I have just returned from seeing this movie on opening night in the cinema and it's the first time in years that I have been in a theater where the entire audience was laughing almost constantly from start to finish. I had seen the trailers for this movie beforehand and was skeptical as to whether the full movie would live up to them. I was worried all the funny bits were used for promotion of the movie (which happens so often with comedies) but that wasn't the case with this one.
The cast were incredible together. I have seen a lot of Melissa McCarthy's movies and lately she has had a few that were nothing special (Tammy, Identity Thief) which made me wonder if she had used up all of her comedic value by overplaying the same type of characters for the sake of being in a movie. In this film she has showed diversity with her character and has proved that she hasn't lost her touch when it comes to comedy. Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart and Jason Statham all provided incredibly funny characters. In particular, Byrne and McCarthy's back-and-forth insults had everyone laughing.
Paul Feig's script is exceptional. I often find when one person writes and directs a movie it just doesn't work or the storyline ends up very one-sided but Feig has made a genuinely funny movie with a great story and fantastic direction. I look forward to seeing more of his fantastic work in the future.
Charlize Theron's portrayal of Aileen is magnificent throughout. I completely forgot it was her within seconds of watching this movie and it's very rare that such a well known actor has the ability to do that. Theron's representation of someone who shows immense mood swings on a daily basis had me in awe of her. This character could not have been easy to play but she pulled it off flawlessly.
The film as a whole is so moving. This is the kind of movie that you wont easily forget. The casting for this movie is incredible, I have mentioned Theron but Christina Ricci also did her role a great deal of justice. There is so much emotion and depth in the characters, you will feel your heart racing for Aileen and Selby as well as for very minor characters. It will have you questioning many things about our society that you may never have considered before. An outstanding movie in every way.
If I hadn't read the book before viewing I probably wouldn't have understood much of this movie. While the book is wonderful I found the movie to be far too fast paced with a lot going on in a very short time, one example of this was Mrs. Coulter not having much mystery about her. From very early on in the movie we find out that she is head of "the gobblers" while in the book there was a lot more questioning to her character and elements to her that made me think she had a little good in her and that she wanted Lyra for deeper reasons.
One big problem I found with the movie was the casting of Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel. While Craig gives a good performance it seems to be a completely different character than what I imagined of Lord Asriel. From the book he seems like a very cold, strict but brilliant man, while in the movie he seems a little aloof and acts fine when Lyra has disobeyed him with nothing really getting on his nerves. Unless I completely misinterpreted the character which I don't think I have from other opinions I have heard I think they should have stuck to basic character traits.
Though I do have problems with the movie as a representation of the book, I did find it to be an enjoyable enough movie with incredible special effects which made it beautiful to watch.