Friday, December 7, 2007

Asriel. Lord Asriel.

Sorry, sorry, couldn't resist. Just got home from an opening-night screening (my first in a long time) of The Golden Compass. No spoilers here.

I will pause first to note that this movie features Russians and Asians as the evil hordes. How refreshing.

No long post tonight, just a quick post-mortem: the child star, Dakota Blue Richards, is very good indeed. Nicole Kidman's slightly scary botoxed look works really well for her role. Not enough Daniel Craig (who plays Lord Asriel, for those who didn't get the joke). The bears rock (and the bear battle got some spontaneous applause). So do the daemons; the animation is good, if overused. Did we have to dive into the golden compass every time Lyra pulls it out? Beautiful sets and costumes, as you'd expect, and a slightly overbearing but pretty score from Alexandre Desplat.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie, and it helped that I actually had forgotten quite a lot of the book -- haven't read it since it first came out. But it's missing darker tinge and heart to really push it into the big leagues of Epic Fantasy; that might come in the next one. (It's worth noting that screen time was less than two hours, making it kid-friendly but not character or plot development-friendly.)

And yay, Derek Jacobi is in it, which I had forgotten. A little retirement money for the man.

So here are the big questions: 1) how much money does it need to make for the studio to commit to the next one or two, and 2) how on earth will they ever be able to schedule Nicole Kidman and Mr. Bond at the same time, and before the already leggy-looking Richards grows out of her role?


Prairiebuilding said...

Well, it's never a good sign when i begin cooking up alternate openings for films. but two that i have come up with so far:

1) An Adam and Eve-esque sequence where the "transgression" involves something to do with daemons

2) The scene, recounted somewhere in the books, where Asriel "rescues" baby Lyra from Coulter and Mr. Coulter.

3) Billy Costa and Roger abducted by the Gobblers.

I've also come to the conclusion--and a sad one it is--that the Polar Bear Kingdom episode should have been excised. They just kind of bungled it.

In its place, Weitz should have cooked up a scene that really pinned down what is now a half-baked series of relationship between innocence, experience, free will, falleness and so on. It wouldn't have to be religious per se.

Just a few thoughts...

Heidi said...

The problem with the bears, awesome though they are, is that the battle doesn't really advance the overall dust-daemon plot OR develop Iorek's character a whole lot. It works in the book. I suppose it helps to show how clever Lyra is, but we kind of had the idea already.