Radio host, The Michael Medved Show, carried in 124 markets reaching 1.8 million listeners';
Former co-host for 10 years, “Sneak Previews,” a weekly film review show since 1985;
Former speechwriter and political consultant;
Best-selling author of several books;
Graduate, Yale University & Yale Law School.
CBN.com Michael Medved says 'The Golden Compass' movie is a very complicated thing. It is based on the novel, Northern Lights (later renamed 'The Golden Compass'), which is the first in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.
Michael says this movie is good enough to drive kids to read the books. It is very entertaining and well-done. However, people must really question the message it is sending, which is an attack on the church. Michael says the message will probably go over the heads of the young children that see the movie, but older teens and adults should be concerned about the message.
In the movie, "the Magisterion" is a group that resembles the Catholic church and it "wants to control you." One of the characters, the Evil Emperon, even looks like the current pope, Pope Benedict. Other characterizations that are not good are "daemons," which are the human characters' animal companions or spiritual counterparts. They seem cuddly and friendly but they are in fact personal demons which Pullman does not really disguise.
Overall, Michael says this movie is artistically well done, entertaining, and skillfully crafted. If you just care about being entertained and not the message, this film is for you. However, there are questionable messages in it and you should care about them. On one level the movie is very cautious with kids. With its PG-13 rating, it seems to be sensitive with the more violent scenes. For example, there is a battle with two of the Ice Bears, and there is no bloodshed. However, the movie is not sensitive as far as witches being presented as good and people that represent the church being portrayed as very bad.
The production of the movie was very expensive, and it has come out in a crowded movie market. Michael says the film's makers are worried about that. They want the faith community to publicly boycott the film, because they need the publicity and attention so people will see the movie. Michael's advice for the faith community is not to give them a boycott, but to stay home and wait for the new Narnia movie which will be out in May 2008.
THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE STORY
Philip Pullman started His Dark Materials trilogy in 1993. They are international best sellers in the young adult market with a ready made audience for the movie. Pullman is an avowed atheist who wrote the trilogy because he was upset by the Christian evangelism in C.S. Lewis,’ The Chronicles of Narnia.
The plot of 'The Golden Compass' revolves around spiritism, magical thinking, mysterious visions, and parallel worlds. The golden compass of the title is a tool of divination. In the books, Pullman represents God as a decrepit and perverse angel who captures the dead in a “prison camp” afterlife.
The story centers on Lyra, a young girl living at Jordan College in the Oxford of an alternate world where everyone is accompanied by a daemon, a physical representation of their soul in animal form. One morning, Lyra's school Master calls her urgently into his office and gives her a strange instrument called an Alethiometer (the “golden compass”). He tells her that it is capable of telling the truth but that it is up to her to read it. He also pleads with her to keep the Alethiometer to herself. Lyra then finds herself in a world where she must fight against evil, and here lies the controversy. Lyra is the "chosen child" who must do battle with evil. But in this story, the things that are good are evil (the church is the Magisterion, the bad group trying to gain control of all) and evil is good (daemons and witches are allies.)
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