 11:36 pm
by tapehead
I don't want to the blame game, and I look forward to hearing your informed opinion on the Complete Works of Bradbury.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 12:27 am
by DaleTremont
Switching gears a bit, I'm watching this movie right now and I feel like I'm in hades. I have a burning desire to just turn it off. Good thing I have teh Zone to distract me otherwise I might give up all together. Oh wait hold up, Kidman's onscreen...

.....

See, I'd really rather just watch her for 2 hours. The woman glows, I swear. But as to the rest of it- crap. I don't even know where to start. How about-

Lady Sheridan wrote:Little Dakota Blue, I hope you have an alternate game plan, because you'll never act again. Talk to Jake Lloyd, see what he's studying in college. She did manage to pull off the intercision scene fairly well...but maybe they told her they were really going to do surgery or something, because anything else left her vacant. Oh, someone has grabbed Pan, let me stare open faced to express "shock" and "horror." Blech.


I'll throw up a big +1 to that, Lady. And to pretty much everything else in your post. I know LS you mentioned George Lucas syndrome for having to act against a bluescreen 95% of the time but I mean come on kid use your fuckin imagination. That's what they pay you too much for.

Even Daniel Craig came out of this looking shoddy. Although, this movie has pretty much confirmed my long-held suspicion that Craig is one of those guys who's only good when he's excited about the material. When it's a paycheck he gives very, very little. His Lord Asriel was completely underwhelming.

Oh god. An hour and 40 minutes in. Will it never end?? Oh hey look another pretty but thoroughly unconvincing CGI-scape! Yeah, that will really win our hearts.

Fuckin A, Chris Weitz. I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you really blew it. You forgot rule numero uno of fantasy epics: we have to buy that this world is real. Yeah, Lord of the Rings had a bunch of sweeping shots of landscape too, but that shit was real. It's not even an issue of bad CGI actually (although, the CGI was completely crap)- even the sets in this film looked like sets, not actual places. I could almost see the art director bustling around in the background. It didn't absorb me for one second.

This is one of those movies that is SO bad it almost makes me believe that the material simply isn't suited to the screen. There's too much to explain, it's too philosophical, etc, etc...but then I stop myself because I don't want to let this crappy version stop people from wanting to see this story again done right. I'm sure it can be. Look at Harry Potter, for god's sake. That has all its own vocabulary and backstory and everything but in doesn't come off as clunky in those films like it did here. Did anyone else wince when Eva Green showed up and said "I'm Seraphina Pekkala" or when Lyra talks about "gyptians" and "them gobblers"? Sell it, people, come on! If you don't believe, we sure as hell won't.

Ughh. Yeah I'm hoping they shelve this for 10 years then try again.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:07 am
by Dee E. Goppstober
Peven wrote:imo the fundamental problem in adapting the books was the books themselves, or rather, the real motivation behind the author in writing them. he came up with a story to weave with his personal manifesto. thats it. he didn't sit down to write a great story, the story is secondary to his "message". LOTR, and other books like it, are vastly superior and will stand the test of time much better because they are not trying to preach or lay down some clever subversive commentary. they are telling great stories, period.


Peven wrote:
tapehead wrote:I've read the books, would that make my opinion just a little more valid based upon a personal familiarity of their contents?

Can you link the said interview? I've read Pullman relating what you mention as part of his intent, but never as the reason that the books were written as such.


honestly, it would take me hours to try to find the particular interview. during the lead up to its release i was intrigued by the story as i had not read the books yet but am a fan of quality fantasy, so i read as much as i could about the books and the author, both here and following links to interviews/articles.

...

before the movie was released some of those very people were talking about how they thought it was going to be a tough sell to the general public if the movie stuck strictly to Pullman's vision due to the anti-religious tone. and based on their discussions, and what i remember reading of articles/interviews with Pullman, i still think that the message is the core of the story,the reason for its being, so when you thin it out to keep from offending the masses what you are left with is empty spectacle.


First of all- I think it's a fairly basic presumption that in order to have an opinion about a book or its writer, you should have read it. Furthermore, I think not only have you not read the books -but also you haven't read any actual interviews with Pullman himself. You may have read other people's statements about Pullman, but that's just not the same you know.

