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Donnie Darko
The good: fantastic casting, great production design, great visual FX, great acting, and they even did a good job of reworking the anti-church themes into something that was more against authoritarianism in general.

The bad: the film relied on cheesey exposition, including a voice-over at the beginning which removed the audience's ability to discover things without having them literally spelled out for them. Key moments which would have raised the stakes for the characters were also omitted in order to make the film shorter.
Supposedly the director shot a ton of additional material which would have made it closer to the book, but New Line mandated the film be under 2 hours and so all that extra substance had to go.

It's actually not a bad picture on its own, there are a lot of very exciting and entertaining moments. Nicole Kidman is fantastic, as is the rest of the cast. But if you're as big of a fan of the books as I am, then you're probably going to be disappointed with this Cliff's Notes adaptation of Pulmann's amazing novel.

Thankfully the progressive themes of the book are still there though. The film champions children and their tendency towards free inquiry and independent behaviour, and skewers authoritarianism's (and religion's) doctrine of submission of the will to a higher "authority". It's apparent that when the Magisterium's characters are speaking about "dust", that dust is a metaphor for the biblical concept of original sin. Hopefully the sequels will be given more legs and more time than The Golden Compass has been alotted, as I'd really like to see these incredible stories fully realized on screen.
Nymphadora
The following is an email about "Golden Compass" that has been sent to me THREE times. This movie is receiving quite a bashing in the Bible Belt.

The email:

"The atheists have brought their teachings into our schools, work places and our television sets. The growing idea for many atheists is to convert people to their way of thinking. On December 7th, 2007 the movie, “The Golden Compass,” will make its mark too, as the author of the series of books put it, “to kill God in the hearts of our children.” The Golden Compass, or The Northern Lights in the UK, is part of a trilogy of books written by Phillip Pullman, a devout atheist. These books are written to show, in his words, “the other side of the picture.” The trilogy entitled, His Dark Materials, ends up with the two main characters finding God as a fraud. “The Authority,” is the name given to God in the books and in the last book, The Amber Spyglass, found to be a senile, old, decrepit man that is carried away by the winds after his death. Our plea is for God-fearing people to make a stand and not allow this movie to prosper.

We ask you to help us by doing two things:

1) Forward this e-mail to everyone in your address book and let all be informed and

2) We invite you to join us, not in a loud demonstration, but in a silent movie theatre. The weekend of December 7, 2007, we are encouraging all Christians to boycott all movies at your local theatre. We are asking that for the entire weekend (Dec. 7-9), you not attend, rent, or purchase any movies. Hollywood understands one thing for sure: “If it makes money, we’ll do it”. We, as a body of believers, can show Hollywood that although we are quiet, we still have a strong voice. My hope is that we will let the silence in the theatres be deafening to the producers, actors, sponsors, and supporters of movies like “The Golden Compass.”

On December 7th, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and began the events of World War II for our country. I find it ironic that this movie will be released on the same day. If this movie succeeds, the second movie is ready to be produced and the atheistic teaching will continue to infect our children! I pray that we will, as a body of believers, let our voices be heard. God needs us to be His voice and speak out boldly!"


One of the people who passed this email to me was the Vice Principal of the school. They sent emails against Harry Potter also. I sent a reply email that I am against the banning and censorship of books. I will probably be fired.





speedle
Are you serious!?? Get fired over an opinion about a movie, or even having an opinion that banning movies based on opinion? Wow, I hope you're wrong, that would be awful.
Donnie Darko
Did you mention to them that the person who wrote that email is a liar? Pullman never said he wanted "to kill God in the hearts of our children". That makes the author of that letter instantly less moral than Philip Pullman.

Ironically the authors of that letter sound quite a bit like the film's "Magisterium", who are hell-bent on stamping out alternative viewpoints and heretical ideas. Where were these deeply concerned individuals in 1996 when The Golden Compass became an award winning best seller and got put on every library shelf in America? Where were they when Pulmann's work was endorsed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and numerous other British theologians? I suspect whatever the authors of that letter were up to at the time, it didn't involve reading books.

The books advocate free inquiry, tolerance, loyalty, honesty and sticking to one's convictions regardless of their popularity. I think those are all very moral things to advocate, certainly far more moral than trying to extinguish works of fiction by spreading falsehoods via email.

