Golden Compass Quick Review

The Golden Compass movie has finally arrived in theaters. This movie, derived from the books by Phillip Pullman, has been highly anticipated in our house. We are all fans of the books and were anxious to see the movie adaptation. Would they screw it up?


While allowance has to be made for the time-compressed format of a theatrical release, the movie adaptation left us all pretty satisfied. One should still read the books, if only to really understand the relationship between a child and their demon. While reading the book, my son was inconsolable when he found out the activities at Bolvangor. In the movie, this has lost some of its impact.

The cumbersome voice-over at the beginning was quickly forgotten as we began our two hour long dash through Lyra’s world. The movie was visually lush and the casting was spot-on. Dakota Blue Richards’ precocious performance manages to draw the attention away from such charismatic screen personalities as Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman and Sam Elliott. All cast in roles they were meant to play.

Don’t even get me started on the fantastic Ice Bears! The great armored bear, Iorek Byrnison, was neither cartoonish nor arbitrary. He was natural, menacing and regal by turns. The battle between Iorek and Ragnar was dramatic and exciting.

While there remains the shadow of the Magisterium and its mission to control the hearts and minds of the people of Lyra’s world, this is primarily Lyra’s story. It is an adventure story of great scope and wonder with plenty of thrills for everyone.