June 29, 2006, 5:40 a.m. CST
June 29, 2006, 5:46 a.m. CST
June 29, 2006, 5:47 a.m. CST
(I keep accidentally hitting enter.) I am excited to see what Chris Weitz does with a mega-budget like that. But the only time he's slightly ventured into fantasy territory was the horribly boring Down to Earth. Hopefully, this will be better.
June 29, 2006, 5:49 a.m. CST
I also have never heard of Narnia, before the movie came out. When does Free Wee Men comes out?
June 29, 2006, 5:51 a.m. CST
...and a rebel angel is picking up where Lucifer left off and leading a revolt to verthrow him in Heaven. I can see it as a BBC mini but not from a Hollywood studio. Pullman's books are popular but don't have Dan Brown's fanatical global following to make it through unfiltered. I see these books getting watered down big time before they unspool from Tinseltown's risk averse, cookie-cutter mentality. Oh well, at least they didn't cast Dakota Fanning. Spielberg is pushing that kid so hard on the public I'm suprised Dateline hasn't busted him in sting yet...
June 29, 2006, 5:53 a.m. CST
...it's a great read with a heap of stuff that should make good cinema. However, losing all the God stuff which is key to the narrative and a director who has not really forayed into this territory may not bode well. Budget seems promising but it could all get eaten up by cgi for Pantalaimon and the polar bears leaving shoody green screen work that afflicted a couple of the scenes in Narnia
June 29, 2006, 5:55 a.m. CST
why do American publishers need to keep changing the titles of great kids books from across the pond. Hal 2814...if you can check out the BBC's radios serialization..that was pretty cool
June 29, 2006, 6:02 a.m. CST
I'll just state that Pullman is technically and narratively a superior writer in comparrison to JK Rowling. You all know it's true
June 29, 2006, 6:53 a.m. CST
I agree, Pullman can write rings around Rowling but I'd much rather shag Rowling. Preferably on a big pile of her money. Thanks for the heads up on the BBC radio dramatisation.
June 29, 2006, 6:56 a.m. CST
That's quite a frightening vision
June 29, 2006, 6:59 a.m. CST
SPOILERIFIC OBERSERVATIONS: i think the book is just as controversial towards catholicism and organzied religion as the Da Vinci Code. Of course, it's shrouded in fantasy, so maybe people will overlook the religious references. however, I think its hard to ignore without rewriting the story a great deal. It clearly makes priests and angels wicked while witches and harpies end up being sympathetic. It also questions the afterlife and how we exist after we die. What are souls are .... In my opinion, its a really hard thing to adapt. It many ways its the anti-Narnnia. Lyra is liar. Her parents are evil. The first book is all about the murder of children. Main characters are killed left and right. Its a good story, but I question how mainstream the content will be. This franchise might go the way the Lemony Snicket one did. They'll make a competent movie, but it might not find its audience. Kinda risky to invest $150 million over, but I'm glad they are.
June 29, 2006, 7:04 a.m. CST
by Anna Valerious
I'm the same way with books. I haven't even read the 6th "Harry Potter" book yet and right now, I've given myself time to read "Eragon" before the movie comes out.
June 29, 2006, 7:11 a.m. CST
by Mr Jonse
...there's not too much "controversial" stuff in the first book anyway so it might make it through pretty unscathed. Hopefully this one will make enough money so the studio can make the other two properly as well. If they're going to take out the religious aspects completely I don't see the point in making these films...
June 29, 2006, 7:20 a.m. CST
I never heard of this but Chris Weitz better knock this one out of the park so he will be handed an equally ridiculous budget for his proposed ELRIC movie. Now THAT is something I'd pop a boner for instantly!
June 29, 2006, 7:22 a.m. CST
I'd say that His Dark Materials was even more explicit against the Church as Pullman eventually kills 'God' in the The Amber Spyglass and the fact that there isn't a single sympathetic Church character, all the church figures are unquestionably evil. Father Gonzalez (I think that's his name) from the third book is fascinatingly sinister with his pre-emptive absolution. Dan Brown raises questions, Pullman just sets out to destroy God.
