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The Golden Compass (Merged
Posted: 09 December 2007 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Ah well, George, I guess we know how you feel about fantasy as a genre. grin Went to see it last night. Entertaining, but a bit rushed compared to the book. Stripped down to bare plot, really, so visually pretty but missing a lot, as book-to-movie translations always are. As the parent of a daughter, it’s nice to see a strong-willed young girl character, and oddly I found I liked her better in the movie than the book. And apart from the deep intellectual and political elements we keep discussing, I have no problem watching Nicole Kidman for a while! wink Still, I can’t imagine the few tame references to freedom of thought, heresy, and the oppressive dogmatism of The Magisterium (aka The Catholic Chruch) could cause such a fuss even among Christians.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Nicole Kidman is beautiful. And you don’t even need to apply too much of a rational thinking to come to that conclusion. :grin:

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Posted: 09 December 2007 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I also saw it last night, and I thought it was a brilliant piece of children’s fantasy literature with real substance.

Considering the current Hollywood craze for children’s fantasy books, I think that a comparison is in order.  IMO To compare The Golden Compass to Harry Potter would be like comparing Joyce’s Ulysees with a badly written comic book.  The Golden Compass has real thematic content that is positive and meaningful.  Harry Potter doesn’t.  To compare the Golden Compass with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, on the other hand, would be like, well, comparing a Philip Pullman book with a C.S. Lewis book.  Both would have superb structure as works of literary fiction, but the Pullman book would convey positive ideas and the Lewis book would promote vile ones.

I recommend it to everyone on this forum… and to the world.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 08:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I saw it last night and thought it was great. I highly recommend it! I thought that it hit the mark on the subject matter just right and was neither too overt nor too toned down.

I wouldn’t call it a kids movie though. PG-13 is the correct rating, and I think its really a movie more for adults and teenagers.

The biggest complaint, like others, is that it was too rushed, but how often do you get to see a movie that champions Freethought? Great movie overall, go see it.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 10:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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We didn’t get to go yet, but hope to see it soon even so. Our plans for this weekend got abruptly changed.  :(

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 09 December 2007 11:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I’m new, so pardon me if this has been thrashed previously (I did look for a thread, but didn’t see one).

But may I suggest that everyone goes to see this movie ASAP.  Take with you kids over the age of seven or so (a bit scary for younger ones), in-laws, neighbors, etc.

As many here surely know, this film is a fantasy based on the Philip Pullman trilogy which has an underlying theme suggesting that religious hierarchies are evil. (The books are good, too.)

Religious nut-jobs in America have decried the film and the books, for the very reason we should love them - they instill the idea that one should beware of dogma - like the FFRF slogan sez.

If the film does well, especially if it gains some initial momentum in theaters, later installments of the trilogy are more likely to be produced.

It’s a fun bit of entertainment, too!

Edit:
Whoops!  Didn’t see there was an “Entertainment and Pop Culture” section. 
I’ll learn the ropes - pardon my ignoramus.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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One vote here for exactly what erasmusinfinity said.

And if this -

http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1342

- doesn’t make you want to go to the movie, I don’t know what would!

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Posted: 09 December 2007 12:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Mild spoiler included, read at your own risk:

I saw the movie on opening night with my younger brother.  It was, as many have said, somewhat of a rushed plotline.  I really appreciated the dialogue in the university, early on in the film, that advocated specifically “reason & free inquiry”.  The animations and imagery are spectacular on their own.  I have not read the books, so I don’t know how the movie has changed from the original or where the plot line will ultimately go.  I did enjoy the plotline glimpses on “dust” & multiverses, an interesting & unique topic for a movie and a kids movie at that.

After the movie my brother and I (he is 13) had a good talk on the value of questioning authority, the history of science, the structure of the universe (what little we know) and a little bit of string theory & multiverse theories.  I really enjoyed our talk and hearing his questions.  After all that appears to be the major message of the first film – to question.  I highly recommend this film.  grin

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Posted: 09 December 2007 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 09 December 2007 08:57 AM

I also saw it last night, and I thought it was a brilliant piece of children’s fantasy literature with real substance.

Considering the current Hollywood craze for children’s fantasy books, I think that a comparison is in order.  IMO To compare The Golden Compass to Harry Potter would be like comparing Joyce’s Ulysees with a badly written comic book.  The Golden Compass has real thematic content that is positive and meaningful.  Harry Potter doesn’t.  To compare the Golden Compass with The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, on the other hand, would be like, well, comparing a Philip Pullman book with a C.S. Lewis book.  Both would have superb structure as works of literary fiction, but the Pullman book would convey positive ideas and the Lewis book would promote vile ones.

