Monday, December 3, 2007

The Golden Compass... Much Ado

This message was waiting in my inbox for me this morning, forwarded to me by our school secretary:
THIS IS A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM DR. BRYAN CUTSHALL
Yesterday, I was handed a children's book by a staff member who said, "I think you need to see
this." The book is published by Scholastic and is part of a collection of books. The book I was given is called The Golden Compass. This children's book is one of the most alarming things I have ever read. What makes it worse is that a movie based on the book premieres in December. Both the book and the movie introduce atheism to children. The story ends with Adam and Eve killing God. THIS IS A MOVIE THAT WE MUST PROTEST AND OPPOSE AS CHRISTIANS.
As I have mentioned (a few times) before, I am excited about the release of The Golden Compass, a film adaptation of the novel by Philip Pullman. Lyra, the protagonist and a (gasp!) girl, is an appealing character with whom children of both sexes will readily identify, and Mrs. Coulter is a memorable villain. Yet, I do not want to draw you to the ticket window under false pretenses - the movie, while promising some charming feminist fun, is going to be far more vanilla than the concerned Rev. Cutshall would have you believe.

Cutshall is, unfortunately, either lying about having read the books, or in his portrayal of their plot; for (Spoiler Alert) Adam and Eve do not kill God... nobody really kills God. In the final book of the trilogy, an aged god-like angel called The Authority merely dissipates happily into thin air under the watch of two characters who are prophesied to be the next Eve and her Adam (yet, they hardly live up to their hype). Trust me, it would have made for a much better story had the children had some more active role, but perhaps Pullman chickened-out (I think the second two books in the trilogy are far inferior to the first). Although Pullman has apparently asserted that he is "...trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief," the books fail at that rather sweeping goal. They might, however, prompt readers to do some questioning of religious institutions and dogmatism, which would be refreshing.

So, the movie will be released 'round these parts on Friday. Anyone interested in going with me to see it this weekend?

11 comments:

Mächtige Maus said...

Why yes...I do believe we might be interested. However, will that label us as atheists? You know how we hate labels.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Oh, I assume that they'll be passing out 'atheist' labels at the door, but you don't have to wear one if you don't want... How do you like the label si-fi / fantasy dork?

Mächtige Maus said...

Agincourt can wear that well. I will have to give it a try for the evening and see how it suits me.

Agincourt said...

THIS is what happens when I go OUT, and buy Maus an unauthorized wireless USB. She uses it to malign me when I'm out...playing frisbee with the dog...or something like that. hmph. lol.

Okay, so I've said this to Maus..I seem to recall being told about this book a hand full years ago(a couple is too few, several seems...depressing) by Casmall. And to be honest, sci-fi fantasy dork that I am... I said to myself...uh..an armoured bear...hm.. maybe not.

I know, it's shallow, but well, an armored bear for crying out loud? What KIND of armor? Did he carry a sword...or..a poleaxe? Okay. I digress. I admit...I should have looked a little deeper.

I think what I would say to these opponents, if I thought engaging was a safe/good idea...is...well, If I can read C.S. Lewis as a child and get nothing but a rollicking (you have to love the word rollicking) good adventure out of it, not to mention of love of reading...then I would think that a child can get the same out of The Golden Compass...or whatever it was called.

Though..I confess, I haven't read it yet. I thought if I rushed out and read it NOW, it would spoil the movie. Whereas for me, the movie won't spoil the book.

And la pobre, I have to admit, I was all excited to give the series to my step-nephew (if that is a term?). He's from your current fair state. And I recall hearing from my brother that the kid's dad's side of the family was not happy with Harry Potter 'witch craft' thing. So...he's getting a cribbage board. Ah well.

And there will be popcorn at the movie..yes?

La Pobre Habladora said...

Wow - yeah, if the parents were not comfortable with H.P., The Golden Compass will definitely be on their banned books list - which is a real shame since it means that the kid will also never read anything by Susan Cooper and (although she counted herself as a Christian author) probably not Madeleine L'Engle either (aka - no thinking in kids lit! That might prompt the youngsters to grow into adults with critical abilities, and we can't have that!)

You should read The Golden Compass, though, before you see the movie. I have heard that it is a bit hard to follow if you don't already know the story - a bit like the LOTR movies were for those who had not read Tolkien.

Maggie said...

So that's why I turned out this way. It's all because I read Susan Cooper.

Oh, and the armored polar bears are awesome. I love them. You cannot knock them until you have read it. I am seeing the movie despite my general aversion to book-based-movies in large part because of the polar bears.

La Pobre Habladora said...

I am not sure I'll like Ian McKellen's voice as that of Iorek Byrnison. I'm also feeling like Daniel Craig doesn't look dangerous enough for my ideal Lord Asriel - he should look rather dangerous and unpredictable. But, with the casing of Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, and the young Dakota Blue Richards - they seem to really fit my ideas of the characters they are to play. We'll see after I actually see the movie, though.

Anonymous said...

Hey, how was the movie? should i see it?
By the way, I finished my official last experiment today!
J.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Wow, that's awesome! Congrats! When is the party?

I guess we really ARE grown-ups now...

Can PhD's still go to kiddie movies?

Another Anonymous Poster said...

Is it playing at the IMAX in Atlanta?

La Pobre Habladora said...

No, not at the IMAX - we checked. Sigh.