When will the Christians declare victory over "The Golden Compass"?

Ford Motor Company had a poor year last year. If you listen to market analysis you get the impression that it was due to excess capacity (too many new vehicles in the market) which led to a reduction of prices, coupled with weak consumer spending across the board which affected a lot of companies - not just Ford.

But if you listen to the American Family Association, Ford's profits slipped directly due to an AFA organized boycott of Ford. (Never mind that at the start of the boycott, Ford was already experiencing financial troubles.)

Other companies have also been boycotted by the AFA and other religious groups. Microsoft, Disney, and Proctor and Gamble among others. And of course religious groups are quick to take credit for any downturn in a boycotted business, if any.

So I fully expect that the thousands of Christians who have decided to boycott "The Golden Compass" will be declaring victory over its poor opening weekend.

I'm also sure that the people at New Line Cinema will be smart enough to not throw good money after bad - so I really don't see them making a sequel to this film.

And of course, the Christian groups will be quick to take credit for that too.

Atheists are happy to let this movie stand or fall on it's merits. And so far it doesn't look good. This movie's only chance now is to become a (ahem) cult classic. Still, I think the general Atheist opinion was that they hoped the movie would be absolutely great so we wouldn't have to listen to Christian groups taking credit, or blaming the supernatural, for the natural failure of a mediocre movie.

Ah well. It won't be the first time that religion is given credit for something that happened naturally.


Farris Thorne said...

If I read the stats correctly, 'Compass' made more money in its debut overseas than it did here in the U.S.: $51 million across the ponds, vs. $26 million here.

I wonder what the studios' reaction will be to having a $25 million dent in domestic take made by superstitious narrowmindedness; next time, in lieu of interesting ideas, they'll probably give us something safe, like another Charlie's Angels sequel... ft

Anonymous said...

I blogged a post yesterday that linked to your 2005 piece about Christmas, and I was planning to post about the Golden Compass, so I came over here to see what you had to say about it. You didn't really say here what you thought of the movie as a movie. What did you say in the ABC interview? I'd be very curious to know.

I'll bet that a lot more kids go to see the movie over the holidays (when they are not in school) than they did over the opening weekend. You might be interested in reading what I blogged about the apparent "retreat" of Christianity. I'm at www.kalilily.net.

Calladus said...

Elaine, I was disappointed in the movie. I'm still examining the reasons why I was disappointed, but I think there are several.

First, I think people are now at the point where they expect great CGI animation - they take it for granted. So the time is past where a film can rest solely on CGI while giving short shrift to the plot & story.

"Compass" in my opinion was weak in the story department.

Second, I saw the movie under a handicap of reading all the books... twice. So I notice when they get plot points out of order, or when major parts are left out, etc etc. Reading the books made the movie more of a disappointment for me.

I'll be the first to say that a two (or three or four) hour movie couldn't contain all the intrigue of Pullman's books. Part of my surprise at this movie is that it was attempted at all.

Book series like "Dune" or "Dark Materials" or "Lord of the Rings" don't translate to the movies well without major pruning. That's what makes Peter Jackson's direction of "The Lord of the Rings" movies so impressive, that he was able to prune the book content and still give me a movie series that I love.

I'm of opinion now that these sorts of books would translate better into a miniseries.

And lastly, I just didn't care about the characters. Even though I think Dakota Blue Richards was fantastic as Lyra, there was still something missing. I just couldn't bring myself to care if Lyra lived or died. Perhaps it was because I knew she wouldn't be killed, but that can't be right because I cared more what happened to Harry in the Harry Potter movies than I did about Lyra.

So I guess overall, I found the movie disappointing. More so because I really really wanted to love it.

Here's a link to the ABC interview, and a link to my blog entry on that interview.

Anonymous said...

In 30 years, nothing has changed. I remember walking out of the movie theater after just seeing Jaws. My right hand was nestled in your hand, my left in Dad's.
And over my head bounced complaint after complaint about the movie from the both of you. You had both read the book first. I, of course, did not. I was 6 or 7, I think.
I remember such outrage that the part about a sea lion? Or seal? was completely missing from the movie.

I finally just saw the movie, and I LOVED it!! And here is why:
I knew that the books were going to be a good story, because you and I like a lot of the same things, and I had your recommendation.
I read every nasty thing that was ever said by any disappointed Golden Compass observer that ever ordered an over-priced popcorn. This way, I knew not to have high expectations in the same way that these critics did.
I didn't read the damn book first!!
It was an AWESOME movie with all the special effects I ever wanted to see, beautifully made, and I loved the barbarian spirit of the little girl. I sat in the theater and allowed myself to be 11 years old for a bit.
And now I have a stunning visual in mind as I spend tomorrow reading the book-- which I started today. I love using my imagination to translate an author's writings into mental pictures, but I'm equally happy to take the bright theater technicolor images and tap them while I'm reading. And the story will only become more rich and complex as I read all the stuff that the movie missed. It'll be nice.

Anonymous said...

Okay, all finished with book 1- and yes it is a very different story. Loved the movie AND the book. I see them as only slightly related, though. And I don't see a need for them to be carbon copies of one another.

Stephen King never had an issue with "Hollywood messing up the story".
He used to offer up rights and contracts easily, curious to see what actors would do with his characters, what producers and directors and screen writers would do with the story... what visual effects artists-- you get the idea. For him it was a venue for expression. Different ways of telling a story. Or different ways of telling slightly different stories.

I guess I'm just too caught up in enjoying the expression and creativity to bother with getting attached to one way or worrying that my expectations will be butchered. They both have their own plots, and they have differences, and I'm completely okay with that. I'm interested to see how the story plays out in both. I enjoyed Pullman's writing as much as I enjoyed the visual effects of the movie, and Nichole Kidman's stunning presence. Everything I’ve been reading is so thick. It was nice to burn through a book in 2 days for once.

I do hope there is a movie sequel. But so far there's no word except this from IMDB.com:
"Pivotal scenes taken from the final chapters of the book depicting the fate of Lord Asriel, including a love scene with Mrs. Coulter, his murdering young Roger to escape to a parallel world and Lyra's decision to follow him, were filmed and deleted shortly before the film's release. New Line Cinema has said it hopes to re-insert the scenes in a sequel."