June 29, 2006, 7:30 a.m. CST
The last one, not so much. Love the ideas just not the excution. Did anyone see the Nat Theatre production of the trilogy in London? It was amazing, but they were forced to discard a massive chunk of the 3rd book (Doc Malone and the Wheelies, amongst others) on account of it, A: being difficult to incorporate into performed medium, and B: its inherent shittiness. I love the books for both the originality and depth of the storytelling for a kid's book, and all the well-deserved stabs at the boader legacy of thousands of years of organised religion. Would love for someone to make a subversive, spectacular anti-Narnia. But is that some one really going to be Chris Weitz?
June 29, 2006, 7:39 a.m. CST
Look I'm going make a massive assumption here, but anyone who says the book is "crap" patently hasn't read it. And if you haven't read the series please go and do so immediately as they are endlessly entertaining and actually thought provoking.
June 29, 2006, 7:43 a.m. CST
I very much doubt Chris Weitz will be the person to make the anti-Narnia. Alfonso Cuaron could do a could job of it, but I very much doubt it will happen.
June 29, 2006, 8:11 a.m. CST
Still at a loss as to how they're going to bring some of the more cerebral concepts in these books to the screen. D
June 29, 2006, 8:22 a.m. CST
by Nairb The Movie
Where is a picture of Dakota Blue Richards? I have faith in the film adaptations of these brilliant books because Pullman is backing them. These are probably the finest fantasy novels we'll get in our generation. Some of the best characters, climaxes, and themes ever written down. Pullman writes circles around everyone... I cannot wait!
June 29, 2006, 8:25 a.m. CST
Great books. I'm just finishing off reading the last one. If done correctly, these books would make a truly fantastic trilogy. But, in changing the title from Northern Lights, which is what the first book is about, to The Golden Compass is really stupid. There isn't even a compass gold or otherwise in ANY of the books. I reckon it's a reference to the alethiometer that Lyra uses, but it's not a compass. Fucking morons. This film series is doomed from the start. I've really given up all hope on any literary adaptations. The Harry Potter films all went to shit after Chamber of Secrets. After subjecting myself to Goblet of Fire there's no way I'm wasting time on watching any more films in the potter series. Goblet of Fire was one of the worst adaptations of any book I've ever seen. And the Narnia film was just total bollocks. The books are great, but the film just totally dumbed down everything. And the FX work was crap. KNB getting an oscar? ARSE!!! So as for His Dark Materials, I have very little hope.
June 29, 2006, 8:43 a.m. CST
$150 mil? That means huge expectations from the studio, and assures a softening of the tone to accommodate more general audiences (and eliminate controversy). The thing is, the first book isn't all that controversial, but religious conservatives have full access to the other two books, meaning they'll have a tentpole of their own for summer.
June 29, 2006, 8:45 a.m. CST
It sounds like Pullman has really tried to show how once you reject God your whole thinking, and even your artistic output, becomes twisted. What a great study of evil and its effect on the human heart.
June 29, 2006, 8:50 a.m. CST
by The Alienist
The books held me, made me weep like a baby at the end, but after I thought about them, the trilogy didn't make much sense. It's clear in the first book Pullman's conceit of "Dust" (what it is) is different than in the second and third books. And he doesn't do much to reconcile the difference. Also, oddly, one of the last things to happen between the just-post-pubescent hero and heroine is that they have sex. Now, Pullman has said this is up to personal interpretation but hints strongly that these two twelve year olds do the nasty. Somehow, like the anti-God/religion stuff, this won't make the film.
June 29, 2006, 8:51 a.m. CST
The name change The Golden Compass is, as with Harry Potter 1, the American published title of the first book. Now, I'm not defending it, but this name change didn't come about as a result of the movie getting greenlit. I don't understand why the change was necessary, surely the nothern lights, the phenomenon, is fairly well known in the US. It is possible that Phillip Pullman, after reflecting on the titles of book 2 and 3 in the series, decided to change the name when the American publication was signed, so all 3 titles referred to an important item in the story. It very well could be that once he came up with the titles of 2 and 3 that he wished he could go back and change the title of book 1. When Lyra first sees the alethiometer, it says it looks like a combination of a compass and a stopwatch, so the title does sort of make sense.
