Thursday, February 08, 2007
My friends are mostly voracious readers. Me, not so much. It sometimes takes me months to slog through a book. That's partially because I am easily distracted but mostly because I like pictures - pretty pretty pictures. Nevertheless I read through all three books in the pictureless His Dark Materials trilogy so fast I was breathless from the journey and shocked at my stamina. What's more there were some incredible pictures bursting in my mind's eye. Philip Pullman's fantasy epic is too difficult to summarize (good luck marketing team) but the extreme basic is this: In an alternate version of our world, A young girl Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) who lives among academics in Oxford is torn between two extremely powerful and mysterious adults (Nicole Kidman & Daniel Craig) with no idea how to navigate the world's political/religious tensions. Lyra discovers she's in great danger. Unsure of who to trust she embarks on an incredible journey involving witches, child thieves, magical compasses, armored polar bears, witches, and gypsies.
It's an enormous fantasy trilogy both in theme, story, amount of characters and breadth of vision. Like Lord of the Rings, which became a phenomenon all over again six years back, these books almost seem too gargantuan for the screen. I wouldn't be surprised if the budget set new records. The Golden Compass is being directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and is due in theaters everywhere on December 7th.
So I'm asking my blog friends the questions this time. Joe, the production crew for The Golden Compass includes Alexandre Desplat (Composer), Dennis Gassner (Art Direction) and Ruth Myers (Costumes) all of whom are completely capable of delivering the 'wow'. Will this be the best looking / sounding movie of 2007?
Joe: It’s in the running with Sweeney Todd (Darius Wolski, Dante Ferretti, Colleen Atwood, Sondheim) and There Will Be Blood (Jon Brion, Robert Elswit), but yes, this has got some stellar below-the-line talent.
Nathaniel: The book is famously anti-religion... or, at the very least, adamantly anti organized religion. This ain't Narnia. Discuss.
Lulu: I'm dying for some fantasy flick to do the hero thing w/o Jesus imagery (Narna, LotR, Pan's Labyrinth). But I's gots a funny feeling that this'll either bomb harder than we can fathom or go all cultural phenom on us. 'Twill be innersting.
Nathaniel: How the hell will they pull off an armored talking polar bear without making the audience erupt into giggles?
JA: I would've asked the same question about a walking and talking tree or an armored giant elephant or a tiny person fighting with an invisible tiny person on his back for a piece of jewelry pre- LoTR, and Peter Jackson managed those without inciting giggles, but rather awe (well, the invisible Gollum fight is a little silly still), so if Weitsz can manage to get Iorek's fearsomeness across, I think we'll be okay.
We need all the violence of that bear-on-bear battle intact, in other words.
Nathaniel: Finish this mathematical equation. Nicole Kidman + Daniel Craig =
Gabriel: Gabriel exploding with hormonal happiness
Nathaniel: Finally, this perplexes me. Why are all child actors named Dakota?
Joe: Because that generation of parents didn’t want their child to grow up with a name so drab and common that, say, they were the fifth “Joe” in their classroom and thus reduced to ridiculous additions of their last initial in order to maintain any semblance of identity. Uh...probably. And, because irony’s a bitch, now there are five Dakotas and six Austins per classroom now.
previously on "we can't wait"
#10 Grindhouse, #11 Bug, #12, Sunshine, #13 Southland Tales, #14 300, #15 Hot Fuzz, #16 Stardust, #17 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, #18 Spider-Man 3, #19 Rendition, #20 The Bourne Ultimatum
Intro -films that didn't make the list
related articles for new readers
"reel diversons/reel despair" -my worries about religious pressures neutering the adaptation of His Dark Materials * Daniel Wroughton Craig -one of my favorite actors well before Casino Royale brought him a new legion of fans * "We Are All Nicole Kidman" -a quiz * Nicole Kidman She's (Almost) Back *
tags: Daniel Craig, Golden Compass, Nicole Kidman, movies, polar bears, Dakota Blue Richards, fantasy, books, trilogy