mellicious: pink manicure (dragon)
[personal profile] mellicious
You know, I was a bit surprised that anybody wanted to attempt to film The Golden Compass in the first place. I mean, yeah, there's the "rousing adventure story" component - I bet they sold it with that image of Lyra riding the bear, just like the book - but there's also the difficult religious aspects, which everybody who's interested has probably already heard about in the last few weeks.

I loved the books.
(In case you didn't come from the page with the cut... there may possibly be spoilers below!)
I started writing this after [info]columbina wrote about his issues with the series (here), and it is true that the books are sort of a big old mess rhetorically, and parts of them are depressing, and some characters that you like a lot die - but I also am of the opinion that it makes a difference that he hasn't read the third book, which on the whole I thought was pretty uplifting. Although I've also talked to people who hated the ending, so maybe not. I thought the ending seemed sort of inevitable - how else could it have worked? (I'm going to put this under a cut for possible spoilers anyway, but I'm still trying to be sort of vague about the details, there, just the same. The ending isn't really what I want to talk about, anyway.)

I told one of my co-workers that the movie is not so much anti-religion as anti-organized-religion. Yes, the Magisterium is a stand-in for the Catholic Church, but the church of the movie (and book, too) is not the Catholic Church of our world, anyway - or at least not the Catholic Church of the 20th century, much less the 21st. The Catholic Church might actually like to have that much power, but they certainly don't. Total power, with hints of the Inquisition... if anything, it's the Catholic Church of several centuries ago, wouldn't you say?

Actually, my opinion is that it's a very religious book, in its way, particularly to have been written by a man who claims to be an agnostic or atheist. (I've seen places that say both... I haven't looked into it closely enough to have any real idea which of those he might come closer to being.) Yeah, I know, a war against heaven, killing god, gay angels, all that stuff. But there are angels (gay or not), and it's really the "Authority" that they kill - he is most people's idea of God, yeah, but he's pretty clearly pointed out to be an impostor, in a sense, since he's not the actual Creator at all - and most importantly, to me, there's this whole business about Lyra being meant to do all this stuff. I mean, if there's no god, then nobody's meant to do anything, right? There's no plan. I'm sure Pullman would say it's a metaphor, or something like that. I'm just not buying it.

(If they ever get around to filming the third book, the gay angels are so gone. You know they will be. - Well, ok, they might physically be there, there just will be no hint whatsoever that they might possibly be gay. But then, I can't really see that movie ever happening anyway.)

Edited to add that there happens to be a Golden Compass in 15 Minutes available in downloadable installments. (Yeah, I know it'd be easier to just read it on the web, but it's for charity, so be nice, you grinches.)

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