June 29, 2006, 9:08 a.m. CST
I take it that is for the first part? Are they doing it like LOTR with a movie per book? I hope so but SR cost (in reality) $300M. (Yes I don't know what they did with the rest of the money either...) Anyway, I'm going to say they are great books but will be terrible films. I think the topics are too large to handle and the studio will never touch on the God/sexuality stuff. What we will get will be weak piss.
June 29, 2006, 9:10 a.m. CST
I suppose if Philip Pullman approves of the casting then it will be OK. I would also like to see Nicole Kidman in this as Mrs. Coulter as she's just about the only person I can imagine in the role. YES, the themes are controversial in places and if they stay faithful some of the scenes are going to be pushing this into strong PG-13 territory (mainly in the second and third book). I doubt they'll mention the church in the first movie so as not to get people riled up.
June 29, 2006, 9:19 a.m. CST
I worry about using CGI for the daemons. It could end up looking too cartoonish. I hope they end up using live anilamls whenever possible. I don't care how crappy this could turn out. I loved the books and am excited to see a film version.
June 29, 2006, 9:44 a.m. CST
when the old cowboy and his female hare daemon died. sad, sad, sad
June 29, 2006, 10:06 a.m. CST
THE SUBTLE KNIFE THE AMBER SPYGLASS See why they changed it? Oh, and it all works FAR better for adults if you've read your Blake and Milton first. Otherwise it's just a slightly confusing fairy tale.
June 29, 2006, 10:32 a.m. CST
by Nairb The Movie
His name was Lee Scoresby and that will be one of the best scenes in a film ever.
June 29, 2006, 10:46 a.m. CST
It's not so much that Dan Brown "raises questions" -- he takes real people, lies about both their actions (easy to show) and their motivations (not as easy to show), and then asks questions based on his false history of the church. There are many legitimate criticisms to made about the church, both in the past and present. But Brown has chosen to ignore some, and falsify the background for others. As far as "His Dark Materials", it's a free country. If pagans want to make movies, they should be allowed 8^).
June 29, 2006, 10:52 a.m. CST
Lucky to have seen Nick Hytner's production two and a half years ago. I had always hoped they would bring it over to Broadway but no such luck as of 2006-07 season. :( You would think it would be unadaptable to stage but it was a true testament to the imagination.
June 29, 2006, 10:53 a.m. CST
that scene where iorek fights iofur ... that could be awesome!
June 29, 2006, 11:07 a.m. CST
If they make the film like the book, then forget Harry Potter or Da Vinci Code; this is gonna have the Inquesition on the filmmakers asses. It is nothing short than a full on attack against Organised Religeon. Someone has already said it, every caracture from the Church is just plain evil. Think the portrayal of the Church in Sin City. The final book and the portrayal of God and the gates to Heaven being thrown open to the devils is heavy stuff. I'm not bothered by this but I cant wait to see the reaction if done true to the book. I am still really looking forward to this as the books are incredibly visual and with current models and effects could look amazing. I am really interested in the Italian(ish) desterted city, populated only by children and ghosts. Could be amazing. Oh yes, and polar bears could be kick ass if done right.
June 29, 2006, 11:38 a.m. CST
Because they've already said they're cutting out the scene where God dies. Quint, by the time you get to the third one of this spectacularly fucked up series, you'll either be high as a kite or throwing the books across the room. For me, it was the latter, but I don't begrudge the opinions of the opposing camp.
June 29, 2006, 12:14 p.m. CST
It's hard to believe without reading the books, but cutting out the religious angle would be worse than removing the Jedi from Star Wars, or the Mafia from the Godfather. Yeah, the series has a lot of exciting special effects and you'll probably be able to sell action figures, but THE STORY DOES NOT WORK if you weaken the religious aspect. It's the core of the story, and it's what makes it powerful and worthwhile. Now, if they leave that stuff in, and one of these films gets released the same holiday season as a "Narnia" film... I can't imagine a more philosophically excellent double feature ;)
June 29, 2006, 12:26 p.m. CST
would be Ann Coulter for Ms. Coulter. Pure evil playing pure evil.
