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Movie Review: The Golden Compass

In case you didn't hear, this show cost a whopping $180m to make, but opening weekend it grossed only $23m in the US. What this basically means is that unless The Golden Compass is able to take the international audience by storm, its gonna be among the biggest flops of 2007.

The movie stars Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman and seems to be following in the footsteps of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, going for lavish sets and backdrops that are simply amazing.

The story is set in a parallel universe where instead of having souls, people have animal companions that are essentially their 'Souls', Expect these companions take a specific animal form and can talk as well. The world is ruled by a religious organization called the Magesterim (think the Catholic Church in the middle ages). They are trying to enforce their beliefs to everyone and squashing all other opinions. A young girl called Lyra Belacqua is the child of prophecy who will usher in a new era, so naturally she's in danger. That's mostly it in a nutshell. The movie is based on the books by Philip Pullman and is a trilogy. This first movie deals with young Lyra's journey to the far North to save her best friend whom she fears has been kidnapped by a powerful and secret organization.

I enjoyed this movie, but then again, I looked upon it as a sci-fi fan and was not offended at the unique souls concept the movie introduces. I would rate it as being a epic fantasy on par with Lord of the Rings but geared towards children/teens so it's not as emotionally in depth. That said it definitely worth a watch, however I seriously question the $180m price tag. There is no way this movie outshone Lord of the Rings which cost individually only cost about $94m each to make.

My biggest gripe with this film is the ending. Although meant to be part 1 of a trilogy, the ending leaves the viewer hanging. If you take any of the Potter books or Lord of the Rings movies, the individual shows ended after some epic happening and although you know the story had not ended, there was closure. The Golden Compass however ends and leaves the viewer feeling slightly cheated, the epic battle wasn't all that epic (at least to me) and there was no sense of any closure.

I give this movie a 7/10. Oh and given the numbers, looks like I'll have to read the books to find out what happens to little Lyra.

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