Golden Compass 2-Disc SE, The
In a world parallel to ours, every human has a “daemon” attached to him. This daemon is the person’s soul and is visible as a talking animal with the exact same feelings as the person it’s attached to. Until puberty, these daemons change shape depending on the situation, but then they grow into their final shape which remains for the rest of their life. Also magical beings, witches and even talking animals without daemons are present in this world that’s ruled by a totalitarian regime called The Magisterium. These guys want to control everyone and everything so the fact that some people believe that there are other parallel worlds that are all interlinked by a strange substance called “dust” isn’t something they like.
Lord Asriel, a famous scientist, is one of the people who believes in the existence of parallel worlds. He decides to set out for the dangerous high north where he thinks he’ll be able to find proof of his ideas and therefore he leaves his niece Lyra in the caring hands of a prestigious English university. Lyra and her daemon Pan, however, aren’t completely safe there as lately so-called Gobblers have been stealing children all around. When her friend Roger is also taken by the Gobblers, the danger seems closer than ever. Luckily the beautiful Mrs. Coulter has got an eye out for Lyra and decides to take her along on another trip to the North where Lyra might run into her uncle.
The day Lyra leaves the university, the head master gives her an “Alethiometer” also known as “Golden Compass”. This answers all your questions if you know how to handle it and can pose your question right. Lyra quickly discovers that she’s one of the few who can handle this and when she finds out that Mes. Coulter isn’t such a good friend but in fact the leader of the Gobblers, she manages to escape with the help of Gyptians. The Golden Compass tells Lyra that she has to go after her uncle to the North if she wants to rescue her friend Roger. On the way with the Gyptians, she meets Lee Scoresby who introduces her to the icebear Iorek Byrnison. Together with these allies Lyra sets out to save her friend and prevent the Magisterium and Mrs. Coulter to kill her uncle Asriel.
Sound and Vision:
The image is very stylised and sometimes looks a bit soft but that’s intentional. On the technical side the quality is quite good although some minor compression errors do pop up;
The sound is superb with an excellent DTS 6.1ES track that really brings forth a 3-dimensional sound and can easily be used to show off your home cinema set.
– Audio commentary track by script writer and director Chris Weitz.
– The Novel: Author Philip Pullman And The Consequences Of Curiosity: feature on the original writer who talks about his interests and his way of working
– The Adaptation: Of Writer/Director Chris Weitz: Weitz talking about how he got involved in the project and how he reworked the book into a script
– Finding Lyra Belacqua: Introducing Dakota Blue Richards: feature on how Dakota managed to get the part of Lyra Belacqua
– Daemons: writer Philip Pullman talks about the different versions of the book he wrote before having the final version.
– The Alethiometer: Creating The Truth Measure: short feature about the design and creation of the Alethiometer
– Production Design: The Emotional Fabric Of A Parallelle World: 25 minutes covering most of the things that needed to be made for the movie
– Costumes: feature on the costumes
– The Oxford – Lyra’s Jordan: feature on how Oxford University was used in the movie
– Armord Bears: The PanserBjØrne Of Svalbard: feature on the design and filming of the armored bears
– Music: composer Alexandre Desplat talks about his work and how he created the music for this movie
– The Launch: Releasing The Film: footage from the Cannes Film Festival 2007
– Gallary Index: tons of pictures
Ever since Lord of the Rings, movie studios have become obsessed with trilogies but where LotR was a huge success thanks to a great reworking of the original books, The Golden Compass doesn’t manage to do the same. This movie is based on the trilogy “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman but the storyline in the movie is rather simplified and has some plot holes that really don’t fit. Certain things look completely unlogical and the fast pace of the storyline doesn’t help bring any depth either. Add to that certain scenes that suddenly pass by without giving much info and you as viewer are left sitting there, wondering what’s going on.
The worst thing, however, is that the ending of the movie comes sudden and unexpected while not really closing off anything. Still, not all is bad. Despite the sometimes childish dialogues and over-simplification, the movie looks terrific and the soundtrack can easily be used as a demo for your surround set. Additionally you get a ton of interesting extras but whether you want to buy this DVD (which comes in a very goodlooking box) for that is another question of course.