June 29, 2006, 12:28 p.m. CST
read this: http://www.darkmaterials.com/faq1.htm
June 29, 2006, 12:30 p.m. CST
they're modifiying it. It will not be specific Christian anymore, it will be an evil force. While I'd prefer it to remain as it was, it could be worse. This series will be a hit, if new line pull it off right. The books are beautiful, and the idea that philip pullman liked Lyra is a good sign. Although he's said he don't care what they do with the film.
June 29, 2006, 12:31 p.m. CST
1. For the curious, Weitz was hired to write, then write and direct, then quit or was let go as director, then re-hired to direct. During the first wave of his "direction" he did an interview with one of the larger Pullman fansites. If you haven't read it, it's interesting. He's clearly trying to woo the series' "fanboys" and make the case that despite his resume he has the chops for this. http://www.bridgetothestars.net/index.php?p=weitzinterview 2. The ending to the final book is left quite open to interpretation. A REALISTIC reading of this, paired with the characters' ages and Pullman's entire theme, implies it ends with a kiss and an "awakening". Later interviews with Pullman imply that he finds people who take this and run with it to extremes both odd and gross. 3. At a NYC book signing for the release of book 3, Pullman said he okayed the title change from Northern Lights to The Golden Compass when the American publishers requested it.
June 29, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST
Demi Moore or Monica Bellucci perhaps?
June 29, 2006, 1:42 p.m. CST
I can't see that translating too well on film.
June 29, 2006, 2:08 p.m. CST
the campaign starts here. He'd need to bulk up and make with the fur coats and facial hair, but I think those flowing locks and sense for the dramatic could add up to a Lord who wants to kill God. In other news, the absolutely OVERT christian imagery in the books is important, they do not oppose 'evil', they oppose christianity. Changing that changes the entire point of the story, and actually subverts it. Besides, it would also turn it into a run of the mill adventure, bringing in a fraction of the box office and fame a movie about killing God for the good of mankind would do, for better or worse.
June 29, 2006, 2:38 p.m. CST
Don't flame me but why is it considered edgy and cool to attack people over their beliefs. Not all Christians are censor-happy, fundementalist zealots who want to enforce their beliefs on everyone. Just the loud-mouth ones in America. And does it really surprise you that certain people are gonna protest when a series of children films attack their very way of life? I bet if a children's film which metaphorically depicted homosexuals as unapologetic evil people was released the homosexual community would go "apesh!t" too. Like I said don't flame me, I'm not attacking the book, author, film or fans (I bet the books are quite intrigeing, may check them out some day) I'm just curious. We're all adults here, right? :)
June 29, 2006, 3:17 p.m. CST
by h. habilis
Well, I think protests are fine, but when they turn into things like burning the Danish embassy, or banning a film, then not so fine. One of the reasons it's "edgy" to attack/question organized religion is because it's so ORGANIZED (too many examples to list), and has a lot of actual power that can be brought to bear against the attacker/questioner. No, not all Christians are knee-jerk censor-freaks. But the ones that ARE get all the attention.
June 29, 2006, 3:49 p.m. CST
Yeah, I did not see that at all. Maybe I missed something.
June 29, 2006, 4:12 p.m. CST
The Golden Compass = Eragon in the quality of writing and plot department. Except that golden compass was written by a prof... which is frigging insane, hope i never have to sit through one of his retarded lectures. GOLDEN COMPASS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SUCKS!!!!!!!! SO BORING!!!!!!!
