Quick and sweet:
I liked it. Dakota Blue Richards played Lyra perfectly, imo. The plot came at you rapid fire, the fictional technology was fascinating. Armored warrior polar bears, gypsies out for revenge, cute animals, and a wise old cowboy pilot with a sixshooter. Just remember that it’s a fantasy and you’ll sink right in.
Long winded and chewy:
First off, I read the first part of Golden Compass… I stopped reading between page 75 and 100 because it was just too slow and I get distracted easily. But from the small bit of the story I gleaned from the book I’d say the movie did a pretty good job of telling the part I knew. And unlike the book, the movie is very fast paced. The same rapid pace I felt when watching Arthur and the Minimoys/Invisibles. I think this aspect actually did the book credit in my eyes; now I want to take another stab at reading it so I can fill the in-betweens.
As I said above, Dakota Blue Richards played Lyra perfectly in my opinion. In the book I found it hard to believe how Lyra’s lies and stories got through to anyone, children included. Dakota showed it to me. I actually like her character more now. Pam, her daemon, was also portrayed well.
My biggest disappointment when comparing the book to the movie was Lord Asriel portrayed by Mr. Bond, Daniel Craig. I thought he basically played his bond character. Warm and witty. Outwardly a well-shaven fellow with something to hide. One can easily tell that he’s on the good side. Reading the book I envisioned someone similar to Arthas from Warcraft III. Larger than life, intimidating, ruthless and on a mission. He’s on his own side, but you don’t know much more than that. Off his wide shoulders drape fur hides making him look even bigger. He’s short tempered with a cold demeanor. No one dared cross him to his face, including Lyra. Lyra feared and respected him profoundly. She also cared deeply for his well being and for her standing in his eyes. I noticed the movie’s portrayal because his character is my favorite so far. I look forward to reading about him and Stelmaria later in the books. Speaking of which his daemon, Stelmaria, was not as intimidating in the movie as I remember from the book either. Luckily his character doesn’t show up much in the plot so a watered down interpretation doesn’t break anything. All in all I think I see why the change helped this flick in the end based on a certain family secret. Describing further may be a spoiler to some. Read comments for further explanation.
Everyone liked the warrior polar bears. Even people who didn’t like the movie as a whole enjoyed the bears. They were awesome. I wont go too in depth about them because it would be hard to not ruin some great moments. Worth waiting to see, definitely.
Something I was in-awe by that others may not have noticed was the technology. The zeppelins and other floating ships were propelled by some kind of booster engines with gyroscopes. They(the engines) looked mostly a bronze/copper color so they had kind of a steampunkish feel about them. The body of main zeppelin was a regal red color. I love floating ships. They also had bronze/copper wind up bugs and of course the golden compass with twirling gears. Cool cool cool.
The daemon animation and portrayal was pretty cool too. Pam, Lyra’s daemon, would shape shift in the blink of an eye. A cat, a lynx, a mouse, a sparrow, a gull, a ferret to name a few of the shapes. Way cool. In the book he turns into a dragon to scare off a gypsy boys daemon. “No imagination,” he says smugly. The movie didn’t show that, unfortunately.
I may add more later if anything comes to mind, but I recommend seeing this one. I don’t think the big screen really added to the experience though.