The Golden Compass

Year: 2007
Studio: New Line Cinema
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer: Chris Weitz/Philip Pullman
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Freddy Highmore, Ian McKellen, Eva Green, Sam Elliott, Ian McShane, Christopher Lee, Kirstin Scott Thomas, Kathy Bates, Magda Szubanski

The result of a frantic search on the PCs of a thousand studio executives desperate for any CGI-driven fantasy novel adaptation that ends with a noble battle between strange and otherworldy beasts.

I could have told them audiences were already bored stiff with all the cheap, tween-targeted Lord of the Rings rip offs (The Seeker, Narnia, Eragon, Stardust et al), but no, it's an exercise in how to stick a CG bear in a dreary fantasy movie and flush $100m down the Hollygurgler.

If you can care less, it's a parallel universe where people's souls walk outside their bodies as animals (thus we have the usual dreary outcry by the Christian church), and a young girl discovers dust - the substance that holds all the universes together - that's so secret a Nazi/Church/Evil Corporation overlord metaphor called the Magesterium forbids anyone even talking about it.

She goes on the usual journey of discovery and meets the usual array of fascinating people, creatures, frights, etc etc etc.

This leaving home and discovering the universe myth Americans love in their movies is little more than the eternal repackaging of Easy Rider for an increasingly younger audience. Only with shit dialogue and a time-your-watch-by it structure of exposition/action/exposition/action/exposition/climax/sequel hook.

It's bombed so badly in America that for once the Catholic church is right - maybe they won't inflict any more of them on us.

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