Today marks the 10th anniversary of The Golden Compass, the film adaptation of the fantasy adventure novel Northern Lights, the first installment of Phillip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy. Like the book, the film follows Lyra Belacqua, an orphan living in a parallel universe who journeys to the far North to locate missing children belong to a special race called Gyptian after learning that the powerful Mrs. Coulter is running a group called Gobblers that responsible for their disappearance. As we all know, this was seen as New Line Cinema's attempt at kickstarting their own children literature-based film franchise like with Harry Potter. But like other kid-lit or young adult adaptations like Eragon, The Seeker and The Chronicles of Narnia to some extent, this tried and failed. It received a mixed reception (with many pointing the dilution and/or omission of the books' secularist and anti-Catholic themes in the form of the dominant church known as the Magisterium) and flopped domestically at the box office; making only $70 mil. back on a $180 mil. budget and this financial loss for New Line (who sold international distribution rights to other studios and the film saw greater success worldwide) resulted in the once independent studio being folded into Warner Bros in 2008. As for the movie, it has a lot of great ideas and visual delight but it's bogged down by constant changes to the source material, which seems to have a lot of thought and subversiveness to back up it's themes, for the sake of making an accessible, cash cow franchise for movie goers without offending them. It did won an Oscar for best visual effects, which still fucks with me to this day based on how awful the effects for Byrnison and the other armored polar bears looked. There was nothing flesh and blood, photo realistic about them and yet this shit won?! Ugh. That aside, this was a very disappointing movie.
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