So them thare Northern L… I mean Golden Compasses!

Yeah so I watched it last night because I was interested in how they were going to adapt it for the screen. My overall verdict is that its not too bad, I mean I knew they were going to screw the plot around, and also change a few bits to fit the flow better.

Anyway it was mostly okay (and I realise that will shock people), the only thing I found really offputting in the translation from book to movieness is the change of end-point, I mean Book 1 had a good natural cliffhanger. The only reason I can think of for this is that having done the events at the end of Book 1 (which is fine, climatic and grim) some kiddies may be put off. It’ll make a good start to Film 2, but to be fair the events of Book 2 also would make a good start.

The other problem I had is a few of the casting issues. Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) is clearly not hardcore enough, I’m not quite sure who I’d have picked to play him but I always imagined him as a cross between Crowley, Gandalf and Antony Hopkins (either as van Helsing or Hannibal Lector).

Also Lee Scoresby was a bit too old in my opinion, but perhaps I should go re-read things.

Regardless of this I’ll be interested to see what happens if they’re allowed to make all three books into films, I’m wondering what kind of strange protests Film 3 will get due to its central plot-line. Also the fact that quite so much happens in Book 3, and so much of it is just damn weird will make it tricky to get into a film.

8 thoughts on “So them thare Northern L… I mean Golden Compasses!

  1. mr_jez

    Interesting review. Ta.

    I still plan to get round to watching it myself at some point!

    Lord Asriel needs a bit of an edge, I think. Richard Burton could have done it, he had the strange intensity, or maybe even the original Richard Burton, Crowley’s hero!

    And, yes, Lee Scoresby did look older than I imagined him.

    I just can’t see how they can make anything but a pig’s ear out of book three, unless they want someone to get lynched by religious fundamentalists. At a guess they’d play up Lord Asriel’s war with the Authority as some sort of ‘Rebels and Empire’ Star Wars clone, and leave out all that funny stuff about the land of the dead. We shall see…perhaps.

    1. mostlyfoo

      I think its worth a watch, although possibly best to find someone who bought it and pinch there copy, getting it free always makes films easier to watch in my opinion, if I’ve paid something (even a rental fee) I have some expectation :)

      I know what you mean on the Asriel thing, hes just far too polite and refined in this version.

      Indeed book three will be interesting, assuming they get to make it, if the people funding this venture think 2 is too boring they might just merge Books 2 and 3 and really cock things up.

      Still I have hopes that they can do something good with it, could be a series that just needs a run up, Film-3 could be epic.

    1. moradrel

      “…and we’re all going to save the day! Me, and Pan, and Roger, and Lee Scoresby, and Ioric Burnesen, and Serafina Pekalada, and all the other walk-in characters I suddenly developed an immediate and unexplainable bond too…”


      1. mostlyfoo

        The fact that the Witches got mostly written out of this one is one of the things that bugs me looking back on it, they were really rather interesting (considering that we knew practically nowt about them) since in the book at least some of them were on both sides, which is nicer to me than having everyone as good-two-shoes happy little pixies vs. the Eeeeeviiil Empire.

        p.s. did anyone else notice in the film they were dressing up the Magesterium as Italian fascists?

    2. mostlyfoo

      Yeah but that’s always the peril with child actors.

      I figure its the reason why they got some little gimp for Roger and tried to make him as cute as possible, so they could make the parents watching this with their kids giggle as they right in the first 5 minutes of Film-2

  2. didao

    Whilst I was wildly disappointed that they didnt put the bit at the end in where good old roger is ripped from his daemon (wasnt the child who played him irritating????) I can see sort of why they cut the end of the book out. It was a good stopping point for a stand alone film, I suppose.

    And yes, Lee Scoresby was far too old. I always imagine him sort of mid 30s ish.


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