13 December 2007

The Disappointing Compass

I saw "The Golden Compass" opening day. As I sat through the movie I became more and more disenchanted with the way it was presented. By the end I kind of just stared at the screen and thought to myself..."They're kidding...right?".

I understand that to make a book into a movie there are some compromises that need to be made. Plot arcs to take out and changes to account for that have been caused by said plot removals. Where did the Hobbits get the wraith-killing swords from? Who are Tom Bombadil and Ghan-Buri-Ghan? If you watch the movie, you don't know. I understand this.

However, changing around the sequence of the plot, without which the story still could have been completed in time, angers me. In the book, Lyra travels to Bolvangar and THEN to Svalbard. In the movie it's the other way around. Why?

Second, and most infuriating of all is a change that Pullman himself authorized. The entire ending of the book is not included in the end of the movie. Instead it ends on a kind of sigh, an "eh" feeling. Nothing epic. Just a meager cry of "yeah, we'll show them bad guys...!" One of the most enjoyable aspects of the book was the coming together of the plot in this climaxing, overarching, HOLY SHIT ending. If it doesn't make you go "OH SNAP", nothing will. But don't expect this from the movie.

I suppose I did myself in the moment I decided that I'd read the book first, however, my boyfriend hadn't read the book, and he was equally as puzzled and frustrated by the anti-climactic ending.

There were redeeming factors of the movie. It was generally entertaining, and they did a wonderful job of the battle between Iofur and Iorek. A jaw went flying and children had to be taken out of the theater and all was well. But next time don't rate your movie PG, k? This is not for the same age of kids as are watching Chronicles of Narnia.



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