Does anyone remember the time Atheists engaged in a breathless and dishonest email writing campaign designed to discourage the American public from viewing Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ"? Neither do I.
Absomphe
QUOTE(Nymphadora @ Dec 8 2007, 04:21 PM) *

I will probably be fired.


If you're actually serious, tell me there's at least a teacher's union in your neck of the deep woods, for cryin' out loud…otherwise (and I certainly understand why you're still there) you really need to consider moving, and giving yourself (and your career) a chance in the real world.
traineraz
Nymph, I suggest you keep copies of this and any other emails coming from your colleagues/superiors; if you can pull up the anti-Potter and such, I'd print and keep those as well. If needed, you may have a case for a creation of a hostile work environment.

DD, from your review, I had settled on "wait for Director's Cut" release on DVD. But with the little email campaign, I may have to cough up the cash to see it in the theater.

Feh.
Donnie Darko
I hear ya. With all the hysteria, it somehow makes the movie seem better than it is. The movie is still good and entertaining, and worth the price of admission, but it's just too rushed and condensed when compared to the book. Not sure why they made it so short, Narnia, the 1st Harry Potter and Fellowship of the Ring were all at least 20 minutes longer.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 8 2007, 08:30 PM) *

Did you mention to them that the person who wrote that email is a liar? Pulmann never said he wanted "to kill God in the hearts of our children". That makes the author of that letter instantly less moral than Philip Pulmann.


He might not have said it in those exact words, but he did say "My books are about killing God." in 2003 and in 2001 that he was "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."

Not that I care. I'm agnostic anyway. Just disseminating the facts.
Nymphadora
Speedle, I'm completely serious. Separation of church and state has not happened in my neck of the woods. The math teacher at my previous school in the area told her students they shouldn't decorate for Halloween because it was "Satan's Holiday". She also berated her students for drawing peace symbols and wearing peace symbols because it was a "satanic symbol".

When I say I live in a Baptist Concentration Camp, I AM NOT KIDDING. It's fucking surreal.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Dec 9 2007, 10:54 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 8 2007, 08:30 PM) *

Did you mention to them that the person who wrote that email is a liar? Pulmann never said he wanted "to kill God in the hearts of our children". That makes the author of that letter instantly less moral than Philip Pulmann.


He might not have said it in those exact words, but he did say "My books are about killing God." in 2003 and in 2001 that he was "trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief."


He did say that in this Washington Post interview link. In any case, writing a fictional plot about killing God is no more "killing god in the hearts of children" than a violent video game is encouraging children to commit actual murder.

I like his response to someone who wrote him a letter accusing him of promoting Satanism:
QUOTE
"My response to that was: 'You haven't read the whole story yet. You wait and see what happens in the third book. If you find that you inadvertently become a Satanist, you can write to the publisher and get your money back.' "


I'd be curious to hear from any children who have read the books that decided to become atheists upon completing them. Not that there would be anything wrong with that, but I just don't see what the upset is over. When kids read Greek Mythology in high school do they go home and sacrifice their cat to Zeus?

Nymphadora, I have 4 letters for you. ACLU. Or contact Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and they can advise you as to what to do should your job become in jeopardy
sixela
QUOTE(Nymphadora @ Dec 9 2007, 01:21 AM) *

God-fearing people

Uhm - I'd suggest "God-fearing" people to actually read the New Testament. Perhaps the concept of a God of Love might enter their pea-sized brain.

Donnie Darko
Spoken like a true monotheistic Cylon….he he he.

That's actually one reason why Pullman received approval from the Archbishop of Canterbury and some UK theologians. They felt his work did away with the cruel Old Testament God and promoted values that are in line with current Anglican doctrine.
Shabba53
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 9 2007, 03:15 PM) *

I like his response to someone who wrote him a letter accusing him of promoting Satanism:

You're preaching to the choir. Like I said, I don't think he's doing anything wrong at all.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Shabba53 @ Dec 9 2007, 05:01 PM) *

You're preaching to the choir.


Yeah, Satan's choir. evill.gif
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 9 2007, 09:46 PM) *

That's actually one reason why Pullman received approval from the Archbishop of Canterbury and some UK theologians. They felt his work did away with the cruel Old Testament God and promoted values that are in line with current Anglican doctrine.


