Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Golden Compass; Another Harry Potter?

Mark Moring, editor for Christianity Today Movies comments,

It all started with this missive making the cyber-rounds, spelling errors and all:

"There will be a new Children's movie coming out December 7th called 'The Golden Compass.' It is written by Phillip Pullman, a proud athiest who belongs to secular humanist societies. He hates C.S. Lewis's Chronical's of Narnia and has written a trilogy to show the other side. The movie has been dumbed down to fool kids and thie parents in the hope that they will buy his trilogy where in the end the children kill God and everyone can do as they please. Nicole Kidman stars in the movie so it will most likely be advertised a lot."

Some are already calling for boycotts of the movie, while others are taking a wait-and-see approach. Just for the record, we're more in the latter camp than the former. We'd likely never call for an organized boycott of any film; we'd simply advise readers to be informed, and to make a decision for yourselves and, where applicable, for your family. Our mission statement is to help readers make discerning choices for themselves—not to advise one way or another about watching a particular movie. That's your call.

We haven't seen The Golden Compass, and won't for a few weeks. But, for now, we can at least say this: Yes, Pullman is an atheist. Yes, his trilogy features the death of God. And yes, he hates the Chronicles of Narnia "with a deep and bitter passion," he has said, "with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are falling away." He's called Narnia "one of the most ugly and poisonous things" he's ever read.

We can also say this: Pullman's books are award-winning and well-written, and those who have read them—yes, even Christians—say he spins quite an entertaining, and page-turning, fantasy yarn. One can certainly recognize the quality of Pullman's work without agreeing with his worldview.

Alwyn blog about it here. The Catholic League CEO Bill Donahue speaks out against Pullman's books, noting that they "sell the virtues of atheism"—an accusation that Pullman denies.

I really am suspicious about all this. I have read Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) when it came out some time ago and I remember I was not too impressed by the storyline. It is about an alternate universe where souls of people manifest as animals. I believe the movie will be even more toned down.

What makes me suspicious is when I was first forwarded the email a few months ago.

First, it was written in 'bad' English. I would have expected someone who has read Pullman's books to have better English because Pullman's writing is very much better than Rowling's

Then, there was the matter of it being 'atheistic'. How do you define a movie as being 'atheistic'. Many movies especially those in the sword and sorcery or fantasy genre are considered 'atheistic' if you mean 'not-Christian'. Do we consider any movie that does not mention God ‘atheistic’? As Alwyn has commented, these words push our buttons.

Finally, I suspect it may be a marketing ploy by the movie makers to drum up hype about the Golden Compass. I may be wrong because I have no proof except what is before me. Consider me a conspiracy theory buff. The public response towards the Christians’ reaction to the Harry Potter series and The Da Vinci Code is to watch the movies and read the books. So what better way to drum up ticket sales than to stir up Christian emotions? And we Christians are so easily manipulated.

So will you be boycotting the movie?


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Blogger Sivin Kit said...

the first thing that popped into my mind was .."Here we go again ..."

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here we go again....another round of tong-tong-cheng by Christians who should be more secure about their faith in Christ and their children's.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi sivin and blogpastor,

I like both your identical responses but blogpastor's is more graphic and contextualised...tong, tong, cheng...LOL

12:30 PM  
Blogger Sivin Kit said...

I think I was typing with my left and using the right to carry baby Ewan :-) hahahah "you mei you gao chuo!"

3:22 PM  

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