September 30, 2007

The Golden Compass

In a parallel world, where human souls take the form of animal companions, one child stands between the end of free will and the beginning of a new age.

Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) is only 12, but even she knows that doing what you’re told versus doing what you feel is right can yield very different outcomes. A rebellious orphan living as a ward at Jordan College in Oxford, Lyra belongs to a world that is one of many parallel worlds – unseen, intangible dimensions where humanity evolves with subtle differences.

But Lyra is never alone in hers – she goes everywhere with her daemon, a small, ever-changing animal called Pantalaimon. In other worlds, one’s soul resides inside the body, silent and unseen. In hers, a daemon is a lifelong companion.

But Lyra’s world is changing. The all-encompassing governmental body called the Magisterium is tightening its grips on the populace. Its dark work has resulted in a rash of kidnappings of children by a mysterious force called the Gobblers. Rumors among the Gyptian boat people, who have lost many of their own to the kidnappers, is that the children are being taken to an Experimental Station in the north to be subjected to unspeakable experiments.

When Lyra’s best friend Roger (Ben Walker) vanishes, she swears she will travel to the end of the world to rescue him.

Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), Lyra’s dashing, gruff explorer uncle, is simultaneously setting out for the same region where he is seeking to harness the power of a mysterious phenomenon called Dust that he believes resides where the Northern Lights play over the icy Arctic Circle.

Desperate to accompany her uncle but denied, Lyra is given a second chance when the college is visited by an associate from the city – Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman). A beguiling scientist and world traveler, Mrs. Coulter spirits Lyra away from her life in Jordan promising tantalizing adventures in London and beyond.

Before leaving, Lyra is given a puzzling, ancient device called the alethiometer – one that is said to tell the bearer only the truth, if she can only figure out how to use it.

In Lyra’s world, there is a myth of a child whose fate is to end fate – a child who can write her own tale – and who will play a crucial part in the coming war. In her quest to save Roger, could Lyra be that child?

Banding together an unlikely alliance with a tribe of seafaring Gyptians, a mysterious witch, a great armored bear and a Texas airman, Lyra embarks on an adventure that will take her over sky and ocean, to the wilds of the icy north, and into the mysteries at the very core of the human soul.

A great war is coming – one that threatens not only her world but all the parallel worlds waiting just beyond the northern lights – and Lyra will need all her skill, all her courage, to stop it.

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Release Dates:
December 7, 2007
Genre: Action-Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Adaptation
Running Time: 114 min.
Director: Chris Weitz
Writer(s): Philip Pullman, Chris Weitz
Producer(s): Paul Weitz, Andrew Miano, Deborah Forte
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Tagline: There are worlds beyond our own - the compass will show the way.
MPAA Rating: MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence.

Movie Casts:

Nicole Kidman - Marisa Coulter
Daniel Craig - Lord Asriel
Dakota Blue Richards - Lyra Belacqua
Ben Walker - Roger
Nonso Anozie - Iorek Byrnison (voice)
Eva Green - Serafina Pekkala
Jim Carter - John Faa
Tom Courtenay - Farder Cordam
Charlie Rowe - Billy Costa
Clare Higgins - Ma Costa
Steven Loton - Tony Costa
Sam Elliott - Lee Scoresby
Simon McBurney - Fra Pavel
Jack Shepherd - Master
John Bett - Thorold

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