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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Pointing North – The Golden Compass Review

How much do I really have to say about The Golden Compass?
I liked it.
I don

13 Responses to “Pointing North – The Golden Compass Review”

  1. Devin Faraci says:

    Talking to Chris Weitz and Sam Elliott today, it was confirmed that the film’s budget ended up at 250 million. With P&A on top of that, I would say New Line really needs the movie to do more than 500, and I really doubt it will even do that.

  2. GayAsXmas says:

    I am really hyped for this film – I adore the books. Interestingly, the Guardian had a review up of this yesterday and they pretty much had the same reaction as you David except the reviewer really flipped for Kidman. He said she is brilliant and one of the best movie villains since Darth Vader. Personally I always thougth she was perfect casting

  3. MarkVH says:

    Nice review Dave. You’re probably reticent to discuss the elephant in the room so as not to derail the conversation, but if you’re going to talk about BO prospects for the film I think it at least needs to be addressed. Of course I’m referring to the controversy.
    Narnia was a crossover hit, but the Christians clearly showed in droves, and made up a good amount of repeat business. Rings also hit with more than its quadrant, but again, the built-in audience was there.
    Compass doesn’t have the latter’s built-in audience, and Christians are being told to boycott (whether or not you think this is unjustified hysteria is beside the point, since we’re talking purely financial prospects here).
    So who do you think is going to show? Will the movie play to the family audience that doesn’t stay away (or go to see Enchanted instead)? Will teens come back more than once? Is there enough to turn adults away from the rest of the quality that’s out there?
    Am curious to get your thoughts on all of this.

  4. It’s nice to see Kidman in a flick getting positive reviews AND will mostly get positive boxoffice instead of good reviews and no box office or bad reviews and still bad box office.

  5. jesse says:

    Dave is pretty much right on here; I agree with most of what he says except that it sounds like he comes out of it a bit more positive than I do. The film is entertaining enough, and a lot more imaginative than that Narnia movie, but it’s not really up to the level of the post-Columbus Potters. An unfair comparison, maybe, but almost unavoidable.
    I haven’t finished the book (I read about half of it before I saw the movie; just ran out of time, especially because the book is slow-going at first) and certainly don’t have the fanatical love for it than a lot of readers do, but I will say that they didn’t exactly crack the translation. What was a lot of somewhat slow set-up and scene-setting in the book just gets shortened to equally vexing exposition — as DP says, the movie takes awhile to get going (even though the exposition was obviously put in to move it along). It doesn’t really lift off until about the same time the book gets more exciting, even though the movie gets to that point a lot quicker.
    I’m also not sure that it’s really about characters — I mean, I’d like it to be, but Lyra is the only character we really get to know. The rest are intriguing but don’t feel fully there yet.
    And Ian McKellan, nice as his voice is, is all wrong as a murderous warrior polar bear. I’m pretty sure I heard a different voice in the first trailer — whoever that was sounded a lot more fitting than McKellan, who is (I assume digitally) growled up a little but still sounds far too regal.
    My nitpicks make it sound like I didn’t enjoy myself, and I did… just didn’t take much away from it beyond “wow, bears are awesome.”

  6. jesse says:

    Dave is pretty much right on here; I agree with most of what he says except that it sounds like he comes out of it a bit more positive than I do. The film is entertaining enough, and a lot more imaginative than that Narnia movie, but it’s not really up to the level of the post-Columbus Potters. An unfair comparison, maybe, but almost unavoidable.
    I haven’t finished the book (I read about half of it before I saw the movie; just ran out of time, especially because the book is slow-going at first) and certainly don’t have the fanatical love for it than a lot of readers do, but I will say that they didn’t exactly crack the translation. What was a lot of somewhat slow set-up and scene-setting in the book just gets shortened to equally vexing exposition — as DP says, the movie takes awhile to get going (even though the exposition was obviously put in to move it along). It doesn’t really lift off until about the same time the book gets more exciting, even though the movie gets to that point a lot quicker.
    I’m also not sure that it’s really about characters — I mean, I’d like it to be, but Lyra is the only character we really get to know. The rest are intriguing but don’t feel fully there yet.
    And Ian McKellan, nice as his voice is, is all wrong as a murderous warrior polar bear. I’m pretty sure I heard a different voice in the first trailer — whoever that was sounded a lot more fitting than McKellan, who is (I assume digitally) growled up a little but still sounds far too regal.
    My nitpicks make it sound like I didn’t enjoy myself, and I did… just didn’t take much away from it beyond “wow, bears are awesome.”

  7. jesse says:

    Sorry for the double-post!

  8. movieman says:

    I was entertained…and that was despite 30 minutes of numbing exposition at the beginning. The relatively fleet 118-minute running time (including end credits) was much appreciated, too.
    Will the lack of an ending (the thing just sort of…stops) translate to lukewarm w.o.m.?
    Loved Kidman even if there wasn’t enough of her. I thought it was delicious that she was playing an icy blonde bitch working for a fascist organization whose name just happens to be “Coulter.” Maybe the right-wingers will boycott it along with the Catholics, lol.
    It did feel a bit like a bong-toting “head trip” movie, though. I could easily picture it playing midnights at the Elgin back in 1971. Of course, Alejandro Jodorowsky would have probably more sense than Chris Weitz as director.
    The nat’l sneaks this weekend came as a bit of a surprise.

  9. Nicol D says:

    Jodorowsky…
    …hmmm…I have been waiting for that El Topo remake starring Paul Reubens…

  10. Breedlove says:

    David, I’m amazed if you really think Nicole Kidman looks the same. Her entire forehead is frozen. As someone who is a big admirer of hers in terms of her acting and her interesting film choices, as well as the fact that she is so beautiful, it’s disappointing and distracting and just seems stupid and pointless. It takes away from both her beauty and her acting ability. Also, did you get a chance to see the Stoppard show? I’d love to hear your take. Did you ever see ‘Utopia’?

  11. SJRubinstein says:

    I actually didn’t like the movie and my wife fell asleep in the screening. Did NO ONE see any camp value in Nicole Kidman slapping her tricky monkey-daemon (and, apparently, not feeling the pain herself, a bend in the rules) and then immediately hugging it as it whimpers while saying, “I’ll never let anyone harm you?”
    And a kid burst out crying in my screening when one ice bear busted the jaw off the other one and then snapped its neck. A lot of cruelty to CG animals going on (monkey strangling rat, monkey attacking cat, etc.) and I think it rattled the kiddies.

  12. David Poland says:

    Didn’t see Utopia last year… no chance to see all three and I would have been frustrated. Seeing Rock-n-Roll tomorrow.
    There is discounting going on for the next few weeks, it seems, to re-prime the pump on Broadway. Paid full price for my second shot at seeing Rock, but they opened up the premium seating (more than double the cost) for regular sale – more priming – so I am happy to have gotten these seats this late.
    Some shows not opening until next week… like The Homecoming.

  13. IClavdivs says:

    Breedlove, I thought so too until very recently, watching clips of MATW and her recent interviews and for someone with a frozen forehead, her forehead moves pretty much alright when she quirked her eyebrows or lift them but her expressions are very much there. You can see her recent interviews on Good Morning America and some of the UK ones and there is none of that frozen look at all.
    I hope to see this on Wednesday. I loved the books!

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