Uncanny…

At school you have to select what kind of religious education classes your children get.

One of the choices was "Anglican", and I had a hard time resisting the urge to select that (which would have required a different teacher just for my two sons) instead of "Roman Catholic". Trouble is, it's darn hard to find an Anglican church in the 'hood.


Donnie Darko
I'm not exactly sure what the difference is between the two in terms of how they characterize God, though I do understand the differences in rules between the two (thanks Henry VIII).

Incidentally, isn't church the place for "religious education"? I attended a religious school up until I was 13 and as far as I could tell the religious part of it was fairly redundant of what they would tell us in church.
absinthist
All in all, is the movie worth watching, or wait for the Director's Cut?
Donnie Darko
It is worth watching, the entertainment value of it is pretty good and the story/events are pretty original for a fantasy movie, but don't expect to be blown away. I'm not sure what they'd consider a "director's cut", as the last 3 chapters of the book were filmed but saved for the sequel. If they decide a sequel is not viable, then that stuff might end up in the director's cut.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 10 2007, 02:03 PM) *

Incidentally, isn't church the place for "religious education"?

In Belgium, there are a couple of hours per week of "moral" education in all schools. You can pick any of the state-recognised rites or one non-confessional equivalent under the law:

1. Anglican
2. Islamic
3. Israelitic
4. Roman Catholic
5. Orthodox
6. Protestant
7. "Free-thinking", which is theoretically non-confessional in nature but in practice frequently atheist (because of the personal belief system of teachers), supposedly anti-clerical but just as much a religion (with dogmas, an organised hierarchy determining what's orthodox, etc.).

It's always amused me to see that when you're a "free thinker", it's absolutely forbidden to think some things wink.gif.

In theory, any philosophy or religion with enough members (but the bar is set to tens of thousands -- the state sponsors these confessions, pays for buildings, gives people salaries, etc.) and a representative body can apply to become a state-recognised rite.

The protestants have quite a fight to get all the members of their representative organ agree on what should be taught (given they're all lumped into one bin, which includes moderate Lutherans and rabid bible-throwing imports from the US).

The Islamic representative organ is one big farce for the moment, with members frequently lining their own pockets and trying to push their private agenda; it's more entertaining watching them flog each other than to watch a Brazilian soap. They manage to throw much more mud at each other than the protestants do, and the fiscal authorities have frozen some of their assets for the moment until they sort out some of the mess.

The buddhists are so pissed off by the rabid anti-clerical and decidedly atheist vein of the non-confessional teaching that they're considering applying for recognition as a state-recognised rite.
Donnie Darko
The problem with the Belgian system, at least as it appears to me, is that it is not religious education so much as religious advocacy (misnamed "moral" education), and it seems that classes are aimed at teaching one belief system to the exclusion of others. Not something I'd want my tax dollars paying for, and hardly a way to educate children about religion or morality in general. We shouldn't be telling children what to believe, but rather we should enable them to choose freely what beliefs suit them best by giving them the information necessary to do so. Why not just teach one year-long class called religion which provides an overview of most popular religions, their history and creeds? It would save money and I assume wouldn't ruffle so many feathers. I guess that's the "free-thinker" in me talking.

QUOTE
The buddhists are so pissed off by the rabid anti-clerical and decidedly atheist vein of the non-confessional teaching


That's funny because Buddhism is not nearly as clerical as western faiths and is far more atheistic than other religions. Come to think of it, a "pissed off" Buddhist is not something I think I've seen too often…

Also, when you say "rabid" anti-clerical, what do you mean by characterizing them as "rabid"? Do they fly into a frothy rage every time clergy is mentioned, or do they just have low opinions of religious clergy in general? Is the Orthodox class "decidedly" "rabidly" pro-clerical?

In any case, I see no need for free-thinking/atheism to be taught as a separate class either, since it's not a religion and means nothing beyond the rejection of the idea of "God" as presented in Western theology. A better suited class would be one devoted to reading Carl Sagan's "Demon Haunted World", which would help arm students against falling prey to superstition, pseudo-science and quackery.
absinthist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 10 2007, 06:52 AM) *

It is worth watching, the entertainment value of it is pretty good and the story/events are pretty original for a fantasy movie, but don't expect to be blown away.


