My husband and I watched The Golden Compass last weekend. Disclaimer: I'm not a scholar of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. I read The Golden Compass and liked it well enough; I started The Subtle Knife and abandoned it (if I recall correctly, its agenda was too obvious); I never bothered with The Amber Spyglass. I didn't have high expectations for the movie version of Compass, either, all of which may explain why I liked it as much as I did (and more than the first Narnia movie). I'm actually disappointed that the sequels to the movie will probably never be made.
Here's what I liked:
- The casting. Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra and Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter were perfect, as was Sam Elliot as Lee Scoresby.
- The concept of daemons. This is what I remembered best from the book. In case you haven't read it, or seen the movie, your daemon is an animal manifestation of your soul (there's more, obviously, but that'll do). I spent the first part of the movie deciding what I would like my daemon to be, and had just settled on a hare when Lee Scoresby showed up with Hester. What would your daemon be?
- The panserbjorne. I'm not ordinarily a fan of CGI animals, especially ones that talk, but I liked the armored bears, too. I do wish we could have seen Iorek Byrnison making his own armor, or at least putting it on: I'm always interested in how people (and polar bears, apparently) dress their parts.
- Lyra's knit cap. If the knitwear in this movie doesn't inspire me to learn to knit (preferably by Christmas), then nothing will. There's even a pattern available here.
Have you seen it yet?