June 29, 2006, 4:15 p.m. CST
Atleast rowling had interesting characters, that gave us something to care about. We have stake in what harry does with his decisions, how he can ever live up to his parents expectations and his role in the art of wizardry. We like Ron and Hermione because they seem so real. LYRA IS FAKE! SHE SEEMS SO MADE UP!!! PULLMAN IS A MAN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT A GIRL IS THINKING AND THE DECCISIONS SHE MAKES AND HE FUCKS IT UP BIG TIME. THERE'S NO HISTORY TO HER, NO WANT, NO WEAR, SHE GOES OFF TO FIND SOMEONE SHE BARELY KNOWS... sorry but rowling is better, fuck eragon is better
June 29, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST
I agree with what you said. I can't stand hypocrites who claim Christianity but act totally different whenever their feathers get ruffled. People have a choice to do what they wish. Personally I don't waste my time getting offended by everything like others, but at the same time I don't think it's cool to do things just to rile up a group. However things that raise intelligent, non-baiting or biased questions are always welcomed. The problem I find with religion is that the core Christian messages are drowned out by people condemning everyone not like them and man-made doctrines posing as gospel. I'm more a man of faith then a man of religion. And I'm comfortable enough with my faith not to start crying whenever someone writes a Da Vinci Code or whatever. Those "knee-jerk censor freaks" need to chill! ;)
June 29, 2006, 4:20 p.m. CST
THAT's GHEY! all you golden compass lovers should drown in a pool of your own ignorance on taste, and what is good and what is not. Making a hack rich and famous.... Why don't i just go write a book about magical donkies, and cats... you'll all eat that up too...
June 29, 2006, 4:51 p.m. CST
Book 1: good Book 2: Soso Book 3: Meh. The ending was retarded.
June 29, 2006, 4:53 p.m. CST
...our hero after entering puberty gets laid and this somehow saves the world. It's not graphic or disgusting or anytihng like that but that is what happens. The only way something that cheesy would work is as anime, with some idoru torch song playing as the credits roll.
June 29, 2006, 5:03 p.m. CST
A lot of people praise Pullman while ripping on Rowling (just as Tolkein lovers rarely appreciate C.S. Lewis). In truth, while they are all fantastical young adult literature, they're all very different. LOTR is a recreation of the epic in a fantastical world, showing civilization in decline. CON is a Christian allegory for children. HP is a re-interpretation of the hero cycle with humanist values and political overtones. HDM is a re-interpretation of Paradise Lost; essentially Pullman argues that all experience is bad (but unavoidable), all authority is flawed or evil, and that lies and murder can lead to redemption. Heady moralistic stuff. I don't think most kids who read it pick up on the larger themes and issues, and I don't know how they are going to capture the philosophizing of the movie if they're targeting the younger audience. Imagine the philosophical debates of Matrix Reloaded (and Revolutions) done in Star Wars Episode III. The horror... the horror...
June 29, 2006, 6:17 p.m. CST
I can't believe anybody is saying bad things about these books.
June 29, 2006, 6:44 p.m. CST
C.S Lewis, Tolkien, and Rowling are all awesome and ripping page turners... PULLMAN = BORING PIECE OF ASS WIPE WHO's WRITING IS CRAP
June 29, 2006, 6:46 p.m. CST
because if anything I love anti-christianity themes, liked da vinci code,... and interested in this whole judas gospel debacle... I JUST HATE PULLMAN HE'S WEARing a MASK OF ATTACKING THE CHURCH BEHIND SHITTY WRITING... dont tell me he's a great writer... sure he has the grammer, and the interesting sentence structures.. but his plot has holes, his story sucks, and i found myself falling asleep during the whole thing. IT SUCKS! People call tolkien boring... well here you got the new kind of boring
June 29, 2006, 8:10 p.m. CST
Rowling is a far, far better writer than Pullman. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.
June 29, 2006, 8:23 p.m. CST
Seriously, the trilogy was flawed the second Pullman unconsciously decided that "the ends justify the means" was the moral/message of the trilogy... the fantasy/sci-fi skizo-ness didn't help either. I hope they keep that part in... you know where Lyra's parents ends up coming off as stereotypical B-movie villains but is treated like heroes, the ending was so twisted I thought they somehow got transported to Bizarro Land. I mean, they were never confronted with their more reprehensible actions but instead was rewarded.
