Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pullman's "Compass": Not So Golden

Not Quite a Golden Weekend
Even if the writers weren't on strike, it's doubtful Saturday Night Live's comics would be penning "Lazy Sunday" odes to The Golden Compass.

The $180 million fantasy epic was no Chronicles of Narnia at the weekend box office, debuting with a pedestrian $25.8 million, per final studio talles [sic] compiled Monday by Exhibitor Relations.
And $2.7 million of that tally was just Michael Newdow's weekend marathon!

The questions "Is The Golden Compass based on a series of books with anti-religious themes?" and "Did Philip Pullman really admit that the His Dark Materials books are anti-religion, the antithesis of Narnia, and about killing God?" are one of few "frantic Christian forwards" that the internet myth-busting site Snopes has stamped true.

The Christian Post is reporting that religious boycotts are a main reason for the weak box office showing. I wouldn't count on it. MTV slammed the film in a very witty and clever review last week.

We should hope this will help New Line Cinema that you can't just grab some moderately best-selling books, throw in several A-list Hollywood actors and millions of dollars worth of special effects in and create box office magic. Perhaps the book(s) actually have to be good. Now there's a concept worth pondering. What if the secret to a good movie adaptation is a good book to adapt? Perhaps a substantive plot and timeless take-away values are critical to success.

It's sure to bother poor Mr. Pullman that his movies are being compared to Lord of the Rings and Narnia (the very works he wanted to avoid!) and that in a wistful, longing way. It must twist the knife that trailers for the second installment of the Chronicles of Narnia will be playing at the beginning of Golden Compass.

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