Friday, December 7, 2007
Movie Review: The Golden Compass
Yes, I went and saw This Movie, and yes, I still believe in God.
Seriously, though. I went in with an earnest desire to want to enjoy this movie. I really did. I'm not into boycotting things that I know nothing about (outside of the of reviews I've read from people, most of whom haven't seen the movie either). I'm not into dismissing a movie based on the book it is meant to follow. And, I'm not into telling the world I am a Christ follower by telling them about the things I frown upon.
I really wanted to like this movie, because I knew if I did, I could, with an unbiased opinion address the "Christian" concerns that have been raised. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.
The special effects were great. The special effects were really cool. And, the special effects were very entertaining. Beyond the special effects...let's just say I'm glad I had a free ticket and did not pay for this one.
This movie was way too complicated to be only about 113 minutes long. It's really hard to introduce an imaginary world without spending a lot of time explaining the story behind the story...that did not happen here. It jumped right into the plot, and I swear it took me half the movie to figure out what was going on.
The movie was incredibly anti-climactic...I kept waiting for the big payoff. I kept waiting for the big bad guy to get his, or for the hero/heroine to completely save the day. It never happened.
Neither did much character development. The movie could have easily gone another 20 minutes if that time had been spent explaining some of the characters a bit more. I left the theatre knowing just a little more about the main characters than I did going in.
The heroine, a little girl named Lyra, spent half of the movie being kind-hearted and purely heroic, and the other half giving the mean adults evil looks and figuring out ways to lie and deceive her way out of dire situations. She was cute enough, and her motives seemed good, but I finished the movie liking her little animal soul thing more than her.
Beyond what I've already mentioned, the one huge dynamic that was really missing was humor. I can't even remember smiling once, much less laughing. All of the other fantasy adventure stories that this movie (and by his own admission, stories that the author wants to be compared to) has been compared to had the humor element...it was sorely missing here.
This movie was surprisingly dark and violent. (and not because I'm a Christian...) I can't see many kids under 10 or so enjoying this movie without some nightmares. There were a few moments of serious tension...not just a mean adult chasing a little kid, but a bunch of adults talking about and trying to torture and kill the little kids. I was more than a little shocked when a polar bear dies in a fight by having his lower jaw swiped off by another bear...
And, as far as the controversial "anti-Christian" themes...unless you were looking for them going in, there's a good chance you would have missed them altogether. God definitely did not die, nor was he even mentioned. There was a very obvious anti-church message, but being an evangelical, I'd say it was more of an anti-Catholic message than anything else...and, to be completely honest, that doesn't really bother me.
Anyway, like I said, I was very disappointed. I left feeling like nothing had taken place, and without much of any interest in seeing the next movie in the series. The author did a great job in writing a story to hold up against the likes of Narnia and LOTR...so good a job, in fact, that I felt that I was watching a boring and confusing retelling of those stories. I certainly don't want to tell you not to go, because I'm sure this movie will pull in a good revenue and easily pave the way for the second in the series...but, don't say I didn't warn you.