You know my taste-hence, it is being downloaded if the transfer suxx. Once I get it I shall come with short review.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 10 2007, 05:20 PM) *

The problem with the Belgian system, at least as it appears to me, is that it is not religious education so much as religious advocacy (misnamed "moral" education), and it seems that classes are aimed at teaching one belief system to the exclusion of others.


You got that right. The trouble is that the non-confessional choice should have been neutral, but a system that fosters the non-confessional people to organise stuff into their own rites (they even have a competing "spring rite" for children whose classmates get their first communion in the Other Rite) and dogmas means that that well gets polluted after some time as well.

QUOTE

Do they fly into a frothy rage every time clergy is mentioned,

Yes. And of course, religion is the root of all evil, mere opium for the masses, reserved for the truly stupid and unenlightened. I forgot: the Pope is Satan, even though the latter doesn't exist.

You see, "free-thinkers" have rite envy. They're jealous of all the perks the Roman Catholics have (churches and stuff), jealous of the power of the Catholic social networks (with unions, schools, the listening ear of the largest political party in Flanders, etc.) so they try to infiltrate the two other main parties and hold fancy parties in masonic lodges.

Agonal mimetism.

http://www.uvv.be/uvv5/indexnew.html if you want to go and roam their web. It's certainly better organised than a loose band of people who share only the mere rejection of the notion of God.
thegreenimp
I just want to know how they got Kate Bush to record a song for the movie in only ten days.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Dec 10 2007, 06:49 PM) *

http://www.uvv.be/uvv5/indexnew.html if you want to go and roam their web. It's certainly better organised than a loose band of people who share only the mere rejection of the notion of God.


See the can of worms that state-funded religion opens? If you give one group money, then everybody else gets to feel all disenfranchised and oppressed and whines about it.

After reading their website, I don't see anything rabid or envious in it (though plenty that is incredibly banal, tedious and legalistic), but perhaps that's just how it comes across on paper, and the actual people really are as nasty as you make them sound.

In my 11th grade public school, school prayer was a big issue and a bunch of students wanted to have student-led prayer, and one student gave a presentation in class of why we should have prayer in school. It was my assignment to present the counter-point to his view, so when it was my turn, I got up and read some prayer from the Satanic Bible asking Satan to smite my enemies. Those in the class who wanted student-led prayer weren't so gung-ho about it after that.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(thegreenimp @ Dec 10 2007, 07:01 PM) *

I just want to know how they got Kate Bush to record a song for the movie in only ten days.


I normally like her, but that song sucked. Sounded like she wrote it in 3 minutes.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 11 2007, 05:17 AM) *

and the actual people really are as nasty as you make them sound.


Of course they aren't, at least not all of them -- many in these organisations have noble motives. But as a lobbying group they suck rocks through a bent straw, just like the Catholic Church often does.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 11 2007, 05:17 AM) *

See the can of worms that state-funded religion opens? If you give one group money, then everybody else gets to feel all disenfranchised and oppressed and whines about it.


Of course. Whining is a core competency of the Belgians.

It doesn't only have disadvantages. The state does get some control over state-funded rites, if only because they also hold some strings to the purse.

We haven't invented this, by the way. Napoleon has.
thegreenimp
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 10 2007, 10:19 PM) *

QUOTE(thegreenimp @ Dec 10 2007, 07:01 PM) *

I just want to know how they got Kate Bush to record a song for the movie in only ten days.


I normally like her, but that song sucked. Sounded like she wrote it in 3 minutes.


For a song made to be played over the credits, it's not awful.

That being said, I passed buying it on i-Tunes, because New Line Productions requires you to purchase the entire soundtrack to get the song.

Another brilliant move by the industry.
Donnie Darko
New Line are a bunch of clueless assholes. People I know who have worked for them have had nothing but negative things to say about working for them.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Dec 11 2007, 02:29 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 11 2007, 05:17 AM) *

and the actual people really are as nasty as you make them sound.


Of course they aren't, at least not all of them -- many in these organisations have noble motives. But as a lobbying group they suck rocks through a bent straw, just like the Catholic Church often does.


It appears the problem with the whole "free-thinker" lobby and class in that school is that it does not present a workable alternative to all the theological lobbies. Saying "the theological lobbies are wrong" is not in and of itself a belief system, it's only a rebellion lacking an alternative methodology.

