“The Golden Compass” came out on DVD yesterday, and I got it from Netflix today. I had reviewed the trilogy it begins earlier this month.
The film adaptation looks nice, but messes with the story. Contrary to some reports, it doesn’t water down the anti-religious message of the trilogy–most of that comes in the second and third books. It does incorporate a few details and a character, Fra Pavel, from the later books, and makes the dramatic mistake of telling you upfront details about “dust” and its nature that Pullman only reveals slowly, later in the trilogy. The screenplay rearranges the story of the first volume, leaves out many details (as any film must), and omits the climax, whereby Lord Asriel kills Lyra’s friend, Roger, to make a pathway to another world. Lyra is an unlikable brat–which fits, I suppose, since in the trilogy she assists the fallen angels in their rebellion against God–but it makes for a miserable movie.
Check out the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.