The Golden Compass

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(2007)

Film4: Wednesday 29 July, 12.55pm

The compass will show you the way to worlds beyond your own. Because, you know, there are many universes and worlds parallel to each other, connected by dust. A golden compass is the only instrument that shows all the hidden places. And only one person can read it. That would be young orphan Dakota Blue Richards, whisked away from her uncle Daniel Craig by icily evil Nicole Kidman. The first part of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials translates to film like a clockwork version of The Fifth Element. Three editors are credited (including the excellent Anne Coates) and you have to say, it figures. With a plot that’s more metaphor than metaphysics, it’s a complicated story told in confusingly choppy fashion. It deals darkly with the kind of philosophical themes expressed so divertingly in Pleasantville. And fantasy parallel worlds were far more excitingly conjured in the likes of Dark City and City of Lost Children. After the collapse of New Line studios, that’s probably the only place the other two parts of His Dark Materials will ever be filmed – in a parallel universe. The Golden Compass seemed such a certain winner that New Line spent more than $200m on it, more than it had spent on all three Lord of the Rings films. Nobody seemed to notice that Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig had just co-starred in another hugely expensive flop, The Invasion. As Heaven’s Gate did for United Artists and Revolution did for Goldcrest, so The Golden Compass did for Fine Line. On the plus side, it did pick up a Bafta for Best Visual Effects (over Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix). And it’s not as long as it looks. The end credits run 11 minutes.

Certificate: PG

Duration: 113min

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Other Showings Time & Date
RTE1 Saturday, 1 August at 5:30PM
Film4 Sunday, 2 August at 4:25PM