They do themselves a real disservice, as they could be presenting a tangible alternate belief system of scientific inquiry. Science is a truly workable alternative to the claims presented by those theologies. Just as those theologies attempt to (hopefully) humbly interrogate "God" and present its findings as explanations for our origins and our future, so does science humbly interrogate Nature and present its findings as explanations for our origins and our future. The difference of course is that one of them has a superior method of inquiry, and thus a much better track record of accuracy in its discoveries about the past and predictions about the future.

I guess that's all neither here nor there though in terms of the topic. Christian groups that protested The Golden Compass are already claiming victory, given the $26 million the film took in during its opening weekend (New Line had predicted $30-40 million). I guess it's not possible in the protesters' collective mind that the movie didn't earn as much as anticipated for any reason other than the relatively tiny Christian protests.

I'm not sure why New Line hoped His Dark Materials Trilogy would be a money printing franchise, as its built-in audience is significantly smaller than either Naria or Lord of the Rings, and it doesn't have near the popularity or exposure of the Harry Potter books. I was hard pressed to find many people who were familiar with the trilogy before the movie, whereas practically everyone was familiar with Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter before the films came out.
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 11 2007, 05:19 PM) *

Science is a truly workable alternative to the claims presented by those theologies.

That's an 18th century view of things (and an illusion destroyed by purely secular philosophy since then). Unfortunately, it's also incorrect. Science is reductionist in nature and is unconcerned with unfalsifiable claims, and any metaphysical claims (by definition) are.

At least use "Reason" rather than science; that way you'll be parroting 18th century views more accurately wink.gif.

QUOTE
so does science humbly interrogate Nature and present its findings as explanations for our origins and our future.

Science doesn't explain our origins. It models nature, but I have yet to find anything that explains why there is a universe, especially one like ours - even multiverses are elegant (but unscientific, given that, also by definition, their existence is an unfalsifiable claim) models but they still don't tell you why there's a multiverse instead of absolutely nothing.

QUOTE
I guess it's not possible in the protesters' collective mind that the movie didn't earn as much as anticipated for any reason other than the relatively tiny Christian protests.

Cognitive dissonance is resolved easily this way, so why bother thinking?
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(sixela @ Dec 12 2007, 06:06 AM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 11 2007, 05:19 PM) *

Science is a truly workable alternative to the claims presented by those theologies.

That's an 18th century view of things (and an illusion destroyed by purely secular philosophy since then). Unfortunately, it's also incorrect. Science is reductionist in nature and is unconcerned with unfalsifiable claims, and any metaphysical claims (by definition) are.


Science is unconcerned with unfalsifiable claims, but that doesn't mean unfalsifiable claims inhabit some alternate realm that exempts them from having to justify themselves with evidence and reason. Is it more reasonable to believe today's universe was created by a magic metaphysical entity or a physical process?

Religion is not just some metaphysical philosophy either. What about all the physical claims made by religion? Is the resurrection not physical? Are reported miracles not physical? Was the talking burning bush and the powers of the ark of the covenant not physical? Was the parting of the Red Sea not physical? Were the plagues not physical? Was water not turned into wine? Is the predicted armageddon not going to be physical?
Those are tales of magic and fantasy, and they do not make themselves into truth simply by conveniently exempting themselves from the rules of empirical scrutiny.

QUOTE
Science doesn't explain our origins.


They're working on it though, and filling the gaps in our knowledge regarding our origins at a rapid pace. In contrast, the passing on of a hearsay of a hearsay from a 2000 year old credulous and illiterate populace hardly qualifies as a legitimate way to explain our origins.

QUOTE
It models nature, but I have yet to find anything that explains why there is a universe, especially one like ours.


The operative word in that sentence is "yet". Just because our extraordinarily young science has not yet explained why there is a universe does not mean that question will forever lay outside the realm of scientific inquiry. I urge patience among those eager to rush and reach a metaphysical conclusion, as proper scientific inquiry does take quite a bit of time.

