Golden Compass release thread

Well so far it’s getting fairly hammered in the reviews (36% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes). A reviewer whom I trust a lot said this (I assume that the below is vague enough to not warrant a spoiler tag):

“Constrained by a rushed feel and too little character development, this movie never seems to flow quite right. Passages of dense exposition are interspersed with impressively staged action/adventure sequences but the experience as a whole is less than what movies like The Lord of the Rings have shown us that fantasy adaptations can provide. One key missing element: the world in which this story takes place never feels unique. We aren’t drawn into it the way we were with Middle Earth or Hogwarts.”

Me, if this turns out to be another fantasy Christmas turkey like Eragon was, I’ll be seriously bummed because the director Weitz is scheduled to work on an Elric adaptation next, but if high fantasy all of a sudden becomes unfashionable box office poison, that project will get canceled faster than the Caveman series did (which technically is on “hiatus”, but I digress).

My sister-in-law saw it last weekend at a special screening for World Wildlife Fund employees and said it was great. That’s not much of a data point but there ya go.

I saw a sneak preview of it at my local giga-plex (what’s next, a tera-plex?). I haven’t read the books yet, so I didn’t have any expectations of what the story was supposed to be.

That said, I REALLY liked it! I thought the acting was very good, the sets and scenery were outstanding, and the story was epic in proportion. You can tell that the story is aimed at children (tweens and teens), but that doesn’t diminish the movie. I found the world the story creates to be very interesting and inventive.

I wouldn’t recommend this story for young children, as there are battle scenes and peril for the main characters. It should be fine for tweens and teens, though.


I honestly don’t have much hope for it after seeing the Sega Genesis-quality CG in the trailer. With a movie this big, and with this big of a budget, why don’t they do LOTR or King Kong-level work? Why does it have to look like Anaconda?

I only go to 2 or 3 movies in theaters a year, but I hope to see this one. I was the first person to read the book in my junior high’s school library, but forgot about the series while waiting for the other two to come out.

Still, I remember that I enjoyed it; and if I can spite all the fundies who are squawking about having it boycotted, then that’s just icing on the cake.

The fact that I kept hearing about the [OMINOUS ECHO EFFECT]controversy[/OOE] and relatively little about the actual movie is setting my Suckitude Sense a-tinglin’…

I saw it yesterday and we liked it. It was a bit short though which is probably why some complain that it’s rushed. But it’s nowhere near as rushed as the latest Harry Potter movie. The acting was good, especially the girl who played Lyra and Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter. Now, there’s a proper villain for you. The daemons worked well and I don’t agree that we’re not drawn into the world, but they could have spent a bit more time on, well, basically everything.

I really hope it will be sufficiently successful for them to make the sequels. From what I’ve read New Line was quite active in the editing process and if this one makes enough money maybe they will be more trusting of the director next time around.

I thought it was terrific…BUT a) I haven’t read the books, and b) I don’t usually go to movies with big battle scenes/lotsa special effects/explosions 'n flying glass, so it all looked darned impressive to me.

The acting was very nice… the girl playing Lyra is a first-time actress, so good for her. Kidman was a lovely scaly/icky villainess. Sam Elliott was great fun as a cowboy airship pilot.

The actor playing the “Gyptian” (sp?) king overdid it a few times, but he was backed up by Tom Courtney, so that’s all right. And there may have been too many bears for this 47-year-old man, although my daughter will like them fine.

Well I have read the books and I thought this movie sucked - so much so that I was close to walking out at one point in sheer boredom. I admit that the acting is very good (especially Dakota Blue Williams and Kidman) but the way the plot has been mapped out is just strange, and they ended the film several chapters short of where the books ends (for reasons I can’t fathom). The film seemed to spend more time running from one plot point to the next to actually make the world they were depicting particularly engaging or interesting.

2/5 from this reviewer.

The movie was re-worked by the studio because test screening audiences didn’t like the original ending, they thought it was “too depressing,” so the director was forced to move the last 3 chapters of the book to the beginning of the second movie. That’s why it ended the way it did, on kind of an “upbeat” note.

For the most part, I thought the movie was wonderful, and it’s a shame that something so original and interesting is getting so hammered. I hope it makes a ton of money overseas, or else we’ll never get to see the 2nd and 3rd books filmed.

I guess I’ll disagree on those who thought the movie was original, interesting, and/or engaging. While the story, and acting, and effects were above average (compared to your generic movie, not epic fantasy,) the way the movie told the story is anything but original (two words: voiceover introduction*.) The daemons absolutely withdrew me from the world: they were sort of neat the first couple dozen or so times I saw them, then they became distracting (but I’m not sure if there was a better way they could have been done: maybe not so much flash when someone dies?)

