|wDec 8, 2007|
The Golden Compass
I feel like most of this post will not be helpful to my friends who are avid readers, especially of the fantasy genre. But I do have friends who don't read much fantasy, and haven't read The Golden Compass, so I'm imagining it will be more helpful to people who read my blog, as opposed to LJ friends.
No, I haven't seen the movie yet. (And, I am afraid for when I do, as a couple of my friends who are fans of the books have posted in their LiveJournals that they didn't like it, :( )
I've been exchanging a couple of messages with a friend from middle/high school via Facebook, after she joined one of the many "Boycott the Golden Compass movie" groups.
For the life of me, I simply cannot understand the line of logic that would lead a person to boycott the movie.
Yes, in the plot of this fictional story, the goal is to kill God (aka, The Authority). And, all over, the message from people is, "OMG! These movies/books will teach our children to be atheists!"
(PS: The Golden Compass was originally published over 10 years ago, and I don't recall any similar outcry. This furthers my belief that fundamentalists who enjoy boycotting things DO NOT READ.)
I don't think so. At least, I grew up with The Golden Compass being one of my favorite books (and it still is), and I am still a Christian. I am even still Catholic, despite the book's portrayal of "the Church." Like the Harry Potter series, I think that the books do an excellent job of teaching children that it is okay, and even honorable, to question authority.
But this all beside my point. So, the books are supposedly anti-Christian because of a corrupt Church, and a plot that revolves around killing God.
Has anyone ever read Paradise Lost, by John Milton, on which the books are based? (Even taking the title of the trilogy, "His Dark Materials," from a line in Milton's work. In Paradise Lost, Satan is a protagonist! Oh no! Think of the children! Think of all the students who are forced to read Paradise Lost in university! They will all instantly become atheists, due to a sympathetic portrayal of Lucifer!
But where could the plot of Paradise Lost possibly have come from, this blasphemous work that has influenced The Golden Compass and its sequels? Where else could one find such a story of a character rebelling against God? Wait, that sounds familiar - the Bible! What a horrible thing for a book to teach our children! Our mindless, influential children, who will believe and emulate every story they ever read! Let us boycott the Bible without reading it in its entirety! Let us call upon others to do the same!
Seriously. In general, I have always failed to understand why people would boycott books like To Kill a Mockingbird or Harry Potter because of their subject matter (or for any other reason). But I guess I just feel like the controversy surrounding this movie (and, only now, the books) is beyond idiotic.
I've already heard from friends who didn't like the movie. Here are my hopes for the movie:
I swear I didn't see your post before I wrote mine. lol.
To me it seems that if Christianity is The Truth they have nothing to worry about, as any amount of questioning will lead the people back Home again. After all, what option do we have other than The Truth? The only way it is absent is when one gives up before they get to it. By refusing to consider alternatives, these groups protesting books are missing out on important growth, because any contrary idea, if fully explored, is capable of teaching you more about your own beliefs than tempting you to the other side. A little game of devils advocate (aptly named) is healthy to the development of one's own beliefs.
I hope they don't ignore dust, also. I'm kind of afraid they made the movie so that it has a definite ending, just in case it doesn't make enough money to make movies about the other two books.
A new, very long interview with Pullman can found here at the rather snobby-sounding More Intelligent Life. A particularly relevant passage:
I agree with Anonymous. You guys do not understand how important faith is, and how much this series does nothing but try to indoctrinate kids to become anti-religious heathens. I pray for you all.
Dear Anonymous #2,
Yes Anonymous Number 2, I'll pray for you too. I find it fascinating you can put "faith" in a box. Everyone is on a different path and the sheer fact that you told us "that you'll pray for all of us" in that usual condecending "i'm right you're wrong" fashion shows that you really don't care for any of us on this blog post.
Creighton and I saw the movie this weekend with Louise & Co. Apparently your enjoyment of the movie depends heavily on whether or not you've read the book. Creighton and I have never read them, and we therefore liked it. We weren't annoyed by the character changes, and we weren't frustrated by the omissions. Standalone, it's a fine movie. If you're looking for a movie of the book, however, it sounds like you'll be disappointed. *shrugs* Your bulleted list of hopes are perfectly accurate, so if that's all you need to enjoy it, then you will.
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