Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Golden Compass

The final trailer for The Golden Compass is out now and I am getting worried.

Teaser #1 had me skeptical. Trailer #1 had me convinced it was going to be really good. And now I'm right back to being skeptical again which probably means I am going to be hugely disappointed.

I love the casting of Nicole Kidman, despite that she should have dark hair. I still loathe the choice of Daniel Craig as Azreal. Every trailer and production still makes him look like a nerdy professor of Milton rather than the sort of man who can raise an army against God. I always envisioned someone like James Purefoy or Viggo Mortensen in the role--dark, sexy, scary and commanding. If it had been made about ten years ago, I would have picked Alan Rickman. Just because a man is Bond does not make him a rebel against God and it was simply cheap casting due to the success of Casino Royale.

I love Eva Green as Serefina though and Sam Elliott is the PERFECT Lee. If they actually get all the way to "The Amber Spyglass," I'm going to be crying buckets.

But this is all incidental and unrelated to this final trailer. What sends my alarm bells going is Lyra. Where's the girl who enchants the Gyptians, commands a bear, climbs the roofs of Oxford and is so determined to find Roger that she takes on the entire church? In the trailer, we get a girl who gapes blankly every other scene and offers a "Wot's it for?" when offered the Golden Compass. There's no spark, no mischief. The wild child who terrorized Oxford is now prettily dressed and stands around waiting to be led by all the other characters.

I'm apparently not the only one who sees it. Lyra has been entirely cut from the television ad campaign, making the movie look like a fantasy battle solely between Kidman and Craig. That's pretty odd given Lyra is the main character AND the main audience for this film will be children and young adults. You want to entice them with a character their own age...don't you? Unless that character has now become such a blank cipher that you have to try and lure them in with CGI. (I highly doubt that the tv campaign is trying to entice adults, as it is still too glittery to appeal to any adult who hasn't read the book.)

In addition, the CGI also looks absolutely rank. I kept giving it a pass "It's only the trailer, they'll be tweaking it until the release date." But it's NOT getting any better. Iorek the bear looks exactly the same as he did in the earliest test footage. The daemons look like something from Shrek or the wretched Beowulf. This is not the sort of computer animation we should see in a post-LOTR world.

I'll still be lining up to see this in December, but I'm going in with absolutely no expectations.

Disagree? Leave me a comment...

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