Lucky for you I've taken some work off your hands, and looked up some actual quotes for you:

Directly from Phillip Pullman's own website (posted earlier in the His Dark Materials Trilogy thread):

As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don't think it's the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means. The meaning of a story emerges in the meeting between the words on the page and the thoughts in the reader's mind. So when people ask me what I meant by this story, or what was the message I was trying to convey in that one, I have to explain that I'm not going to explain.

Anyway, I'm not in the message business; I'm in the “Once upon a time” business.

However, I suppose there are things I can say about the books I've written – I can say why I enjoyed writing them, perhaps, or why I did something one way rather than another.

So here goes.


here:
Is there an underlying message for atheism in your book or did you simply want to write a fantasy story, like Tolkien? Kim Mapstead, Friday Harbor, Wash.

Hello, Kim: What I was mainly doing, I hope, was telling a story, but not a story like Tolkien’s. (To be honest I don’t much care for “The Lord of the Rings.”) As for the atheism, it doesn’t matter to me whether people believe in God or not, so I’m not promoting anything of that sort. What I do care about is whether people are cruel or whether they’re kind, whether they act for democracy or for tyranny, whether they believe in open-minded enquiry or in shutting the freedom of thought and expression. Good things have been done in the name of religion, and so have bad things; and both good things and bad things have been done with no religion at all. What I care about is the good, wherever it comes from.


here:
Pullman says that people who are tempted to take offence should first see the film or read the books. "They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence. It's very hard to disagree with those. But people will."

How will he respond to those attacks? "A soft answer turneth away wrath, as it says in my favourite book." (Proverbs 15:1.) So he won't argue back? "It's a foolish thing for the teller of a story to answer critics. If you're putting forward an argument, you can argue back and demonstrate why your argument is better than theirs. But if someone doesn't like a story you've written, what are you going to say? ‘Well, you should'?"


As for your assertion that Tolkien did not have an agenda - chew on this quote:
"'The Lord of the Rings' is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision," Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1953 to Robert Murray, a Jesuit priest.



Anyway. I watched the first part of the movie; I'll watch the second half soon. By the first part, I was pleasantly surprised - I liked Lyra's acting, I liked the imagery, and both Kidman and Craig worked quite well, I thought. I didn't find the story too watered down either.

But I will reserve further comments for when I have actually watched the rest of the movie. As one does, of course.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 6:21 am
by Keepcoolbutcare
Peven wrote:he came up with a story to weave with his personal manifesto. thats it. he didn't sit down to write a great story, the story is secondary to his "message"


so the magical story faerie didn't come down and fill his tabula rasa with the inspirado needed to tell a "great story", so Pullman, whilst wringing his hands and twirling his mustache, decided, nay, DECREED, that he would write a screed about the death of god; story (no, wait, GREAT STORY), that useless gentleman, be damned.

that how it went down Peven, you so privy to the private thoughts and journals of Pullman? You who, damn the critics, damn the establishment, you who's read over Pullman's work with...

oh, wait.

but, hold up, this may blow your mind Pevs...

what if the story...GASP!...IS THE MESSAGE?!?!?!?!?!?!?

quit stealing anchorite's shtick, he's a fuckton smarter than you.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 8:23 am
by Peven
tapehead wrote:I don't want to the blame game, and I look forward to hearing your informed opinion on the Complete Works of Bradbury.


riiiiiiight

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:18 pm
by DaleTremont
Dee E. Goppstober wrote:
Peven wrote:imo the fundamental problem in adapting the books was the books themselves, or rather, the real motivation behind the author in writing them. he came up with a story to weave with his personal manifesto. thats it. he didn't sit down to write a great story, the story is secondary to his "message". LOTR, and other books like it, are vastly superior and will stand the test of time much better because they are not trying to preach or lay down some clever subversive commentary. they are telling great stories, period.


Peven wrote:
tapehead wrote:I've read the books, would that make my opinion just a little more valid based upon a personal familiarity of their contents?

Can you link the said interview? I've read Pullman relating what you mention as part of his intent, but never as the reason that the books were written as such.


honestly, it would take me hours to try to find the particular interview. during the lead up to its release i was intrigued by the story as i had not read the books yet but am a fan of quality fantasy, so i read as much as i could about the books and the author, both here and following links to interviews/articles.

