During our Thanksgiving road trip to bend, we listened to the audio version of The Golden Compass. Kris and I have both read the book several times, but since the film is coming out soon, we decided to refresh our memories.
Tiffany enjoyed the book so much that she insisted on borrowing my iPod so she could finish it on Saturday. (Tiff, Kris has finished the second book now, if you’re interested.)
When we got home, I decided to search for information on the film, which opens on December 7th. What I found made me worried. I was initially excited for the film, but recent trailers have me wary. I’m afraid the girl who plays Lyra may not be a good actress, and I’m afraid that the film may be over-produced. This clip does nothing to allay my fears:
Can you say “wholly invented” and “made from whole cloth”? This scene has no relation to the book. I am baffled. The following episode is a little better, combining two scenes from the book:
I’ve continued to listen to the book during my commute. I always forget how slow it starts. It’s leisurely, and doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere. But by the half-way point, you come to realize that everything that has been mentioned before is important, that story elements have been accumulating like a snowball. It’s quite effective story-telling, actually.
In fact, there’s an extended section about two-thirds through the book (starting with “the lost boy”) that is one of my favorite passages in any book. (I’m speaking of Tony and his fish, of course.) I only wish the rest of this trilogy held up to that last half of The Golden Compass. There are moments of brilliance throughout — including the dirigible chase near the end of The Subtle Knife — but I think that things eventually go flat.
Apparently there’s an uproar about the movie in certain parts of the Catholic church. They don’t appreciate that the series ultimately takes a dim view of religion. I never understand why religious people get hacked off at this stuff, especially in the U.S. What about freedom of speech? And why feel so threatened? Christians make up a vast majority of this country’s population. Why is it okay to have thousands and thousands of books that depict atheists in a poor light, but a single series that questions organized religion (and Catholicism in particular) is taboo? Give me a break.