3.5 out of 5 statrs (Above Average)
Note: The Golden Compass was the first in a planned trilogy based on the “Dark Materials” book series. However, due to lower-than-expected box office (check here for those exact numbers) and mixed reactions from critics and fans alike, the trilogy was cancelled.
Lyra, (Dakota Blue Richards), is an orphan girl who never does what she is told. She lives in a place called Jordan College with a bunch of scholars. Did I mention that in this universe everyone has a daemon (animal) who represents his or her soul?
When she and her daemon Pan (voice of Freddie Highmore) sneak into the Master’s office, she hears a meeting concerning her uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig). He is going to the North, where people have been disappearing for quite some time. People called Gobblers have been taking children and making their free will vanish. When her uncle finds her hiding in the room, Lyra asks to go to the North with him, but her request is rudely dismissed.
Lyra’s luck changes when she meets Marisa Coulter (Nicole Kidman), a young woman who is going to the North. Marissa is clueless to the fact that the master has given Lyra a Golden Compass, a device which will tell the holder the truth. She asks to take Lyra with her on her journey.
Marissa’s daemon, a monkey, discovers the compass, causing Lyra to flee. She is saved by Gyptians, whose children have been disappearing more often than others. Lyra decides to rescue the missing kids and, if possible, the world. Her adventure takes her through cold winds, to mean polar bears, protective armored bears and lots of other dangerous events.
There has been a lot of discussion about how this movie and its author, Philip Pullman, are against God. I was curious to see it because it looked like an adventure movie to me. I did get a little freaked out from some frightening and extremely loud scenes. I didn’t, however, hear them speak about the Holy Lord once in the movie. There may have been some similarities to the church of the past, but if my mom hadn’t gotten a bunch of emails I don’t think we would have been looking for that, or seen the connection. It was very different from the comedies I’ve seen lately, and I liked it.
This movie is PG-13 for fantasy violence, meaning numerous daemons attacking each other and numerous animals afflicting damage on each other and property. It didn’t scare my sister, but it was loud and there was animal violence and a few jump scenes, and one really gory scene in the middle. When I interviewed a family who took their 3-year old to see the film, he wasn’t unnerved by the loud scenes, and he was probably clueless to the God connection. I wouldn’t recommend this to your kids unless they’re brave.