...

before the movie was released some of those very people were talking about how they thought it was going to be a tough sell to the general public if the movie stuck strictly to Pullman's vision due to the anti-religious tone. and based on their discussions, and what i remember reading of articles/interviews with Pullman, i still think that the message is the core of the story,the reason for its being, so when you thin it out to keep from offending the masses what you are left with is empty spectacle.


First of all- I think it's a fairly basic presumption that in order to have an opinion about a book or its writer, you should have read it. Furthermore, I think not only have you not read the books -but also you haven't read any actual interviews with Pullman himself. You may have read other people's statements about Pullman, but that's just not the same you know.

Lucky for you I've taken some work off your hands, and looked up some actual quotes for you:

Directly from Phillip Pullman's own website (posted earlier in the His Dark Materials Trilogy thread):

As a passionate believer in the democracy of reading, I don't think it's the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means. The meaning of a story emerges in the meeting between the words on the page and the thoughts in the reader's mind. So when people ask me what I meant by this story, or what was the message I was trying to convey in that one, I have to explain that I'm not going to explain.

Anyway, I'm not in the message business; I'm in the “Once upon a time” business.

However, I suppose there are things I can say about the books I've written – I can say why I enjoyed writing them, perhaps, or why I did something one way rather than another.

So here goes.


here:
Is there an underlying message for atheism in your book or did you simply want to write a fantasy story, like Tolkien? Kim Mapstead, Friday Harbor, Wash.

Hello, Kim: What I was mainly doing, I hope, was telling a story, but not a story like Tolkien’s. (To be honest I don’t much care for “The Lord of the Rings.”) As for the atheism, it doesn’t matter to me whether people believe in God or not, so I’m not promoting anything of that sort. What I do care about is whether people are cruel or whether they’re kind, whether they act for democracy or for tyranny, whether they believe in open-minded enquiry or in shutting the freedom of thought and expression. Good things have been done in the name of religion, and so have bad things; and both good things and bad things have been done with no religion at all. What I care about is the good, wherever it comes from.


here:
Pullman says that people who are tempted to take offence should first see the film or read the books. "They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence. It's very hard to disagree with those. But people will."

How will he respond to those attacks? "A soft answer turneth away wrath, as it says in my favourite book." (Proverbs 15:1.) So he won't argue back? "It's a foolish thing for the teller of a story to answer critics. If you're putting forward an argument, you can argue back and demonstrate why your argument is better than theirs. But if someone doesn't like a story you've written, what are you going to say? ‘Well, you should'?"


As for your assertion that Tolkien did not have an agenda - chew on this quote:
"'The Lord of the Rings' is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision," Tolkien wrote in a letter in 1953 to Robert Murray, a Jesuit priest.


Okay I was going to resist but after reading that I cannot help but throw up a giant

PWNT

That is all.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:30 pm
by MasterWhedon
Ugh. I watched this over the weekend and thought it was utterly incoherent, incomprehensible, poorly-made garbage. I never had a clue what the hell was going on or why I should give a shit about any of it. The first 20 minutes are spent vaguely yammering on about "dust" and how important it is/isn't, and I'm thinking, "Motherfucker, get some goddamn Pledge up in this piece!" Then Daniel Craig gets kidnapped by the bad guys only to pop up later with a quick little "Oh, yeah, they let him set up a lab and continue his research" bit of exposition, which left me even the fuck curiouser. Some kids get kidnapped and they talk about cutting off their CG creatures to make them "grow up"--though never mentioning how or why exactly that works when all the adults have their own CG creatures--and then a poorly-choreographed battle comes out of nowhere. And then--THEN!--it just ends! It fucking ends! Not that I wanted it to go on, but I wanted a fucking ending!

This is fantasy filmmaking from people who don't have a clue how to make fantasy films. 4/10, and that's being generous.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 3:33 pm
by DaleTremont
MasterWhedon wrote:This is fantasy filmmaking from people who don't have a clue how to make fantasy films. 4/10, and that's being generous.


That IS generous. I gave it a 1.5.

