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The Golden Compass [Blu-ray]
The Golden Compass
Actors: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig
Genres: Kids & Family
PG-13     2008     1hr 53min

In a parallel universe where witches rule the skies and armoured bears are the bravest warriors, young Lyra Belacqua journeys from her home among the scholars at Oxford to the far North to save her best friend. Based on th...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Nicole Kidman, Dakota Blue Richards, Daniel Craig
Genres: Kids & Family
Sub-Genres: Adapted from Books
Studio: New Line Home Video
Format: Blu-ray - Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/29/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 5
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
See Also:

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Member Movie Reviews

Reviewed on 2/13/2024...
Kristian L. (Katomine) from PRESCOTT, AZ
Reviewed on 9/18/2013...
such a great film. Truly takes you to a new world
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

The Fight for Free Will
Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 12/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"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. He spends most of his time as a ferret, but he also turns into a cat, a bird, and a mouse.

When Lyra hears that her uncle is traveling to the snowy north to find the dust and open this cross-dimensional rift, she wishes to join him. Asriel refuses to let her, and he warns her against speaking of dust to anyone. Here enters Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman), the wicked, controlling head of the Magisterium; she quickly learns that the alethiometer is in Lyra's possession and vows to reclaim it by tricking Lyra onto her good side. Mrs. Coulter's true nature is soon revealed, and upon escaping, Lyra is put under the protection of the Gyptians, a band of rebels who were once aided by Lord Asriel. As they journey north with Lyra, she also meets: Serafina (Eva Green), an elegant, almost ethereal witch; Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott), a grizzled pilot who speaks like a Texan from the Old West; and Iorek Byrnison (voiced by Ian McKellen), a disgraced polar bear who was once a great warrior among an entire clan of polar bears. To rid himself of his shame, he decides to reclaim his stolen armor and protect Lyra at whatever cost.

This is pretty much the foundation for the adventure that follows, an adventure so big that it isn't over even when the movie ends. But in the grand scheme of things, the adventure is fairly superficial and only part of what makes it so wonderful; "The Golden Compass" is just as thought provoking as it is enjoyable, filled to the brim with intelligent, meaningful undertones. This isn't to say that the film exists entirely as one big commentary--a good portion of it functions at a level of pure entertainment, from the convincing special effects to the stunning set designs to the fantastic mechanical creations. The story is not one of the future, the past, or even the present; its unique setting has essentially made any sense of time meaningless. And let's not forget a number of lighthearted moments between Lyra and her best friend, Roger (Ben Walker), both of whom are more like bonded siblings.

But there is a dark side to this story. For one thing, the Magisterium is involved in a sinister plot to kidnap children and sever the connections between them and their daemons. The sooner they lose their spirits (pun definitely intended), the quicker they can be controlled. There's also a general sense of foreboding that runs through the entire film, as if to say that certain things are not as simple as they may first appear. Consider the fact that a person's physical pain is also felt by his or her daemon, and vice versa: What exactly will happen if one of them dies? Can one exist without the other? And how exactly are daemons a threat to free will?

The fact that I'm asking these questions is a good thing, because it proves that "The Golden Compass" is a stimulating film. Rarely is a fantasy story allowed to transcend the limiting clichés of princesses, castles, dragons, swords, and predictable Hero's Journeys. Here's a film that actually brings something new to the genre, something fresh, exciting, daring, and determined. This is not a mind-numbing rehash; it's a thoroughly original experience, highlighted by delightful performances, a solid structure, and a well-rounded social commentary. I suppose I should make a note about the Catholic Church's poor reception of this film, but why bother? Religion--or lack thereof--has nothing to do with it. It has everything to do with being engaging, smart, and imaginative."
A Fantasy with a Strong Cast of Humans and Animated Animals!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/03/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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"
Am I the only one with a golden compass
Vicente Rodriguez Jr. | phoenix | 04/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can see through all of the negativity and find a nugget of truth. Everyone thinks this movie was bad and boring, well, I have a question for you. What movie were you watching? When I saw this movie it captivated me and filled me with wonder. I haven't felt this way about of movie in some odd years. I mean, come on! Say this with me, all right? Polar bear battle that alone made me want to watch this, I really cannot believe all the bad reviews, there not even justified. You people are uninspired and so used to crappy movies that you misrepresent yourself. I have seen my fair share of crappy movies but this is a good movie and I can't wait for the next one. The story is an epic one and I am in it to the very end. The cast amazing starting with Mr 007 himself Daniel Craig and the vivacious Nicole Kidman. It was an amazing ride and I fell in love with the characters and felt a real connection. It was like Harry Potter with the Lord of the rings and Narnia all rolled into one massive new trilogy. It was faced paced, heart wrenching, and heartwarming tale of friendship and loyalty. The ending was not, I repeat not a cliff hanger, so shut up about it. It was a very solid ending and climax mixed in with shocking plot twist that honestly I didn't see coming. So please don't listen to any negative reviews and shy away from this passionate film adaptation of His Dark Materials. See it yourself and then decide. I really appreciate all the positive feed back from readers of my reviews. Thanks I appreciate it! Look for other reviews and check them out."