Post by Stephen DeMay
Have not recently seen the film but with a major ( think GOT ) series adapted from Bill Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials set to begin on HBO later this year I'll put up my reactions to the film version of the first book of the series, The Golden Compass
The primary reason TGC did not have its proposed two sequels was a failure at the U S box office much as what happened to Eragon . Opposition by the Catholic Church to an anti - religion element in the film ( which had been down played ) was a non - factor. Can't help but mention that this was the reverse of the fate of Disney's The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I had two problems with TGC ; did not like the sort of French art noveau look of the architecture and the nature of the beliefs of the powers that be was a bit wispy.
The daemons ( animal representations of a person's true nature that always accompany everybody ) and the polar bears are great but very expensive to produce.
The cast is good if not great but though the story was seen to be not as dark as it should have been it is easy to see that things had begun to go into deeper waters at film's end. Sadly the film ends without completing the first book's story line. The creators thought to leave the darker turn of things to the sequels.
If the TV series can do a good job with the cgi animals it could be classic. The trailer did not provide enough material for me to get a good feel for atmosphere.
The first season of HDM will cover the first book with the second series now in production.
TGC is a must see for any fantasy fan if only for the daemons and bears. Since the books were targeted for children/young adults the film adaptation was not as hard - hitting as it might have been in the battle to discover the truth of things. The TV series appears to take a more hard - edged approach, nevertheless TGC 7+/10 flawed but has its moments.
A Rewatch showed pretty much what I remembered . Comparison to HDM TV revaled the strong differences between the adaptations. TGC is a film aimed at younger audiences that has a fantasy/adventure feel. HDM is a solely adult epic more akin to a horror film that an adventure.
Frequently I could feel TGC is rushed along at a pace fast enough for a not too b attentve audience. Though HDM TV does at times contain unnecessary scenes and elongated character interactions I would have a revamped TV version as the best possible version.
The older ( 14 ? ) new Lyra is preferable due to her more steely look and manor. She's a creature of more gravitas. The darker TV incarnation should make the coming clashes between free will and central control more meaningful. Relationships between the children and daemons are stronger in HDM TV which provides a deeper level of emotional involvement for the viewer.
Had I the choice of having only one of the adaptations complete the books I would choose HDM TV for its longer running time and potentially stronger impact.
I'd keep my 7+/10 rating for TGC but it was not quite as good as the last three episodes of HDM TV, I preferred the emotions ripped apart approach to what would have been a less stark presentation . In the screen version the highlights are king of the bears and pan. In HDM TV the highlights are king on the bears, pan, Lyra and everything to do with the cutting of the daemons.
Was of interest to see a book presented both as adult/epic and young adult/fantasy adventure.