Yesterday, we went to see the movie 'The Golden Compass' based on the book by Philip Pullman. I had read the book quite some while ago, long enough to have forgotten most of it except for the fact that I didn't like it, and therefore never bothered to get the two other parts of the trilogy. Upon seeing the movie I recalled why I disliked the book, so if you were looking for praise of your new fav movie you're on the wrong blog. The movie adaption is as far as I can tell excellent, but I generally don't like a) movies with animals, b) movies with children, and c) movies with an overdose of moral and messages imposed on the innocent audience, so was destined to dislike The Golden Compass. If you translate movie's animals and children into underdeveloped characters, this disliking of mine applies to books as well. Combine that with the fact that Pullman's writing style didn't exactly strike me as outstanding, I keep wondering what people find so great about it.
It's not like I think the story is generally bad, it is without doubt a burst of creativity and imagination. I just think he mixed up too many things on the expenses of authentic persons and consistent storytelling. Take Lyra, the hero of the story, who is supposed to save not only her friend who has been kidnapped, but the whole world, the universe, and while we're at it, also all other parallel universes. Wouldn't one think she spends some time trying to cope with that news? But no, she just goes to the North pole, while other more or less flat characters drop in and out of the storyline. That's even worse than Frodo in the Lord of the Rings, which I disliked for essentially the same reason, but at least he wonders about his destiny - Rowling's Potter does so to a much more appropriate extend, and Harry develops some personality.
Either way, the idea that people's souls live outside their bodies in animal 'daemons' is interesting. Though here too I find the setting somehow insufficiently explored. I mean, are there other animals in that world (except ice bears!), and how do they get along with the daemons? Do the daemons get born with the humans? Can they have sex with other people's daemon's? Well, maybe some of that would be answered if I'd read the other two books.
I went home thinking that would make for a great online test, and sure enough the movie website allows you to find your own daemon, so have fun, you see mine above. I admit on taking the test twice, the first result happened to have one of my ex-boyfriend's names, and how likely is that? Gee, imagine your ex-boyfriend tied to your side for the rest of your life. It remained a tiger though, concluding "You are modest, a leader, assertive, solitary and inquisitive". As with other personality tests, it's not much of a match: I'm too modest to claim I'm modest, suspicious about people who follow me, and I am too solitary to be inquisitive. Or maybe too German, i.e. 'How are you' is about the maximum of inquisition I impose on strangers. Had I picked my daemon it would have been a dirty black cat I think.
So, in the hope to better get to know our commenters, what is your daemon?
I have to say though the movie's animations are really great. How difficult would it have been only a decade ago to get your armored bear running accross the ice with a girl on his back, and how smooth and realistic does this look nowadays. This really impresses me. I keep thinking the main reason why there seems to be an increasing amount of fantasy movies is simply that it has become possible.