But it had some good parts, and it was an epic fantasy movie, after all, so I think it was worth my $6 to see it in the theater, but only barely.

*Speaking of which, I got more wintry chills from the 5 minute Caradhras scene in FOTR than the entire Compass movie.

The voiceover introduction told people everything they needed to know about the movie. Judging by many of the complaints from people who were confused (not talking here so much, but other places I read) not only did people NEED that opening narration, but a lot of them didn’t PAY ATTENTION to that opening narration because if they had, they wouldn’t have been so confused.

I can’t imagine how someone could not find that world interesting, but, to each his own. And the flashes were necessary. When a person dies, their daemon dies. They needed to show that because it’s a very important part of the story. If they showed it once or twice but then quit showing it, people would compain that it was lazy filmmaking, having all those people die in the battle, but not showing that their daemons died too.

Perhaps a crumble into [del]dust[/del]…some sort of powdery substance instead would have worked. But of course if that was contradicted by the book people would complain about that.


Let us never speak of that again.

Just came back from this, and I feel kind of meh about it all. I’ve never read the books, but I wasn’t confused, I just felt like there was a whole lot of stuff happening without much point to a lot of it. I never really felt terribly invested in any of the characters. The ending seemed weak and way too open ended. Dakota Blue Richards (what the hell kind of name is Dakota Blue?) was good, but her funny-looking little friend with the enormous teeth was awful.

My friend won some advance screening tickets and invited me along to see it last night. He and his wife had read the book, and did discuss wondering why they’d left out a bunch of the end. I haven’t read the book, but I think I’d like to, as it seems like it would probably be on par with the Harry Potter series.

I did sorta get the feeling that there was a whole lot of epic story they were trying to tell in a very short time, as once the action got started it really didn’t stop. You could tell fairly early on that the ending really isn’t one, as they’re going to have to tell the rest of the story in the sequel(s).

I get where Meyer6 is coming from, but I’m still kinda surprised at the low reviews; I’d have happily paid to see it, I’ll pay to see the sequel when it comes out, and if I happen to be over when my brother the DVD collector plays it after it comes out, I’d watch it at least once more.

Just saw it. We had read the books, and we went with friends who’d also read the books, we’d been looking forward to seeing it for a long time.

We were all very disappointed. Waaaaay too disjointed for our tastes, leaping about from one improbable scenario to another! In the books, one could see the logical sequence for what was happening; in the movie it made little rational sense. Boom, boom, boom, from one plot point to another.

D+ mainly for the lovely voice of Gandalf as the panzer bjorn.

What a waste of Christopher Lee!!

What the hell does “way too open ended” mean when it’s part of a trilogy?? What did you want to see happen? What, did you want Frodo to destroy the ring at the end of Fellowship too?

See, there’s no way the filmmakers could have pleased any/everybody. (Some) book readers are upset because the ending of the book was moved to the second movie, while (some) non-book readers weren’t happy with the ending they got.

All this negative reaction is so depressing. I fear we’re not going to get movies 2 and 3.

Actually, I’ve never seen LOTR. A sacrilege around here, I know.

I actually honestly didn’t know it was a trilogy until I came home and read this. From the ending I suspected sequel, but I didn’t know it was set up that way. I really do understand the attachment many people have to the books, although I don’t have it myself. Many times I’ve seen a book I loved get mangled into something unrecognizable onscreen, and it is upsetting. However, I feel like a movie should be able to stand alone for viewers who haven’t read the books too, and I think this movie failed at that a bit.

I was prepared to cut the filmmaker a lot of slack, and just enjoy his vision of the source material. But frankly, I rarely really enjoy it. I didn’t mind the lame ending (too much), but the way that many key plot points were presented was just too absurd! For example:

“here’s an alethiometer. It’s incredibly rare and valuable, and also very dangerous, but I feel I should give it to you, a pre-pubescent girl who’s never obeyed directions at all before. By the way, you’re going off with Mrs. Coulter now. Don’t let her know about this at all. That would be horribly disastrous for the entire world if she got her hands on it!”


“Hi, Lyra! I’m king of the gyptians! Come on in, have a seat alongside all our other leaders, and let’s discuss our plans.”

And how about

Hey, kid. I’m a witch. You have the alethiometer, don’t you? Use it to tell me who my old boyfriend was! Right! Okay, gotta fly!"


Howdy, pardner. You’re a stranger here, aren’t you? You look like you should be needing an aeronaut and and armored bear. ‘Scuze me for speakin’ outta turn."

Having read the book, I understood the necessity of each plot point, but I found it anticlimactic and appallingly laughable to have said encounters reduced in such a way.

The bear brawl was cool, though.