"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Compass Schmompass

I’ve had a post sitting on my Blackberry just waiting for me to hit send.

But I’ve been waiting.

I’ve been waiting for the release of the Golden Compass in theaters this weekend. I’ve read the first two books in the series, but I think a lot of people are going to be more curious about the movie than the books. I mean, seriously, who reads books anymore?

All along, I’ve assumed I’m going to go to the movie and check it out, so I can have an educated assessment.

But today, I read a Q&A with the director on the MTV website/blog. And I’m rethinking the thoughts I’d already rethought several times.

People aren’t going to have a huge problem with the first movie, most likely. I probably won’t. I didn’t have much of concern with the first book. They’ve toned down the religious references for the purposes of making it as mainstream as possible, trying to offend as few as possible. But the director clearly states that this is only so it will be as profitable as possible so he can make the next two movies and be as true to the books in them as possible. So he’s willing to sell out for the greater good of the production of the whole story. That’s smart business sense, and I don’t blame him. But I don’t have to support where he’s going, because I don’t want to go there myself.

Here’s what Chris Weitz, director of “The Golden Compass” said on the MTV Movies blog. (Can you believe I was at the MTV site?)

It’s true, though, that “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” tread in territory that is much more controversial than the first book… Well, though I saw it as my duty to build the franchise of “His Dark Materials” on as solid a grounding as I could, it would all be in vain if the second and third films did not have the intellectual depth and the iconoclasm of the second and third books. The whole point, to me, of ensuring that “The Golden Compass” is a financial success is so that we have a solid foundation on which to deliver a faithful, more literal adaptation of the second and third books. This is important: whereas “The Golden Compass” had to be introduced to the public carefully, the religious themes in the second and third books can’t be minimized without destroying the spirit of these books. There is simply no way to adapt them without dealing with Lyra’s destined role, her secret name, and the war in the heavens. I will not be involved with any “watering down” of books two and three, since what I have been working towards the whole time in the first film is to be able to deliver on the second and third films. If I sense that this is not possible, there’s no point my continuing to work on them.

I have come very easily to the conclusion that this trilogy is not for children. The movie is rated PG-13, and I am pleased with this. One of the themes that the author would love for us to understand is that religion enslaves children. Children are forced to believe what their parents teach them. They have no voice, they have no freedom. I want my children to wrestle with what they believe, yes. But not while they’re young. I have to have guide them in so many ways. And the amazing thing is that I believe that in Christ they have so much more freedom than they would have without him, but it’s a different kind of freedom than this world understands. We may feel “forced” to have to forgive and love our enemies because of our “bondage” to scripture, but that frees us up to be better, stronger people who can impact this world in a huge way.

So no movie for my family right now. Maybe when they’re older, and we can pick it up at the library for free!

I may write more later when I get to hear/read more about the movie. I’m not usually a boycotter, and I don’t necessarily want to encourage everyone to skip the movie. By all means, check it out for yourself. It’s not going to brainwash you or steal your salvation.

I was going to go so I could see if it’s something appropriate for my family (assuming not). But now that I’ve read enough about it and am familiar with the whole story from reading it, I already know the answer for my kids and can save myself the $9.00 plus popcorn plus Rasinettes and invest it in some mini-marshmallows and cranberries to string and put on the Christmas tree we’re chopping down today.

Hopefully tomorrow I won’t be blogging about an emergency room visit following a tree-chopping adventure gone bad. Ooh, I should tell you about our first chopping experience soon, we laughed for a long time.


javamamma said...

Yeah, you should really tell us about that chopping incident.

I appreciated reading your thoughts on the books/movie. Thanks.

Marmee said...

The freedom we have in Christ sure is, well, freeing! We have the freedom to see this movie if we want to. I think it's remarkable how the Holy Spirit works in your life and guides and directs your feet and changes your heart! Seeing this movie isn't necessarily wrong. But when you are walking with the Lord, He gently guides our steps and directs our paths, whether it has to do with a job change, moving to another state or the decision of whether or not to see a specific movie. I love that.

If you do happen to see the movie, tell us what you think! What did you think of the books? Were they well crafted?

Sniz said...

I've read and heard so much about these books, including the occasional blogger that writes their own review or views, both ways. This is so well-written that I want everyone to see it. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful post about this.

Mr. E said...

Thank you for your comments and commentary. I have not yet finished reading the first book yet to write my opinion but so far it seems to be much like yours. I have read comments by the author of the books from other sources and they sound much like the commentaries he made on MTV. It's so sad his opinion of God is so wrong. I hope someone, maybe even God Himself", can show him the true nature of God.