I do agree with your point regarding multiverses though, and those still hotly debated realms of cosmological theory in my opinion do drift far off into mostly untestable speculation, but at least they have their foundation in mathematics and certain observable phenomena (to be fair, in the days of Newton, the Christian theory of our origins had a rudimentary foundation in mathematics and observable phenomena). To get the right answer, sometimes it is necessary to explore all sorts of wrong answers in intricate detail first. Hawking may be a genius, but that does not mean he is always correct. Cosmology is in its embryonic stage as far as I'm concerned, and adolescence will likely not be reached until inter-galactic travel by humans is possible. The red doppler shift in my opinion does provide good evidence for an ever-expanding universe, but beyond that, cosmology is lost on me.

I hope none of this implies any sort of harsh judgment against those who do believe, that is not my intent nor my true feelings. I don't think believers are delusional fools. Many devout believers have brilliant minds (evolutionary biologist Ken Miller comes to mind). I do think, however, that those beliefs are not exempt from scientific scrutiny just because they invoke the metaphysics get-out-of-jail free card. I forget who said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", but they were right.
traineraz
QUOTE(sixela @ Dec 12 2007, 03:06 AM) *

QUOTE
so does science humbly interrogate Nature and present its findings as explanations for our origins and our future.

Science doesn't explain our origins. It models nature, but I have yet to find anything that explains why there is a universe, especially one like ours - even multiverses are elegant (but unscientific, given that, also by definition, their existence is an unfalsifiable claim) models but they still don't tell you why there's a multiverse instead of absolutely nothing.

I've yet to see a religion which explains our origins.

Making up a story about a deity is not an explanation, as the genesis of that deity is never adequately explained. "Our god always was and always will be" is not an answer, it's a cop-out.
Donnie Darko
It's also a downward spiral. The argument of a creator designing everything has the underlying assumption that for things to be as complex and intricately balanced as they are, that would require a designer. Well that creator must be even more incredibly complex and intricate to do something like create the entire fucking universe, so that means the creator must have a designer, so where is the creator's designer? Ad infinitum….
Nymphadora
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 10 2007, 08:17 PM) *


In my 11th grade public school, school prayer was a big issue and a bunch of students wanted to have student-led prayer, and one student gave a presentation in class of why we should have prayer in school. It was my assignment to present the counter-point to his view, so when it was my turn, I got up and read some prayer from the Satanic Bible asking Satan to smite my enemies. Those in the class who wanted student-led prayer weren't so gung-ho about it after that.


heart.gif

DD, you just made me spit tea out of my nose.

Unfortunately, such a counter-point would not have been allowed in my neighborhood. You would have been jumped in the hallway, and the staff would have looked the other way, or claim to be occupied or unaware of the incident at the time.
G&C
The Christian Way.
The Standard Deviant
Yes, turn the other cheek.
Donnie Darko
I think in Nymphadora's instance they may have gotten confused, and took it upon themselves to turn the person's cheek for them…with their fist.

Hey, at least those in her area have progressed from 11th century tactics of conversion by the sword to 17th century tactics of conversion by the fist. I'm looking forward to the year 2100 when news of the Age of Englightenment reaches their area.

Given their expected reaction to the jest of reading a Satanic prayer (the entire "religion" of Satanism itself being a pathetic joke), I hate to think about how they might have reacted if they dared read Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason". That damned heretic, while being a big reason why we have America, is practically a Satanist, since he said the Bible is just another man-made book and has lots of flaws.
absinthist
The unneeded background information was definitely unneeded. Absinthe was spilt, but so far the film seems to be quite a nice piece of cinematography, if I am sure the book is much better. When I finish watching, I will be back with other comments.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(absinthist @ Dec 13 2007, 12:00 PM) *

The unneeded background information was definitely unneeded.


You can say that again, again. Why don't popular movies allow the viewer to discover things on their own anymore? I've seen it happen time and time again where the film resorts to voice-over or rewrites or bad ADR or poorly done "flashback" sequences to literally TELL the audience what is going on. Hardly what I would consider engaging storytelling.

This seems to be a recent trend which has developed over the last 10-15 years or so. When you compare cinema now to cinema from the 70s you'd think the studios believe audiences are 50% stupider than they used to be.

