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The Golden Compass [Blu-ray]

3.7 out of 5 stars 677 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

Golden Compass, The: 2-Disc Special Edition (WS/Dbl BD)

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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    PG-13
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (677 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00139XZF4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,309 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Golden Compass [Blu-ray]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Damion F. Chaplin on July 8, 2008
Format: DVD
The Golden Compass is a very ambitious film based on a very ambitious book. If you haven't read the book, and you liked this movie, you must go read the book. That said, this film really did seem rushed and a lot of the appealing aspects of the book are left out. However, most of what they changed made sense to me (like switching the order of events at Svalbard and Bolvangar) and made the flow of the movie work better.

My main problem with this movie is the same one I had with David Lynch's Dune: You really wouldn't know what's going on unless you've read the book. I saw the movie before I read the book, but my wife, who was watching it with me, had just finished the trilogy and she was able to explain a lot of what I was seeing - much like when I watch Dune with someone who hasn't read the book.

So in the end, The Golden Compass suffers from being too complex and fast-paced in order to do justice to the book it's based on. Yes, I liked the movie a lot (enough to buy it for my library), and it inspired me to read the fantastic novels, but those who haven't read the book may be confused by what they're seeing.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, but I really recommend reading the book first to get everything out of it.
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The special effects and the cinematography of "The Golden Compass" are wonderful, but it's the subtext that really shines through, making for one of the most unique, fascinating, and entertaining fantasy films of recent memory. Just as it is in the film, the plot of Philip Pullman's original novel suggested that free will was kept under strict control. The film brings this idea to the surface and allows the audience to analyze it; in a parallel universe--in which a person's soul is separate and physically represented by an animal--a ruthless organization called the Magisterium tries to enforce rules against free will. Anyone who challenges its authority will be condemned as a heretic. Because they wanted to ensure total compliance, the Magisterium sought to destroy every last alethiometer, or golden compass--a magical, watch-like mechanism that literally tells the truth by pointing at strange symbols.

The one alethiometer that survived is now in the possession of Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), a college professor who defies the Magisterium by confirming the existence of dust. I'm not referring to the allergy-inducing particles that settle on ordinary surfaces; I'm referring to the magical substance that's somehow related to a rift between their universe and ours. Because this has put him at odds with the Magisterium, he gives the alethiometer to his orphaned niece, Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), a young girl raised by the professors at a university. Lyra, who absolutely hates being called a lady, is clever, bold, and incredibly headstrong, with an adventurous spirit that occasionally gets her into trouble. Her spirit--or daemon, as referred to by the characters--is Pan (voiced by Freddie Highmore), who hasn't quite decided which animal form to take.
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Format: DVD
Not being one who seeks out the seemingly endless line of Harry Potter/Narnia/Lord of the Rings tropes (a little computer generated monster realm goes a long way), THE GOLDEN COMPASS came somewhat as a pleasant surprise. Yes, this is still a fantasy film, but the emphasis is more on stylish creation of various animals (in the forms of 'daemons' that accompany children as their souls, morphing into various animal life at will) than tiresome explosions and flying beasties.

Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) is clearly the star of this adventure that explores the possibility of other, parallel worlds whose interaction with the world as we know it is controlled by various groups of good guys and bad guys, all seeking the source of secrecy contained in a Golden Compass that can only be read by a single girl - Lyra, a poor child living in the presence of scholars. Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) places the Golden Compass in Lyra's knowing hands and heads off to the far North to investigate the element that binds all life together - Dust. The tale is set in motion by the enigmatic Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) who gains Lyra's confidence and offers to take her to the great North. All manner of adventures occur on the journey - friends of Lyra's are threatened to be separated from their various daemons in the cruel hands of the bad guys, Lyra's encounter with a witch Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green), her assistance from a friendly astronaut (Sam Elliott) and an armored bear - and with all fantasies, good prevails - or does it? Tune in for the very obvious next installment.

The pleasures are many, not the least of which are the voices and changing forms of the little animal daemons. The cast is excellent and the whole movie sails with yet another beautiful musical score by Alexandre Desplat. It is a nice diversion, but you have to love fantasy. Grady Harp, May 08
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Where to begin? We'll just be brief and say that this was a perfect example of how marketing and action movie mania ruins the greatest books. All character development is gone; scene orders are switched around; any mysteries slowly revealed in the book are blurted instantly. There's no remaining germ of sense about what this story is about, who Lyra is, or what makes this world tick. Rather than spending $180m, they should have hired a good writer and made a nice, long, genuine tribute to a fantastic book.
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