Despite the intriguing previews, I've been avoiding The Golden Compass. I'll admit that I got caught up in the controversy surrounding this film; I was put off by what I heard but I really didn't give it much thought beyond that. See, I was off the hook because kiddo didn't want to see the movie anyway, hence I didn't have to do any research into it.
On the other hand, I've heard so many good things about Philip Pullman's books (the series is called His Dark Materials) from other bloggers, and I really think I'd like them if I read them.
*** The Movie ***
Last week kiddo and I saw a another preview for The Golden Compass on DVD we both decided we wanted to watch it. So we did. Here's a preview for you, in case you haven't seen it yet:
I have to say I really enjoyed it. The world created in the movie was fascinating and unique. Being a huge Fantasy lover like I am, encountering a complete and original world was a bonus for me.
Kiddo liked it too but he wasn't as into it I expected (unlike this other movie). Several times he got up to play with his Legos, although he continued to watch the show while he played. I think it was a bit over his head in parts. And since I didn't know the story I couldn't explain it to him along the way.
Kiddo had a hard time understanding the Magisterium. I tried to explain it as a group of people being in charge of the world. Those people are making rules for everyone else to follow that aren't good rules, rules that give more power to the people in charge. I'm not sure I did a good enough job with my explanation, but not having read the book - and having to explain based on only the first 30 minutes of the movie - I didn't have a lot to go on.
During the movie kiddo really liked the idea of the animal "friends" (as he called them). But when we discussed the movie later that night he said that people's souls living in animals was "weird". He couldn't articulate his thoughts any better than that but I got the distinct impression that it just didn't "feel" right to him.
I very much enjoyed the movie, but I don't think it was a great one in kiddo's opinion. There are some things that bother me about the direction (I've heard) that books take though. What it comes down to is that I'm going to have to read all the books in His Dark Materials series. I can't make a decision about it's "appropriateness" without doing that.
*** An "Expert" Opinion ***
A friend of mine interviewed Philip Pullman and presented a paper in grad school on the religious themes in his books. Since I'd consider her an expert I decided to ask her about the books from a Christian perspective. Oh, did I mention that her husband is a pastor? I'd say her opinion is an educated one. :) Here are some excerpts from the email she sent me:
It can certainly be read as an anti-christian challenge of God. But i think most people get more upset about the crazy stuff that the atheist author says in interviews than what's actually represented in the text. He IS an atheist, who has said some INSANE things and who believes that Christianity is a vile "opiate of the masses." But his trilogy can be read multiple ways - just like The Gospel According to Harry Potter). [Heather's note: Don't you just LOVE a friend who turns you on to MORE books?! And for the record, I have NO objections to the Harry Potter books.]does contain witchcraft which scripture says we should avoid but simultaneously presents many christian attributes, like salvation, love, etc. (see Connie Neal's
Pullman does not get into the challenging of the Authority until the end of the 2nd book. ... The Authority is only called God ONCE in ... the 3rd book. The Authority is also called the government, the king, the education system, etc. Pullman specifically challenges all Authority, not just that of organized religion. Many readers focus on the religious aspects of the Authority because a character in the 2nd book, Mary Malone, is a disillusioned nun who becomes interested in researching dust. I read them several years ago ... and I thought of Lyra & Mary Malone as Martin Luther - challenging the corrupt medievalI really appreciate her input on this. Based on what I now know, I will definitely read the books BEFORE watching the next movie. I think that's the best way to be able to answer kiddo's questions and understand for myself what this series is all about. Besides, I think I liked it more than he did anyway. until the Catholic Church itself underwent a counter-reformation. Now if i re-read it today after hearing all of the hoopla since the movie came out, I may see it differently because I'd be looking specifically at the religious aspects of the book to see if his critics are correct. But I didn't see that much of a challenge years ago when I read it.
I REALLY enjoyed the movie of The Golden Compass and will definitely watch it again. I can't wait to read the books!