I recommend it to everyone on this forum… and to the world.

Yes, I agree. The Golden Compass did feel like a badly written comic book. grin I don’t get it, I really don’t. Positive and meaningful content? Where? When? Each scene felt like a bad short story that had little to do with following one. What did the bears have to do with anything else? Who were the Russian army? The Eskimo army? Who were the soldiers that looked like the Nazis? And the witches, and the “gypsies”? And how did the girl get the right answers from the compass? Because she could “feel it.” Any one of us could have written the script in about twenty minutes. And if you decided not to include any of the many scenes, nothing would have happened. Shouldn’t a story include a beginning, a culmination, and an end? Where was the high point here that every good story should have? Take the scene at evil cottage where they separated the demon from the kids. She walked in: the beginning; she destroyed the machine: the high point; they run away and the whole place explodes: the end. Then it goes to the next scene, that has very little to do with the previous one.

If women come from Venus and men from Mars, I guess I must be from Pluto, as I am probably the only person here who, again, just doesn’t get it. long face

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Posted: 09 December 2007 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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No, no, no… George… I was comparing Harry Potter with a badly written comic book.  And Ulysees with The Golden Compass.  Sorry we don’t agree.  I thought The Golden Compass was absolutely fantastic!!!

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Posted: 09 December 2007 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Well, I can imagine how not having read the books someone would see the movie as incoherent. George, most of the questions you ask were dealt with in much more detail in the book, but the translation is rarely better than fair from novel to movie, and the more complex the novel the poorer it translates.

I enjoyed the first two books, though I got bored before I reached the third, but I do think there are some interesting and insightful bits in them. Still I’m less enthusiastic than erasmus. On gthe other hand, I think Harry Potter gets a bad rap too. It’s not as intelligent as Pullman’s stuff, but as the series progresses there’s some good stuff in there about the ambiguity of moral choices in the real world, about the failure of real people to fit stereotyopes of pure good and evil, about the dangers of arrogance, zealotry, self-delusion. And as far as C.S. Lewis goes, I think it no better than HP on literary merits (and certainly below PUllman’s books) and far worse in terms of the actual ideas it aims to convey.

All of this just reinforces the relativity of literary taste. Even in a small group who share a taste for fantasy as a genre, similar attitudes towards religion, similar cultural backgrounds and all the rest, we can have vehement differences of opinion about the merits of individual literary works. Makes absolute statements about their merits rather suspect, IMHO.

As for the question of most interest here, does GC make any kind of statement we as freethinkers and non-believers can be supportive of, I would give a say yes a little bit. But it’s no atheist propoganda vehicle (more’s the pity) so if it’s not to your taste as literature (or film) you probably won’t get much out of it on pure ideological grounds.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 09 December 2007 03:22 PM

No, no, no… George… I was comparing Harry Potter with a badly written comic book.  And Ulysees with The Golden Compass.

I know. wink

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Posted: 09 December 2007 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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mckenzievmd - 09 December 2007 03:37 PM

All of this just reinforces the relativity of literary taste. Even in a small group who share a taste for fantasy as a genre, similar attitudes towards religion, similar cultural backgrounds and all the rest, we can have vehement differences of opinion about the merits of individual literary works. Makes absolute statements about their merits rather suspect, IMHO.

I usually try to be careful when criticizing art. Instead of saying “a movie is bad” I would normally say “I didn’t like the movie” or “I don’t think the movie is good.” I guess I got a little out of control in my previous post. Sorry.

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Posted: 09 December 2007 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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I haven’t read any of the books, and I don’t plan to.  From the write-ups here and on the movie review websites (even those that liked the movie), I’ve decided to respect and accept George’s evaluation and not waste my time seing it. 

I have a feeling that its sole saving grace would be the same as the last movie I saw - Enchanted.  Thank goodness for Nicole Kidman.  She, in her filmy, clinging gowns made that movie almost bearable. 

Occam

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Posted: 10 December 2007 12:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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I read the first two books when they came out and liked them.  I actually didn’t get around to reading the last one until a couple of months ago before I knew there was a movie being released.  Overall, I did like the series and the movie was pretty good too.  I would definitly reccomend it.

As far as the book (and hopefully movie) trilogy being some atheist recruitment for children, I think it’s the religious right’s standard condemnation of anything that inspires imagination.  (Remember how Dungeons & Dragons was supposed to turn kids into devil worshippers and those rule books, they REALLY were spell books don’t ya know.)  Some folks have to get worked up over something to feed thier persecution complex.

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