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The Golden Compass [Blu-ray]  [US Import] [Region A]
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Perhaps it didnt ignite the box office in quite the way itd been hoped, but thats little reason to pass over the qualities of The Golden Compass now it arrives on DVD. Based on the Phillip Pullman novel His Dark Materials--itself the start of the Northern Lights trilogy, the film isnt without a few problems, but emerges as a quality adaptation.
And you certainly cant fault The Golden Compass for sheer ambition. The story, for those new to the series, is primarily that of 12-year old Lyra, who is in search of her friend who has been kidnapped. Naturally, this proves to be quite a challenging adventure, not least because its through Pullmans vividly imagined world, crossing dimensions as Lyra travels. The film, while toning down and fiddling with some elements of the source material, stays quite close to the book, and it proves to be a good, if not Lord Of The Rings-standard, adaptation.
What helps The Golden Compass, on top of the strong effects work and scope of the production, is a solid cast, featuring the likes of Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman and Dakota Blue Richards. And it certainly whets the appetite for the next instalment in the series. Whether the muted box office returns put pay to that remains to be seen: for now, at least, The Golden Compass is a good, solid family movie thats easy to enjoy. --Jon Foster --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
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I loved Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter - suitably cold and menacing; Jim Carter as John Faa; and of course Ian McKellan as the voice of Iorek the bear. It's obvious that this was Dakota Blue Richard's first film and at times her clichéd performance was annoying, but other times she showed the potential that fuelled her later performance in The Secret of Moonacre.
I didn't hate this film and I've no doubt I'll watch it again at some point, but I don't think it'll be on my 'watch at least once a year' list.
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