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:20 pm
by Lord Voldemoo
MasterWhedon wrote:Ugh. I watched this over the weekend and thought it was utterly incoherent, incomprehensible, poorly-made garbage. I never had a clue what the hell was going on or why I should give a shit about any of it. The first 20 minutes are spent vaguely yammering on about "dust" and how important it is/isn't, and I'm thinking, "Motherfucker, get some goddamn Pledge up in this piece!" Then Daniel Craig gets kidnapped by the bad guys only to pop up later with a quick little "Oh, yeah, they let him set up a lab and continue his research" bit of exposition, which left me even the fuck curiouser. Some kids get kidnapped and they talk about cutting off their CG creatures to make them "grow up"--though never mentioning how or why exactly that works when all the adults have their own CG creatures--and then a poorly-choreographed battle comes out of nowhere. And then--THEN!--it just ends! It fucking ends! Not that I wanted it to go on, but I wanted a fucking ending!

This is fantasy filmmaking from people who don't have a clue how to make fantasy films. 4/10, and that's being generous.


oh yeah...that's what this movie was about.

I know that i saw it...and there was some polar bears in it. Other than that it failed to leave any sort of impression on me whatsoever. If wish I'd read the books so i could at least participate in the hate over the adaptation, but as it is the film seems to have been completely blocked in my brain.

Probably a good thing, because what I DO remember is definitely in keeping with what MW described.

Since I can't really remember it, i'll go ahead and rate it a -147

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 5:28 pm
by MasterWhedon
The dust is affecting your brain, Moo! The dust!!

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:11 pm
by Lady Sheridan
DaleTremont wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:This is fantasy filmmaking from people who don't have a clue how to make fantasy films. 4/10, and that's being generous.


That IS generous. I gave it a 1.5.


I would have to concur. BFF! ;)

I really do wonder what Pullman was on to say "OMG, it's beautiful!" in regards to the movie. If I had been an author, eagerly awaiting the adaptation of my book from "the people who brought you LOTR," and got this kind of movie, I probably would have done the whole "full page ad in Variety" bitching about it.

At least it was so hollow, I can forget all about it!

PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 7:38 pm
by Lord Voldemoo
Lady Sheridan wrote:At least it was so hollow, I can forget all about it!


that's worked pretty well for me.

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:11 am
by Dee E. Goppstober
Lady Sheridan wrote:
DaleTremont wrote:
MasterWhedon wrote:This is fantasy filmmaking from people who don't have a clue how to make fantasy films. 4/10, and that's being generous.


That IS generous. I gave it a 1.5.


I would have to concur. BFF! ;)

I really do wonder what Pullman was on to say "OMG, it's beautiful!" in regards to the movie. If I had been an author, eagerly awaiting the adaptation of my book from "the people who brought you LOTR," and got this kind of movie, I probably would have done the whole "full page ad in Variety" bitching about it.

At least it was so hollow, I can forget all about it!


Ladies - your Golden Compass is my 300, it seems.

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:37 am
by judderman
I loathe the His Dark Materials trilogy, for various reasons, but I have to say that The Golden Compass was a great work of fantasy. The series didn't go completely bonkers until halfway through book 2.

So, tell this person who hasn't seen the film and never will: how could they have screwed it up so badly?

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:55 am
by tapehead
I'm just hoping there was enough watered-down polar bear-on-polar bear violence to tempt a few eight-year-old heathens to corrupt themselves further with the book...

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:37 pm
by Ribbons
Hollywood wants to take another crack at the His Dark Materials trilogy, and this time, apparently, it's going to be a 7-episode TV series? Is that good or bad? It's bad, right? Anyway, here are the deets:

http://deadline.com/2018/03/the-kings-speech-director-tom-hooper-logan-star-sign-up-for-his-dark-materials-adaptation-1202319285/

Logan actress Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, Les Miserables director Tom Hooper as project overseer, and noted Broadway fancyman Lin-Manuel Miranda as grizzled cowboy Lee Scoresby. Hooraaaay!

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:31 pm
by Cpt Kirks 2pay
Bloody 'ell mate, this is old news for about 2 years now. Where's TheButcher when you need him? Why didn't he post about this anyway? Is he in this too?

Ah well, at least X23 is in it. Roll on the geek idiots crying buckets and threatening to burn their stained Wolverine bedsheets when this actress doesn't win Best Actor Oscar after it comes out.

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:57 pm
by Peven
we need ZombieZoneSolutions to give us the lowdown.... :wink:


...too bad he was b4nned :(

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:26 am
by Ribbons
Cpt Kirks 2pay wrote:Bloody 'ell mate, this is old news for about 2 years now. Where's TheButcher when you need him? Why didn't he post about this anyway? Is he in this too?


