Cast: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ian McKellen
Script: Chris Weitz
Director: Chris Weitz
Rated: PG-13, for violent fantasy scenes
With a budget of $200 million, director Chris Weitz(American Pie) created one of the most impressive movies of the year.
The Golden Compass, based on Northern Lights, the first novel in Phillip Pullman’s trilogy His Dark Materials, is the story of orphaned 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), who embarks on a journey to find a kidnapped friend. With the help of an instrument that allows her to see the truth and that only she can use, she sets out on her quest.
In the book, Pullman writes about the death of God, represented as an outdated source of energy. Naturally, the novel has been attacked by various religious organizations for this controversial portrayal, which is why Weitz decided to leave the book’s religious themes behind when he made the movie, replacing religion with a Soviet dictatorship and God with the character of an older brother.
Nicole Kidman takes on the role of femme fatale Mrs. Coulter; Daniel Craig (the latest James Bond) plays Lord Asriel, who gives Lyra her magical instrument; and Sam Elliot is Lee Scoresby, who helps Lyra get to an Arctic city.
Blue Richards is charming in her role as the main character, while Kidman and the rest of the cast shine.
The Golden Compass is darker and more philosophical that Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and I’d even venture to say more so than Harry Potter. Visually, the film is an extraordinary experience, but thematically it could be a problem for children who won’t understand its complex and ambiguous plot.