The Golden compass is a fantasy, adventure movie with interesting settings and nice graphics. This is one movie I really wish I had seen on the big screen, sadly had to make do with 21 inches :-(.
The story is set in a parallel galaxy to ours where a persons soul runs alongside him as an animal. The soul of a person keeps changing until adult-hood after which it settles on a particular form. The soul acts as ones inner self, giving ideas, suggestions or just plain companionship. If the Soul is harmed, so is the person and vice-versa.
The “Magisterium” is a religio-political group who control the whole world through indoctrination in various forms. They are the villians. Their major worry is that ancient knowledge of a substance called “dust” will cause people to doubt their teachings, causing a revolutionary uprising.
Lord Asriel(Daniel Craig) has discovered a possible source of “dust” and is planning a journey there to study it in more detail. Enroute he visits his ward Lyra, to inform her of his plans and hand over an ancient relic, a golden compass, for safe keeping. Lyra, the heroine of the movie, is a courageous young girl with a very biting temper.
The magisterium learns of Lord Asriels plans and wishes to keep tabs on him. To do this they try to woo Lyra, but they soon learn that Lyra is not about to fall for any of their advances. Lyra escapes from their clutches only to fall into more adventures on her way to warn Lord Asriel.
The “souls” have been flawlessly rendered and their interaction with the other characters is very real. Apart from the souls there are other characters also computer generated and each is done with the same level of reality, a special mention must be given to the armoured bears. The eye candy does not stop there though, the sets of the movie are just awesome and convey a very picturesque view of the world.
Dakota Blue Richards (Lyra) does a fantastic job as Lyra. Her character is always full of life and full of surprises and this comes out amazingly in Richard’s rendition. Other stunning performances by Nicole Kidman and the armoured bears make the movie a real nice watch.
The only thing I have against this movie is that its too short. Many details of the worlds are neglected due to the paucity of time, and one gets the feeling of watching the world through the windows of a moving train. The ending of the movie is very abrupt which points to an editors “Timeover” cut. Finally, when the movie finishes the narrative feels like it is just about to start, with the whole movie being just the epilogue. I am waiting for the sequels to come out, but from what I have read, there doesnt seem much chance of that happeneing! I think the only hope I have is to buy the book, which I plan to.