Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Golden Compass

I liked Golden Compass the movie better than the book. The pruning of Pullman's clodfully baroque plot was done with taste.

The actors were as good as could be expected. Everyone's timing was off for some reason, but it may have been defective editing. I spotted several oddly arranged sequences, although nothing that detracted enough to squawk. A frame here and a frame there ... It may have been a case of malaise du Capitaine de Ciel, too.

There may not have been enough for the actors to hold onto to get an idea of their characters. Daniel Craig in particular failed to demonstrate any panache. Dakota (not that Dakota, thank God) was good. Nicole Kidman was chilling (especially in the "I hate my monkey, I don't hate my monkey" scene) but she has a long resume of roles with similar aspects. She's like a Kevlar vest with alternating layers of Grace Kelly and Joan Crawford. Ian McKellan is at his weakest when there is no conflicted or even perverse sub-thread to the character. "I'm a sloppy drunk" does not qualify. (I submit that Gandalf the White is not performed with half the effect of Gandalf the Grey. Tolkien and Jackson share responsibility for this.) Sam Elliot stole all his scenes. All that was missing was, "Bear. It what's for dinner."

I am happy to report that the bear models were admirably restrained. The fact that Iorik looks pretty comical from the rear leads me to think that his design is not 100% fanciful. The design of the movie is the best part. Armored blimps! Tricycle calaches!

Tricycle calaches!

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