Review of The Golden Compass Movie


The movie is based on the Philip Pullman Book "The Golden compass" which was originally published under the name "The Northern Lights". It is the first in a trilogy, The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass . The story is set in an alternate earth and is about a young girl named Lyra Belacqua who stumbles upon a political conflict occurring amongst the adults in her life. Her uncle, Lord Asriel is conducting controversial research on this mysterious thing called Dust. This research is opposed by the Magesteriem who are the controlling authority in the setting and are determined to save the population from Dust's corrupting influence. But when Lyra's best friend Roger gets abducted by the GOBBLERS she needs to head to the north pole to rescue him. She teams up with Mrs. Coulter who takes a special interest in Lyra and promises to take her to see the North Pole. Before Lyra departs the school she is given a secret to guard and protect by the head master. A secret she must epically keep from Mrs. Coulter.

The movie Starred:

Marisa Coulter Nicole Kidman
Lord Asriel Daniel Craig
Lyra Belacqua Dakota Blue Richards
Roger Ben Walker
Pantalaimon (voice) Freddie Highmore
Iorek Byrnison (voice) armored ice bear Ian McKellen
Serafina Pekkala Eva Green
John Faa Jim Carter
Farder Coram Tom Courtenay
Ragnar Sturlusson (voice) bear king Ian McShane
Lee Scoresby aeronaut from Texas Sam Elliott
First High Councilor Christopher Lee
Stelmaria (voice) Kristin Scott Thomas
Second High Councilor Edward de Souza
Hester (voice) Kathy Bates
Fra Pavel Simon McBurney
Magisterial Emmissary Derek Jacobi
Ma Costa
Gyptian matriarch
Clare Higgins

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I really enjoyed this film and had a lot of fun watching it. The acting quality was really outstanding with even the CGI Characters behaving in a realistic manner. The animation is consistent throughout the film so as not to break the immaculate reality of the setting. The steam punk elements were visually stunning leaving me memorized in my seat. The film was exciting and entertaining but it didn't quite reach the knock out film level which is why I give it 4.5 stars. I will own it and want to watch it over and over again. I have also included a section for those who are familiar with the book.

I loved the acting quality in the film. I felt that the people involved with the film really had a firm familiarity with the materials both the script and the book. I say this because many of the actors and actresses really hit the right emotional note for their scenes. This is particularly difficult feat with this project because there are a lot of subtle actions being taken and secrets that are not reveled until a latter point in the movie. Some of those things are only revealed in the book. I really appreciated seeing the responses that I expected see to seemingly innocuous events.

The quality of the CGI characters just amazed me both through the amount of emotion that was shown through the characters and through the realistic behaviors and movements. I was very touched to see Iorek's feelings toward Lyra develop and grow. I was also very entertained in the scenes with Mrs. Coulter's monkey, where she was able to be so reserved hiding her emotions and her monkey was not able to hide anything showing her true feelings. I was most amazed by the realistic movements of the various CGI animals. The animators really captured the natural movements and behavior quarks of each animal lending a delightful realism to the film.

The animation was consistent throughout the movie maintaining the immaculate reality. I was able to be pulled into Lyra's world.

The steam punk elements were visually stunning. I particularly enjoyed the gyroscopic propulsion elements and how they were consistent throughout the film whether it was on an air ship or on a carriage. I found it a nice visual addition.

The movie was not a knock out film though. The events were exciting but the end just didn't pop. This was not a big surprise and I would bet that the studio felt the same and for that reason gave the movie a December release instead of a summer

For those who are familiar with the book.

Book Was better but it's rare for that not to be the case. In the book Phillip Pullman is able to really build a tension and excitement that just drove me all the way through the last 1/3rd of the book. The ending was more of a knockout in the book although more controversial and darker too.

They made some changes to adapt the book to the movie. the first 2/3rds was true to the timeline with the events occurring in order as they were in the book. The last 1/3rd of the movie had a different order of events than the book but this was done so that they could end the story on a happy note.

That being said the abridgement of the movie was very well done cutting out material to make the movie fit into it's time constraint but also maintaining the spirit of the story. I was very impressed with the movie for that because it is very hard to make the length of a book fit into the short time space of a movie.