cathyr19355: Stock photo of myself (Default)
posted by [personal profile] cathyr19355 at 11:05pm on 15/12/2007 under ,
[livejournal.com profile] esrblog and I just got back from a trip with [livejournal.com profile] pmat and [livejournal.com profile] shakati to see "The Golden Compass," the movie version of the first volume of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. There's no need for a cut here, since it's possible to name what's right and wrong with the movie without referring to any plot points at all.

I enjoyed the movie. Visually, the movie was a powerful and surprisingly accurate rendition of the world Pullman describes in the book. The casting was excellent (Nicole Kidman was particularly good in the role of Mrs. Coulter), and the scriptwriters did a wonderful job of compressing the action into movie-length without compromising its flavor.

There's only one problem with Compass. Most of what makes Pullman's novel compelling, or at least interesting, are the motivations of the characters and why they are fighting on the side on which they're fighting. Those motivations are sufficiently complex that they can't be described very well in a movie, and the movie accordingly abbreviates and glosses over a lot of them. The result is a movie that will be powerfully evocative for anyone who's read and enjoyed the book--and cryptic and frustrating for everybody else.

Well, that explains why it's doing so poorly at the box office, at least in the U.S. Sorry, New Line; not all fantasy trilogies are created equal.

[EDIT: In light of [livejournal.com profile] pmat's comment I should probably amend "cryptic and frustrating" to "cryptic, boring, and/or frustrating."]
Mood:: 'satisfied' satisfied

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