Monday, December 17, 2007

The Golden Compass

Last night we went to see The Golden Compass. We didn't want to risk a bad viewing experience with this one, so we went over town, this time to the mall in Burlington. We both enjoyed the movie, but I've got some criticism's. I know, you're thinking "Criticisms? Dan? Really?" in that sarcastic voice, but I think my criticisms are valid.

You see how the girl is riding the armored bear in the poster? That doesn't happen in the movie. Oh, she rides the bear, but he doesn't have armor on when she's riding him. The filmmakers even include some ridiculous dialogue about "we'll go faster without armor" to justify the first time the bear is ridden without armor. The second time they just don't explain it at all. Basically, the bears armor magically appears as the circumstances demand.

So what, you say? Well, there is a pivotal scene about the bear's armor being critically important to his ability to function. He's an armored bear, you see, and without his armor, he's worthless. Except, it seems, when he's being ridden. My theory is that the animators had difficulty with the armor -- the armor in the movie is very different than the armor in the poster.

Also jarring is the violence in the movie -- not that there is a lot of violence, but that the few violent scenes are graphically violent. Graphically violent except for blood, that is. I don't recall any blood in the film. People (and animals) get bitten, stomped, slashed, stabbed, shot with bullets and arrows, dropped from heights, and gruesomely killed in all manners. But all of it is bloodless.

Again, my theory is that the filmmakers had to remove the blood to retain their PG-13 rating. I'm not squeamish, Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction are fav's, but I turned my head at the final battle scene of this movie. With realistic gore this one would easily be an R.

Despite my criticisms, I liked the movie. The acting was good, the cinematography was nice, and the world created was interesting. The "ice bears" were fun, and the "daemon" companions was an intriguing concept.

Dakota Blue Richards does a yeoman job as the star of the film. She's in basically every scene, often playing against digital creations that will be added later. Talented young actress. Horrible name -- Dakota Blue? Come on, people.

You can meet your own "daemon" companion at the films site. Mine is a fox named Hermonystra. Here she is.

Anyway, the movie must be seen on the big screen, and I recommend it. I think the DVD will be great, too. Solid Single Shot

Movies on Whidbey Island.

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