The Golden Compass
Reviewed by Nikesha Patel
Free will is the object of the game in The Golden Compass, a big budget exercise in orienteering where witches and polar bears point the way to enlightenment. You'll have to look between the CG seams to find the original intent of Philip Pullman's atheistic novel, but this isn't the overriding problem. It's that writer/director Chris Weitz doesn't convey a strong enough sense of purpose.
Thank goodness for the star presence of Dakota Blue Richards. She is thoroughly engaging as Lyra, a young girl singled out in prophecy as 'the one' to save all others from some awful yet indeterminate fate. It all sounds a bit messianic really, except that organised religion, represented by The Magisterium, is a force for evil. Nicole Kidman does the ominous eyebrow lifting as a guardian of the establishment who kidnaps children to wrest them from their 'daemons' (the animal sidekicks who embody their better judgment). Among the abductees is Lyra's best friend, and so begins the voyage north to find him.
Many questions raised