Dec 17, 2007

Someone get me a regular compass, this Golden One is broken

Ok so this season’s new mammoth fantasy epic has to do with a magical compass that says the truth, daemons which in the case of this paradigm are physical manifestations of a person’s soul and polar bears. Sounds promising, should be a blast but it ends up sucking more than a toothless Britney mouthing a beer bong.

That’s right, off the bat I’m gonna say this movie is a piece of shit and you’re better off finger banging a faerie than trying to make sense and/or enjoy this rain wreck of a movie. Before someone who enjoyed it calls mulligan or foul, lets get one thing very crystal clear: Good effect do not make a good movie. You need something called a script, something called acting, and something called editing to make a movie work. Yes there are other things you can focus on but these are three things where I think The Golden Compass failed miserably at. Where I do think it excelled is in the macro concepts of the novel (which I haven’t read) and the visual stylings. To be honest, wardrobe was very well done if you ask and Nicole Kidman looks like a million bucks quite often. Oh and there’s polar bears.

That being said, lets start with the plot. It’s your usual mysterious child whose parents suffered some tragic end gets handed some mysterious artifact that was to be handed to the right person when the time was right or when some mid upper member of some established hierarchy be it a school, a magistrate or a jedi order found it pertinent. Kinda sucks right? Ok let me tell you about something else. People in this world as mentioned above have embodied personifications of their souls, yet they have their own conscience, brain, knowledge etc. If you kill the person, the animal dies in a fantastic display of disintegration of dust because the daemons and the world is dominated distantly by cosmic dust that holds the key to the union of different universes. There’s a magistrate that doesn’t want people even talking about the dust and will do anything to stop naysayers from voicing their dissenting opinions. Oh and there’s bears. Bears you say? Yes, bears. And wait, they’re POLAR BEARS. Sounds like three different stories right? Exactly and that’s how it feels like in the movie. A mess of highly elevated concepts mixing quantum physics with METAphysics and stemming into the spiritual, jumbled with clumsy archetypes, familiar storylines and yes…. polar bears.

Being a fan of the genre, I got the feeling that someone wanted to cash in on what might probably be an excellent book. I don’t know, I haven’t read it but I can guarantee that the movie doesn’t make me want to read the book. Quite sad since I might be missing out on one hell of a read, or I might just be saving my time and employing it in much more productive ventures. I saw Stardust and loved the damn movie. Good acting, great script, some interesting twists but just very well shot or so it felt that way. Is this a testament to the talents of each author, or is it a bash to one director versus the other, the verdict is up to you. Oh and did I mention there were bears in the movie? Yeah, there are bears. And not just any type of bear, POLAR bears. This distinction gets done many times in the movie and at least in film form the Polar twist doesn’t seem like a necessary plot line except to have a battle, enter some magical animal that kids will love and give an excuse to use special effects.

Having said that, there’s also one tiny bit of an issue I’d like to address, the names. Pardon me my ignorance but I’m kind of fed up with these bullshit five syllable names that sound quaintly medieval or sufficiently English for kids to feel like some aristocratic sophisticates. If someone is a bear, it needs a name with five r’s, if it’s someone evil, it needs to sound like an evil person’s will sound. If someone is a rebel hero, that person needs the ideal name for you to say oh yeahhhhhh that’s a rebel hero name. Maybe I was just so fed up with the movie that the names just also got in the way of me trying to enjoy myself in that piece of shit film, but it just added something else for me to genuinely hate about the damn flick. Lyra Belacqua, Marisa Coulter, Lord Asriel, Iorek Bergenson…. Etc etc…. etc….. how bout Namby Fullingwellows. Yeah that’ll be my heroine, and she’ll have to face off with Mariana Finos who was once wed to Father Bechamel, eternal friend of the ice king, Fillinicus Brakadowns…. Sorry, the names seemed rather forced and again, maybe I was just over the fucking movie after about the 8th minute on, though unlike some dick critics, I stayed the whole way through so I could bitch effectively about how much the movie sucked.

Though I should finish by now, there’s also that little detail about the fucking compass. Take 27 sigils, put them in a huge bulky Polly Pocket case that’s supposed to be a compass. Give it three hands you put on different images and now… ask it whatever you want and through the sands of the universe you shall see the truth…… Right….. but I’m a dick for thinking that something that could have been endlessly more logical sucks. But guess what else, since we need some more magical beings to add to the mix, it’ll show that there’s ….. a …. (can’t bear to fucking say this bullshit)… prophecy of a little girl, a future witch that will affect the outcome of a huge war that…. Like I need to plod on through that bullshit yet again. The problem is not with the child being the messiah but the long ass route that is taken to ultimately tread familiar waters. That’s what kills me so much about the premise. It’s a huge idea and it ends up all being about a young heroine in the body of little girl that will eventually save the world with some super power that only she has with some magnificent artifact that will more than likely be destroyed in the final chapter only to be replaced by something more important, her self valor. Pardon me if I continue to make handjob gestures while retelling the movie, but it was a bit hokey to put it nicely. Again, it’s the movie not the book, maybe some day I’ll give it a shot.

And finally though…. I mentioned something about bears right. Ok, there are polar bears in the movie and in every moment they feel like a forced piece. Take the Coca Cola Polar bears, give them a troubled childhood and lots of cocaine and let them wear armor. True, one of the few memorable pieces of footage in the film has to do with bears, but it almost feels like a sidequest rather than an integral part to the plot. I blame direction and script writers for this one but who knows, maybe the book also has this part of the tale feel like something amputable.

All in all, I was able to enjoy ripping the movie a new one with my most wonderful significant other, but apart from that, the only service this movie offers is eye candy and a topic for me to bitch about.

Ok but is it worthwhile? Well if you like polar bears, you’ll find something to like. If you’re looking for the next great fantasy epic, file this below yet near to Eragon. When I see a kick ass movie I’ll let you know.

For now though, fuck polar bears, snort the cosmic dust, say hello to Lilliana Bandersnatchhound and CHEERRRSSSS wankerssssss


Chef Joker


Burst said...

I *sooooo* wanted to like this movie.

You are completely on point.


A real shame.... arghhhh. Looking forward to The Mist now, even more so after your review!


Lord Absu said...

Take the Coca Cola Polar bears, give them a troubled childhood and lots of cocaine and let them wear armor.

Dude, we should be so lucky to get something like the aforementioned premise.

Throw in some cyborg ninjas, add a heaving dollop of sweet werewolf-on-unicorn ultra-violence and much, much gratuitous female nudity and you've got the BEST motherfucking ANYTHING ever committed to film.

RestrictionsApply said...

Another great book laid to waste by cinematic "vision".
Nothing will ever be the same after Lord of the Rings...
Looking forward to Sweeny Todd, though...

Make the logo bigger said...

Although, there is hope in movie land. The new Batman looks a lot cooler than the other versions.

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