In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.In a parallel universe, young Lyra Belacqua journeys to the far North to save her best friend and other kidnapped children from terrible experiments by a mysterious organization.
The biggest surprise of the cast definitely comes from Dakota Blue Richards as the lead, Lyra. In the trailers I actually thought that Lyra looked terrible, her voice sounded monotone and the girl showed no expression. Thankfuly in the movie that is far from the truth. Richards pulls off the character of Lyra perfectly, she's cheeky, at times rude but alway likable and definitely well acted. Her cockney accent surprisingly works and never gets too irritating, although at first it takes some adjusting too, and her emotions throughout the film are very well displayed. She carries the entire movie very well and it will be great to see her return in the future films as I know how much dramatic stuff she will have to do. But its Nicole Kidman who practically runs over the hills with this movie. Mrs Coulter was always my favourite character in the movie, and Kidman delivers an icy turn as the villainess. Kidman makes her multi-layered and highly memorable, her best scenes definitely being towards the end. Daniel Craig unfortunately features very little, but he delivers a great performance. Eva Green is superb as Serafine Pekkala but once again features way too little for my liking. The other two superb characters, and my joint second favourite performances, come from Ian Mckellen doing the voice of Iorek, and Sam Eliott who is perfectly cast as Lee Scoresby.
However despite the incredible performances its the cruel way things have been changed or cut that made me incapable of ever giving this higher than a 7/10. I will never understand to this day why the polar bear fight was changed from near the end to the middle, and why the Bolvangar scenes are so unnecessarily rushed its almost cruel. Also changing certain characters and changing certain facts just infuriated me all the more! But the ultimate problem with the movie is the fact it is way too rushed. Occasionally it is a blessing to get a two hour movie rather than a bloated two and a half hour once, but this story requires all the time it can get, and with events just taking up mere seconds and events being cut out (fans of the book will hate The Cocktail Party not being in the film) makes the film feel too short and missing something. Thankfuly the bear fight is as incredible as I hoped for, it ends in very cool way, and the final battle at Bolvangar, while way too short is definitely well done. The movie also packs an emotional punch at times, the intercision scenes are pitch perfect and the ending is amazing in my eyes in terms of emotion. The effects of the daemons are very well done, and the daemons themselves are pretty cool, most namely Mrs Coulter's golden monkey which will terrify kids for a while.
The Golden Compass is hardly the new Lord of the Rings as many, including me admittedly, had hoped for, but thankfully it looks much more promising than the Narnia series and perhaps with a new director, and less editing, this series could really take off. But for now I just need to get over my slight disappointment of it. Still very much worth watching though.
- Dec 6, 2007