Monday, December 10, 2007

Where does 'The Golden Compass' lead?

Here's the good news: The Golden Compass does not promote atheism. It isn't going to steal your children. It does not signal the end of hope for religion in the West. That's the good news. Here's the bad news: it promotes the same, shallow "don't touch my stuff or I'll kill you" message that appears in so much of popular culture. But more than this, in spite of delightful visual imagery, and a couple of performances in which it's clear the actors are having fun (an icy Nicole Kidman, and the great English theatrical knight Derek Jacobi to name two), it's simply a boring film.

At its centre there is at least an attempt at exploring interesting territory – we are in a parallel universe in which everyone is accompanied by a 'daemon' – an animal representation of their personality, and a comfort in times of trouble. Meanwhile, a shadowy authoritarian body, "the Magisterium", is abducting children and performing daemon amputations. Too much daemon, too much free will, too little for the Magisterium to do.

The religious resonances are obvious, but the film doesn't make any explicit commentary on Christianity. Rather, its enemy is the misuse of power to force people to think or act against the exercise of freedom.

To read the rest of this post on the God's Politics blog, click here.


Steve Hayes said...

It was interesting to read a review by someone who hasn't read the books, but I reccoment reading the books,. even though I disagree with the Brit librarians who deverred that this was one of the 30 books you "must read before you die".

Aaron Stewart said...

For all the fuss that it was causing within the Evangelical right it's funny to think that it didn't cause much of a stir because at it's heart it was just a bad movie. :)

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