The Golden Compass

Golden Compass 1Last Saturday, I went to go see the movie adaptation of what is the first part in the best story of the year (except LOST’s third season), The Golden Compass. I devoured the books, loved them, hated them, and went completely along this emotional roller coaster ride through different worlds. So, with high expectations which I tried to repress, I went to go see the movie, which came out last week.

And, just like most movie adaptations of complex novels, it’s pretty much a mixed bag. This is one of those rare occasions where I would wish that they had shown us less plotline, and a bit more in-depth analysis. And that is my greatest critique: the whole thing felt unbelievably rushed. Oxford! London! Ship! North! gyptians! Witches! Bears! Everything came by at the speed of light, slapping new characters and locations in your face; characters which were not always needed either (one of them wasn’t even in the first book yet). Everything came by, but nothing really stuck around – there was just too much info being told.

I reckon the creators tried to fix this problem with the thing I dread most in movie history: the one-line-in-between-of-scenes-recap. “Oh Pan, we have got to go to Bolvangar and save Roger the kitchenboy who was taken prisoner by the Gobblers which are led by Mrs. Coulter and then bring the Alethiometer – or the Golden Compass – to Lord Asriel,
who is my uncle but not really my uncle!” Oh, the horror, the horror.

And I lied, oh I lied. The above wasn’t the worst part of the movie. The part where they left out the showdown between Lord Asriel and Lyra, that’s actually quite a bit worse. And believe it if you will, it gets even more unforgiving from my side: apparently, all those parts of the movie were intended to be in it. In fact, they were shot! But hey, it’s Christmas: people don’t want no sad ending. They want a happy ending with no message, no sense, no cohones whatsoever. My AUTHORITY!

I did like the way the religious undertone of the book (which as actually not that obvious in the first part) got neutered. The only trace – a chat between Coulter and Lyra about “the authority” and “impurity” – felt like a blissful insider. Really, I don’t think I would mind if the movies stayed this way: leaving the religion as a bit of information for people who read the books. Then stupid people would have no reason to shout heresy were there is none.

I’m sorry for sounding a bit harsh – I did really like the movie. There are so many things done perfectly right. For example: the cast was simply wonderful. All of them were great actors, and Dakota (who played Lyra) simply rocked. Too bad Daniel Craig’s best scene got cut out – making you wonder what he still had to do with the plot – but when he was around, he was all about kicking ass and taking names. The daemons were credible, as well. Not astonishing, mind you – the execution of an etherial, poetic concept is always a bit dumbed down when put into movie – but still well done. Esther (Lee’s hare) was great, as was Pan, who made an exceptionally cute bobcat. The golden monkey was more like a golden collectible wookie statue, though – totally unlike the cuddly bear ready to rip out your guts, not scary at all (especially when compared to Nicole Kidman).

The bottomline: go watch this, but prepare to be annoyed. And then some more.

Ep. 20 – The man behind the curtain

Whoa. Seriously. Simply. Whoa. What was that? That thing? In the shed? Jacob? We saw him for about three seconds, and already the entire internet is filled with theories. Some say he’s Christian Shephard (a plausible these), some say he’s John Locke (wait, what?) and some say he’s John Locke with a parrot on his shoulder (ehm.)

Either way, this episode was awesome, and just like the building of the raft in season 1 or Michael’s return in season 2, you can feel the chess pieces are being set out for the season finale. I’m quite sure this will be one of the greatest episodes in the season, even though it’ll be hard to top some of the other ones like The Man from Thalahassee or Flashes before you Eyes – who scored due to integrity, if you ask me. My predictions for the finale: Jack’s a traitor, and either he’s one of the others or one of the Dharma initiative. He’s not going to lead the losties to safety. He’s leading them towards certain doom.

Also, Charlie is going to die. Either that or Claire through protecting him. Penelope should make an entrance (at least that’s what the cast list says – but then again they just might be re-using the Jack, Desmond and Penelope flashback they used in the Season 2 opening and finale. Who will tell? Anyway, the finale is Jack-centered. For a man of whom we thought we knew everything by now… it’s a pretty daring thing to put hisĀ  flashbacks – which have never been stellar since the season two opening episode – into finale material. We’ll have to see whether my hypothesis proves to be correct!

Favourite Quote: Ben: “You do remember birthdays, don’t you, Richard?”

Ep 13 – The Man From Talahassee

Well, what to say? I just couldn’t resist anymore – LOST has got me in its tight grip, and when something grips me, I just have to write something about it. Hence my new site category: LOST reviews! Every week, I will attempt to review the newest LOST episode that aired in the US. Needless to say, these things will contain spoilers – and you can hover over the blank spaces to read them.

Well, so there ya have it. The writers kept their promise, and the viewers find out why John Locke is in a wheelchair. Apparently, being thrown out of a window eight (8!) stories high can do that kind of thing to you. For me, this episode was something I was on the one hand waiting for, while on the other hand I was hoping it wouldn’t come as fast as it would. Because, well, from a writer’s perspective: the cat’s out of the bag now – we all know what happened, and Locke has no more exciting backstory to tell us. I can only hope the writers don’t decide “his time has come” – he’s my favourite character on the show and I wouldn’t want him to leave.

What we can suspect, however, and especially now that the submarine has been blown up, is that Locke will leave the beach in favour of Ben. I can feel it happening, I can know Locke and Jack are to face each other one day, standing on completely different sides. Would be nice to have Locke turn into the ultimate bad guy. Face it, he’s got all the characteristics: he’s cunning, he loves playing games (his favourite one being Mousetrap – can’t get clearer than that), he’s a great hunter, he’s got a lousy relationship with his parents, he’s basically the voice of the island and… he’s got a damn wicked grin – a very important quality for a bad guy. Seriously, Locke could set a new standard for bad guys. Ben was sweet in this episode aswell. It was nice to have him in the wheelchair: while his body may be malfunctioning, his wits are there as ever. Does he really have two gigantic hamsters powering his fridge? Maybe he pulled them out of his box? Sarcasm aside, I’m kind of curious towards the box. I hope it’s a metaphore, but I reckon it’ll be an actual box. Having Eko see Yemi and Jack see his father raised questions about whether the island can revive the dead, but I don’t see that happening. My second guess was that the monster could turn into the dead – or the dead on the island. My newest guess is: maybe they pull clones out of the box? It would surely explain how the hell Anthony Cooper ended up in that

“You speak to me as if I were your brother.” (Yemi to Eko)
…It’s not the real man from Talahassee.

Favourite Quote: Locke: “The man from Tallahassee. What is that? Some kind of code?”
Ben: “No, John. Unfortunately, we don’t have a code for ‘there’s a man in my closet with a gun to my
daughter’s head’. Although we obviously should.”

(Do people still do blogs nowadays?)