Again, Dangerous Visions

1. This is supposed to be another new trailer for The Golden Compass. I don’t know whether this is the same one I linked to recently or something even newer (I’m at home with a slow connection and won’t be able to check it till tomorrow), but it should at least be bigger than that version.

The Golden Compass 2. Peter Hitchens has called Phillip Pullman (author of the His Dark Materials series on which the upcoming film trilogy is based) “the most dangerous author in Britain” and charges him with having “set out to destroy Narnia” – which shows, I guess, that a tendency toward fatuously abusive, hysterical paranoia is a trait that runs in families. Both brothers seem to have a taste for issuing simplistic fatwas – just against different targets. (Plus, you’d never guess from Hitchens’ account that the novels’ chief anti-religious character, the leader of the rebellion against God, is … well, I don’t want to give too much away, but the character in question is not the shining paragon of liberal humanism that Hitchens’ distorted review would lead one to expect Pullman to offer us.)

In fact Pullman’s trilogy has as much for Christians to enjoy as C. S. Lewis’ Narnia series has for atheists to enjoy. Hitchens’ ranting is the equivalent of Christians waxing hysterical because Aquinas praised the pagan Aristotle, or atheists waxing hysterical because Rand praised the Christian Aquinas. Admittedly Pullman’s own comments on Lewis have been intemperate and unfair also. Come on, guys; if you look for value only in those with whom you agree, you’ll subsist on a pretty meager diet.

3. The director of The Golden Compass has announced a slight change from the book; to spare the SPOILER-averse I’ll discuss it in the comments section.


One Response to Again, Dangerous Visions

  1. Administrator November 4, 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    BEWARE: SPOILERS! (both for the books and for the movies)

    The director says he’s going to move the closing chapters of the first book from the end of the first film to the beginning of the second film. His description of his reasons is puzzling – mainly, I suspect, because he’s trying to keep his announcement spoiler-free – but I think I know what’s going on. The first book ends with the death of a character (Roger) that the heroine (Lyra) has spent the whole book trying to save; that’s a downer ending (especially given that we’ve thus far been invited to sympathise somewhat with the character who ends up doing the killing) that might discourage people from seeing the sequel. By moving Roger’s death from the end of The Golden Compass to the beginning of The Subtle Knife, the director ensures that the audience’s initial shock will be lessened by Roger’s swift replacement with the new and more important character of Will.

    I worry, though. The result seems to be that instead of ending with a gut-punch, the first film will end inconclusively; that’s not obviously an improvement. Plus the beginning of the second film will now be rather odd; will we get a quick wrap-up of events with Lyra and Roger, then suddenly an awkward shift to Will’s world? I’d really rather have the second film just begin in Will’s world, the way the second book does.

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