Few months ago, I ranted about how good was The Golden Compass book. Now I will rant otherwise for the movie. Do not watch the movie, I repeat, do not watch the movie. Two reasons:
- If you haven’t read the book, you won’t be able to follow the story, the pace was just too fast.
- If you have read the book, you will be dying of sorrow inside the cinema, read my spoiler rants.
I was expecting something like a three hour movie, yet it was 1.5 hours. This coming from a thick fantasy book with rich stories of a world vastly different from ours with extensive history context ~ big mistake. Totally huge mistake, there was not enough scene for any character developments, not even for describing the world sufficiently. Such a waste!
My rants will contain spoilers, so if you still want to watch it, don’t read on. The Golden Calamity gets only 42% on the tomatometer.
So yes, if you’re still reading on, I assume you have been disappointed like me or you decided not to watch the movie. Let me elaborate more of my previous points:
One of the greatest feature of the book was its absorbing storyline. There was simply none of those in the movie. I had the same feeling when I watched the first Harry Potter movie, but this one’s a lot worse! Think about His Dark Materials book, mutilate it into pieces, then only pick the pieces in the ‘critical path’. Then mesh all the pieces into a tiny frame of showing time. They cut scenes and changed the story here and there, which I thought was alright at the beginning, but definitely not towards the end when it was clear to me that the intention was to make the movie shorter. Serafina Pekkala literally only came to say hi and bye. It was silly because the movie didn’t explain the history of the witches in relation to the magisterium at all. That story part was effectively lost in the movie.
In the book, there was a scene where Billy Costa was holding a dead fish on his hand because his Ratter was gone. This one was completely shattered. I remember getting so excited about what was happening in that old little fisherman’s house, but the scene in the movie was herrendous. It was only about 3 minutes most probably, and with the lack of Dakota Richards’ acting (playing Lyra), I doubt people who haven’t read the book will remember any importance of the scene. They also changed the dead fish to a piece of animal fur instead, which left Bolvangar’s bleak image astray (that’s not to mention the clean hospital-like Bolvangar with a clumsy non-evil looking intercision machine).
Visually speaking, the movie was alright. Iorek Byrnison had a good shape, proportional height to human, etc. But his voiceover was oh my goodness wrong, imagine Optimus Prime’s heavy voice, yep but a lot stiffer and even heavier. It felt like the voiceover was directly reading from a script with no added emotion or playful tone. Gobsmacked everytime the armoured bear talked, I was cringing to my seat in pain.
And why did they pick Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel?! I don’t know about you but he just doesn’t have the figure for the role. He’s good as our James Bond, but not as a very smart, cunning and knowledgable father of Lyra. Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter cannot be more perfect though. She was an elegant lady who play the cast beautifully and gracefully.
I think the whole problem is because they tried to squeeze a fantasy movie into a tiny budget. Simply not working. Other fantasy movie, The Lord of The Rings gone for three hour for each of the sequels (and some fans were still complaining that Peter Jackson cut too much of the book and the movie wasn’t long enough). I was extremely sad from midway through the movie, a great book has been slaughtered.
The movie ended with Lyra and Roger about to meet Asriel. I wonder how will the second movie starts. Maybe it will be like this:
Lyra: Oh hi Dad, this is roger.
Asriel: Come here roger, I am going to use you.
Roger: Ok, to cut the scene shorter, this is my daemon…