From Page To Screen: The Golden Compass

I recently re-read The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. You can read my full review of the book here. I had forgotten how much I liked the book! The magical world that Pullman created is spellbinding. So, I decided to re-watch the movie as well because it's been a while. I can't remember my first impressions of the movie either. The movie came out in 2007, more than a decade after the book. It's cast list is a whose-who of actors: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Ian McKellan, to name a few. So why didn't I like the movie as much as the book?

For starters, let me say that I know there have to be concessions made when it comes to turning books into films. I know that if directors tried to fit every little detail, we'd wind out with 24-hour films. I also know that what we watch on screen is the director's creative vision. And, well, sometimes it doesn't jive with what I had envisioned while reading the book.

That being said, I thought this was a poor adaptation. The movie ran around two hours long. It had a fantastic cast, but the story line seemed disjointed. I think you needed the details and background information the book provides. The director/writers tried to incorporate it, but it didn't work. Also, the writing wasn't that great either. From the beginning I could tell there would be a lot left out. And the ending, the ending was a "what the hell" moment. The movie ended in a completely different place than the book. I don't know if it's because they knew there wasn't going to be a sequel and they ended it (in their opinion) in the best possible place, or they did think there would be a sequel and thought they'd leave the rest of the story to the next movie. Either way, it sucked.

And I know up this point I've been hating on this movie, but there were some positive aspects. Like the daemon familiars. I thought they the CGI effects were really good. I also love the bears. I thought the bear fight scene was spot on. All in all, it's not a terrible movie, especially if you haven't read the books. My husband and daughter liked it a lot. But if you have read the books, you might find yourself slightly disappointed.