June 29, 2006, 8:32 p.m. CST
...at $150m it is getting the budget it truly deserves. For those uninitiated into the world just wait till the get to 'Amber Spyglass'. Sure it will be controversial but if they can pull it off the movies should be one psychedelic mindfuck for kids throughout the world and a welcome antidote to my two children having to pray in school assembly everyday. Let's hope Terence Stamp is Asriel. Of course, you better get used to hearing the name Dakota Blue Richards because five years from now her fame will be as big as Daniel Radcliffe. If Pullman thinks they got it right with the casting then that's very exciting news indeed. Oh, although it was called 'Northern Lights' when I first read it I find 'The Golden Compass' a more apt title.
June 29, 2006, 9:45 p.m. CST
Alright, I'm a Hollywood exec. LOTR and HP are two of the most insanely profitably series of books (movies and merchandizing) ever. So I try to option and produce every piece of young adult, fantasy literature out there--whether or not it's good literature--I'm a Hollywood exec, what do I know about good literature. Since Hollywood is predicated upon the success of reliable formulas, I look to the LOTR and HP films as ways to develop His Dark Materials. Pathway one: LOTR, a PG-13 epic, action adventure fest. We can turn two pages into over twenty minutes of action adventure on screen (that's Helms Deep). Or we can go Pathway two: HP, a PG special effect-laden children's adventure that has a neat effect (and merchandizing tie-in) every nine minutes. Honestly, quality of the literature aside (which I think is dubious) I don't see how you can take something based on Milton and Blake and turn it into a profitable film. The execs are going to want to cut out all discussions of theology and philosophy. They are going to go for cute endings, which means the parents are going to be one-dimensionally evil (oh wait, they already are in the book). What concerns me is how they are going to present the Liar and Murderer (adolescent protagonists) as "wholesome characters." In the final book, the Liar must speak the truth and, broadening out the metaphor, the Murderer must abandon violence in all forms, but how the hell is that going to transfer into a film?
June 29, 2006, 11:36 p.m. CST
Pullman's books are a brilliant andedote to Narnia, and are perfect for a film adaptation. Despite their anti-organized religion bent, the books' theme of Lyra's coming of age is universal in its appeal and mirrors the classic journey that propelled LOTR and the original Star Wars. Brits still talk about the National Theatre production even though it was years ago, and the film opens up more possibilities to tell the story than the stage ever could. I'll be first in line.
June 30, 2006, 11:36 a.m. CST
Your "savior" died 2,000 years ago. Move on.
June 30, 2006, 12:58 p.m. CST
Remember Mulan?!! Anyway, the first book was the only good one. The second 2 books seemed to get side tracked and never recover. The ending is pretty weak also.
June 30, 2006, 2:58 p.m. CST
First, I have read the HDM series (as I have read all the series I've mentioned), but I just didn't find them to be all that spectacular. I could never really get into the fantastic adventure being told, because I could never accept the protagonists. The writing and characterization just seemed too stiff and formal for young adult literature (which if you're adapting Milton and Blake is understandable. Also, the original Grimm tales were never directed to children; they were stories told to an adult audience. They were fantastically gritty with oftentimes powerful women, but Disney has transformed the women to princesses awaiting rescue while removing all possible dirtiness from the tales. I think New Line Cinema will take a Disney level approach, creating a PG adventure story, removing all questionable material, because the studio wants a three-picture money-making franchise like all the other young adult fantasy stories out there. I don't see how the unique quality of the novels--the philosophy and the idea of a redemptive rebellion--will remain considering the studio process. Hollywood movies demand Hollywood endings; even Fight Club was given a more "heroic" ending than the book.
June 30, 2006, 3:31 p.m. CST
by A Brimstone
Read the books now. It would be a challenge for Peter Jackson to do these books justice, hope New Line know wha tthey are doing.
July 1, 2006, 3:24 a.m. CST
How about Rosamund Pike?
July 3, 2006, 3:10 a.m. CST
Better than HD?