Reviews of The Golden Compass are going in all sorts of directions. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times gives it a four-star review, writing: "As a visual experience, it is superb. As an escapist fantasy, it is challenging." Manohla Dargis in the New York Times suggests that it's a challenge merely to keep up with the plot. "The Golden Compass is an honorable work," she writes, "but it's hampered by its fealty to the book and its madly rushed pace." Indeed, Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times suggests that compressing writer Philip Pullman's book into the confines of a two-hour movie may have been a feat in itself. "Whenever a book like The Golden Compass gets turned into a movie," he observes, "it's inevitable that the story will be simplified, characters will lose nuance and, in this case, rousing battle scenes will be emphasized and heightened at the expense of more introspective elements." As for the religious controversy surrounding it, Stephen Hunter of the Washington Post suggests that the whole project should have been vetted by Sister Mary Ignatius. "She should rap the movie across its fierce little knuckles for violations not against church Protocol but against storytellers' dogma: too many characters too fast; too much emphasis on design and effects and not enough on emotion; too many hoary Brit old pros." What has resulted, says Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Daily News is "a bloodless, effects-heavy spectacular that's devoid of magic or mental stimulation." And Kyle Smith in the New York Post sums up the movie this way. It amounts to "a sort of The Empire Strikes Harry Potter of the Caribbean."




07/12/2007