December 1, 2007

The Golden Compass

Title: The Golden Compass
Year: 2007
Cast: Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards.

Caught a sneak preview of this as well today- yup we at Apni are getting lucky that way.

The plot: Lyra is a little girl who lives in a alternate earth-style planet in an alternate universe. She is an orphan living in a university, kept there by her uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig). Interestingly, each person on the planet has a creature that lives with them 24-7: each creature, known as a demon, is more like a "familiar", whose life is somehow bound with the person's.

One day, Mrs. Stuart (Nicole Kidman) visits the university, and somehow pressures the professors into sending Lyra with her to the north. The professors are unwilling to do so, but because of Mrs. Stuart's influence with the government (and for another reason we will learn later), they let her go, but only after gifting her the golden compass- that somehow works only under Lyra's fingers to reveal to her any answers that she may seek.

Lyra is seduced by Mrs. Coulter's beauty and obvious powers- but once with her, the charm soon wears off. She realizes that Mrs. Coulter is behind the disappearances of children in the land- she is helping the magesterial government run secret experiments on children, using them as guinea pigs to test a vaccine that will separate people from their demons. Lyra is horrified and runs away, being rescued by the "Gyptians"- Gypsies of this alternate world, who are in league with Lord Asriel.

Lyra takes the help of Lorek Byrinson, a renegade white bear, and successfully rescues the kids from the gobblers (the folks who run the experiments). Lorek also wins kingship of the white bears via a fierce fight with their king.

Meanwhile, Lyra finds out that she is not an orphan- she is in fact the daughter of Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter (That is why the professors couldnt prevent Lyra from leaving with her). She wrecks' Coulter's face when defending herself, and the movie concludes with Lyra racing with her new friends to rescue Asriel from the Magisterial army. The field is left wide open for a sequel.

Pros: Nicole's vamp act, Dakota's precociousness.
Cons: It appears that the director used sets from Narnia(2006), and even bought 50% of the costumes from the older movie. The conclusion is somehow not satisfactory- leaves one feeling somewhat bereft.
Not to miss: Lorek's fight with the king of the White Bears.

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