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The Golden Compass: Official Trailer and Featurette on Daemons

October 12th, 2007 · 3 Comments · Books, Culture, Fantasy, Fiction, Film, Lit, Music, News, Science Fiction, TV, Ursula K. Le Guin, Video

The official/final trailer for The Golden Compass is out, and the more I see of this film the better it looks. I am somewhere between guardedly optimistic and completely geeked out.

Also, here’s a nice little featurette called “Defining Daemons,” which looks at the animal companion-spirits that accompany the characters on their journeys.

Personally, I think Hester the rabbit steals the show.

Finally, there’s a statement from Philip Pullman up on HisDarkMaterials.org, saying:

I’m very happy with the work the filmmakers have done, and no-one wants this film to succeed more, or believes in it more firmly, than I do.

… which is very encouraging. I seem to remember early on reading a quote from Pullman saying that the filmmakers hadn’t consulted him very much, which I had found worrisome. So I’m glad to know that at the end of the process Pullman is happy with the film, and we aren’t going to be subjected to something like the way Ursula K. Le Guin’s work has been dragged through the mud by arrogant and incompetent filmmakers in recent years: A&E’s abominable version of The Lathe of Heaven, the Sci-Fi channel’s execrable “adaptation” of the first two Earthsea books (Le Guin tells the whole sorry story of the “generic McMagic movie” they made in savagely droll style here), and for that matter the disappointing Goro Miyazaki Earthsea film.

In all of those cases, the fact that the filmmakers completely shut Le Guin out of the process and ignored her input resulted in disastrously bad final products. (By contrast, the 1980 public television version of The Lathe of Heaven, in which Le Guin was allowed to fully participate, remains one of the best science fiction films ever made. And, not incidentally, was the film that inspired me to buy my first set of Beatles 8-track tapes — it’s still the best use of a Beatles song in any film or book ever. It’s too bad that they had to replace the sublime Ringo-riffic original with an inferior cover version of the song in order to be allowed to release it on DVD, but at least the idea of it is still there.)

Finally, confidential to Jane in NC, since I know you’ll be reading this post: the Lawn Ornament Theater Watership Down piece is on the way soon. I’m hoping to take some photos of the “actors” to accompany it …

UPDATE: The brilliance of Hester the rabbit-daemon is apparently courtesy of Kathy Bates. Yeah, that works.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Jane

    What a treat — thank you thankyou thank you! Now I’m going to try to embed something in my blog…. Always something new to learn.

  • Zack

    I’m totally geeked out. I can’t wait.

    I’m also curious about why the American fundamentalist religious zealots aren’t already having a cow about this movie, given how freaked out they have been about Harry Potter. Oh, maybe it’s because they would have to read through three books to find out who dies.

  • Ocelopotamus

    Zack, you’re on to something there, and unfortunately, the cow is already being birthed.

    The right-wing Catholic League, led by hardcore anti-gay bigot Bill Donohue, has already announced a boycott.

    (In terms of temperament and social graces, Bill Donohue is a lot like Ann Coulter, only with less nail polish. His general MO is that anytime anyone criticizes the statements of the Vatican or the political positions of the Catholic Church as an organization, he immediately accuses the critic of “anti-Catholic bigotry.”)

    From HisDarkMaterials.org:

    While many fans are furious about the religious themes being removed from The Golden Compass, a religious group called The Catholic League has launched a boycott of the movie on the day the trailer for that movie is released.

    The group acknowledges that the religious themes have been watered down, but it is still launching a boycott because the movie lures kids and their “unsuspecting parents” into reading the books.

    The Catholic League also says The Golden Compass is “the least offensive of the three books” and warns that The Subtle Knife is “more overt in its hatred of Catholicism” and The Amber Spyglass “even more blatant”.

    To “educate” the unsuspecting parents who may take their children to see the movie or may be “impelled” to buy His Dark Materials as a Christmas present, the group have released an undoubtely objective booklet titled “The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked.” to reveal the true, dark message behind the books.