Pullman appears to be indifferent to what the studio did with the film, he said they could have made Lyra a boy and Iroek a dog for all he cared, but one only has to read the book to notice Philip Pullman didn't think the audience needed to be told in the first two minutes what Daemons were and that there are multiple parallel worlds (which isn't fully revealed until the SECOND book!). I realize movies and books are different, but one can adapt the book to a film faithfully and have a fantastic film, like No Country for Old Men (the best adaptation of a novel I can think of).
traineraz
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 13 2007, 09:11 AM) *

This seems to be a recent trend which has developed over the last 10-15 years or so. When you compare cinema now to cinema from the 70s you'd think the studios believe audiences are 50% stupider than they used to be.

That's a generous statement, if ever I heard one.
absinthist
That trend is bad one, indeed.

Costumes were great, so were zeppelins, surroundings and landscapes. Too much predictions, though and at times very "Narnia"/"Harry Potter"/"La Cité des enfants perdus"/"The Island" alike. Marvellous idea with animals and lots of fun watching them. I believe, I have seen Peter the Bunny somewhere (00:49?).

The motive of quest, journey to find out/destroy something following the schemata: mystery-who is really who-final battle, very splendid one, of course, has been played so many a time that it might be boring.

However, the film was entertaining enough not be turned off after the first hour. I liked it. "Ratatouille" is not endangered, it is still the best film of the year.

The aforementioned Authority and his Magisterium are so closely resembling someone that I have no need for telling as it is so obvious evill.gif .

Also, coming back to the film itself, it rather oscillates around the conflict between children's world and adults' world, so the whole alleged anti-Catholic rhetoric is just bullshit to me. In fact, it is a quite a nice fantasy film, not a documentary or what.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(absinthist @ Dec 13 2007, 02:35 PM) *

"Ratatouille" is not endangered, it is still the best film of the year.


I agree. Pretty amazing how they get a larger range of emotive expression out of cartoons these days than you can get out of real people.
absinthist
And Remy's story was not neither predictable nor exposed to the public in the very first minutes, one had to PTFA while watching and there was no final battle between the Good™ and the Evil™ for the thousandth time, just a nice ending full of joy, fun and making us think about the whole story once again, from the perspective of the rat, not human.
Donnie Darko
Those Pixar guys should be the envy of every filmmaker. Not all films have to be so easily accessible as their movies are, but every one of their films is high quality through and through with no evident compromises and no evident dumbing down for their audiences, and their target audience is as mainstream as you can get.

They don't focus group screen their films, and Disney isn't allowed to veto their decisions. I can't wait for Wall-E…
Flasheart
QUOTE(Nymphadora @ Dec 9 2007, 09:21 AM) *

The Golden Compass, or The Northern Lights in the UK, is part of a trilogy of books written by Phillip Pullman, a devout atheist.


How can someone be a "Devout atheist?" Oh yes, I'm totaly devoted to non-belief! All this bitching just gets the movie that much more attention!
sixela
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Dec 13 2007, 06:11 PM) *

the film resorts to voice-over or rewrites or bad ADR or poorly done "flashback" sequences to literally TELL the audience what is going on.

Sometimes these sequences can kick ass, though. I thought the opening sequence of the LOTR trilogy by Jackson was pretty awesome, and kinder on the audience than subjecting them to the whole of the Silmarillion.

It does help that the voice-over is by Cate Blanchett, too. I think only she should be allowed to do voice-overs.
Donnie Darko
I am in complete agreement. I think VO is ok for explaining non-apparent history in the film, but not OK for expositing emotion or things about the world of the film which are apparent to anyone willing to look.

But as long as Cate Blanchett does it than she could be reciting Tennis scores and I'd think it was fantastic.
traineraz
I've not read the books -- I pretty much went into the movie cold, not knowing much of the plot or anything. I didn't find the initial voiceover to be distracting or excessive; instead, it brought me up to speed right away so the two-hour movie didn't have to be three.

I could definitely see that the Magisterium was an analogy for organized religions which suppress the human spirit of inquiry, but also a generalized authority. I don't know if the books are less subtle. It makes sense that religionists would feel somewhat threatened, though it's no DaVinci Codpiece or anything like that. The use of "daemons" and "good witches" (missing their bubbles) would also be an issue for most religionists, and those swarthy gypsies (sorry, "Gyptians") as heroes could be a problem for closet white supremacists.

Beautiful movie, and Nicole looked great, as always . . .
sixela
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