Sorry Kirks, not all of us have a subscription to Sad British Extras Magazine

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:19 am
by Wolfpack
Everybody who is anybody has a subscription to SBEM.

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:45 pm
by Ribbons
I went back and re-watched The Golden Compass a few days ago. Now that I've actually read the books, I feel like I can speak about its merits as an adaptation with some authority (no pun intended). It was actually better than I remembered. My initial impression of the film was that it was a hot mess, but this time around, I found the actors all serviceable in their roles, including the children, and the direction mostly competent. Perhaps knowing the story going in makes all the disparate fantasy elements seem less like a jumble of nonsense.

That said, the movie fails as an adaptation for two key reasons. One is that New Line Cinema, clearly keen to replicate their success with Lord of the Rings, tried to graft a LotR vibe onto His Dark Materials in an awkward fashion. This is especially apparent at the beginning, where we get a lengthy prologue narrated by the Galadriel character and a bunch of small children frolicking in a field near Oxford that incomprehensibly looks exactly like The Shire. The musical cues are nearly identical as well, and this happens multiple times. I can only imagine this was the same reason Ian McKellen was (mis)cast as the voice of Bear King Iorek Byrnison. But the main reason The Golden Compass fails is that it's utterly terrified to address the issues of religion that the entire series is about. Regardless of whether you agree with Phillip Pullman, regardless of whether you love the books like ZombieZoneSolutions or found them a preachy bore, there's no getting around this fact. You can't adapt a story that is explicitly about religion and then try to get rid of the religion without ruining the story. Yes, the Magisterium shows up very briefly in the beginning, and there's a vague reference to original sin that comes across more like a cute joke, but everything else is gone, which means the entire second half of the book is missing. I did read this thread and saw the director explain this decision away as a desire to put it at the beginning of the second film for better narrative flow, but anybody who's read both books can tell you that makes absolutely no sense. They were so desperate to put off dealing with the series' themes that The Golden Compass isn't actually about anything.

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:25 pm
by Peven
you should put up more posts like that.......

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:16 am
by Ribbons
I have my moments

Re: The Golden Compass (now with Reviews!)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:43 pm
by so sorry
Ribbons wrote:I went back and re-watched The Golden Compass a few days ago. Now that I've actually read the books, I feel like I can speak about its merits as an adaptation with some authority (no pun intended). It was actually better than I remembered. My initial impression of the film was that it was a hot mess, but this time around, I found the actors all serviceable in their roles, including the children, and the direction mostly competent. Perhaps knowing the story going in makes all the disparate fantasy elements seem less like a jumble of nonsense.

That said, the movie fails as an adaptation for two key reasons. One is that New Line Cinema, clearly keen to replicate their success with Lord of the Rings, tried to graft a LotR vibe onto His Dark Materials in an awkward fashion. This is especially apparent at the beginning, where we get a lengthy prologue narrated by the Galadriel character and a bunch of small children frolicking in a field near Oxford that incomprehensibly looks exactly like The Shire. The musical cues are nearly identical as well, and this happens multiple times. I can only imagine this was the same reason Ian McKellen was (mis)cast as the voice of Bear King Iorek Byrnison. But the main reason The Golden Compass fails is that it's utterly terrified to address the issues of religion that the entire series is about. Regardless of whether you agree with Phillip Pullman, regardless of whether you love the books like ZombieZoneSolutions or found them a preachy bore, there's no getting around this fact. You can't adapt a story that is explicitly about religion and then try to get rid of the religion without ruining the story. Yes, the Magisterium shows up very briefly in the beginning, and there's a vague reference to original sin that comes across more like a cute joke, but everything else is gone, which means the entire second half of the book is missing. I did read this thread and saw the director explain this decision away as a desire to put it at the beginning of the second film for better narrative flow, but anybody who's read both books can tell you that makes absolutely no sense. They were so desperate to put off dealing with the series' themes that The Golden Compass isn't actually about anything.


I read the books a few years ago and disliked them quite a bit, and never saw the flick, but I agree with you 100%: taking out the 'heart' of the books for the sake of making a more palatable movie was a gamble that failed miserably. My guess is they figured that if it was a success and they were going to go thru with sequels, they were just going to figure something out on how to continue the story while continuing to ignore the core message of the books.