Friday, December 07, 2007

Girl with a Shiny Object

In Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass, an overstuffed and challenging (in more ways than one) fantasy adventure, newcomer Dakota Blue Richards plays Lyra Belacqua, an orphan living in a parallel universe to ours in which a dogmatic dictatorship, the Magisterium, threatens to dominate all.

After her BFF, Roger, is kidnapped, Lyra is whisked up away on a journey to the far North by the frosty Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman), a woman with a sinister agenda.

Lyra, you should know, is a plucky one. She stands up for herself and suffers no fools. She’s so free-willing, in fact, that she’s not afraid to go head to head with her uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), who can be maddeningly mysterious.

Shortly before leaving for the North, she’s given an alethiometer – a golden compass-like device which allows her to see the truth others wish to hide…and an instrument poses a threat to the Magisterium, which is secretly separating kids from their “daemons,” the animal manifestations of their souls.

Yeah – The Golden Compass is a Think Movie. One, mind you, that has stirred controversy among several Christian groups.

This particularly not religious group of one isn’t offended by its provocative ideas.

This particularly not religious group of one is more annoyed, actually, with the fact that he couldn’t help but be confused by the deep layers of allegory the movie packs into its 118 minutes.

Can someone explain the finer points of The Golden Compass to me?

Perhaps someone like say, the somewhat underused Craig, who with his piercing blue eyes and beyond attractive beard could prove reason enough for me to sit through this movie again?

But really now, it isn’t too much to ask that a movie, the first of a proposed trilogy, not waste time setting up part deux, and instead wrap itself up clearly and nicely. I’ll pardon this faux pas because I trust that in future movies, there will be more Craig – and more answers.

My Rating **1/2

Photo: New Line Cinema.

No comments: