The Golden Compass [12/03/2007]

The Golden Compass is a fantastic book. I've been anticipating a movie since I first read it in 2003. After eagerly awaiting the release for so long, I was not disappointed upon attending a sneak preview last Saturday night.

Chris Weitz did a superb job of staying true to the book.

Dakota Blue Richards successfully portrayed Lyra's personality. Lyra's strength and complexity of character shone through in Dakota almost magically. I was also quite pleased with the rest of the casting. I hope that if they make The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass they will do as good a job at casting Will and the others as they did with the actors here.

The set design, art direction, visual effects, and costume design were brilliantly executed. Lyra's world really came to life and looked divine. The buildings and landscapes were even more magnificent than I had imagined them. The depiction of dust was a little different than how I would have done it. But, this didn't bother me too much as such an abstract concept is sure to be difficult to materialize.

You may already have heard the big ta-do about how the ending was cut short. Yes, it kind of surprised me too and was a bit upsetting. However, thinking it through it seems reasonable to end the movie this way if the prospects towards making The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are unknown. You don't end a movie with a cliffhanger if the second movie isn't going to be made.

I've already heard several critics and reviewers express confusion about the plot and characters. This is likely because they haven't read the book. It's hard for me to imagine watching the movie without having read the book. I suppose parts would seem a bit confusing. I therefore highly recommend reading the book if you haven't already before seeing the movie. Do it quickly so you can see this movie on the big screen.

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