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I just saw the movie!! [SPOILERS]

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I just saw the movie!! [SPOILERS]

Postby Phit » Sat Dec 01, 2007 9:48 pm

A thread to discuss the movie in, with spoilers. Please keep in mind that although there are sneak previews December 1, and then the UK release December 5 with most other major releases by December 7th, we are an international group here and some poor folks in Australia have to wait until December 26th!

Casual spoilers outside of the movie forum will be edited by mods through the month of December - we don't want to scare people away just so they can see it as fully as everyone else! Please keep ALL spoilers for the movie inside threads with [SPOILER] notices on them, and inside the movie forum.

Thanks!
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Postby subtle_sword » Sat Dec 01, 2007 10:57 pm

i'm seeing in on wednesday as i don't have college, so i can go during the day when it won't be busy.........yay
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Postby ArcT » Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:44 pm

Are we who've seen it already allowed to post here? :P
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Postby fbi_woman » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:08 am

OMG I just saw it at the sneak preview and I'm so in love with it and everyone in it I can barely contain myself lol.
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Postby AryaAurora » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:20 am

I didn't read the other posts, don't really want any spoiler infections. I just wanted to say that I had the opportunity to go see it today (the only pre-showing of the movie) and I passed it up. Why? Because I'm insane. Also because I wanted to wait like the majority of the fans. Only 5 days left.

Anyway, didn't feel that it was worth starting a new thread over.
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Postby ArcT » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:25 am

fbi_woman wrote:OMG I just saw it at the sneak preview and I'm so in love with it and everyone in it I can barely contain myself lol.


One happy customer :P
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Postby Kingpun » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:52 am

Watching the movie felt weird, but reflecting on it, it's definitely sitting better with me. You were thrown so much information so quickly, that for someone who hasn't read the book, it would seem like it's hard to keep up with. But my friend who hasn't read it, loved the movie, so who knows. Even with the ending being cut off, they still tied in a few little foreshadowings to tease the people who have read the book. If anything, the movie made me go home and hug my cat for ten minutes.

SPOILER COMING

but they didn't cut out the "jaw" part!!! Iorek is the Man...Bear...Paserbjo...I don't think I'm spelling that right.
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Postby TowerDragon » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:17 am

Very enjoyable film only a few minor complaints like the ending but it was not bad and, OMG Ragnar had the Doll 3/4 stars very Happy :lol:
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Postby violet93 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:25 am

Overall I enjoyed it. It threw me off in the beginning though, because it was very different from what I expected, but once I got used to it I thought it was pretty good. Good design of the world, good preformances, great CGI. I didn't even mind the Bolvangar/Svalbard switch, and the bear fight was amazing. Though I have to say I hate the end change. Maybe it's just that I won't see those scenes for so long, but I really think it would have been better if they'd been kept in.
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Postby whohash83 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:41 am

Let me preface this by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the novels and have read the trilogy 4 times. I've also been avidly following the production of the film since 2004. (Way back when Weitz was originally the director for the 1st time.) So it's greatly pains me to say the following...

To put it bluntly, I was incredibly disappointed. Certain scenes I really enjoyed, like the beginning of the film with Lyra and the other kids running and throwing mud balls. I also loved Lyra's little horror story about the gate and something about a Jordan scholar coat I believe...? However, because of the strange editing and VERY short run time the film as a whole just didn't mesh well with me and didn’t feel nearly as epic as it does in the novel. To give you an example of the editing, Lyra leaves to live with Mrs. Coulter, finds out she's running the Gobblers, and runs away and gets rescued by the Gyptians all within about 15 minutes, perhaps even less! You can really tell there are scenes missing as well. There are quite a few bad transitions. The entire film just felt terribly rushed. Daniel Craig has maybe 7 minutes of screen time and Kidman just slightly more. I'm horrid at writing cohesive reviews so perhaps I'll give a list of some things I enjoyed and things I thought could have been better.

Here are a few things that irked me during the film.

1) Lyra being able to magically read the Alethiometer on her first try. (I know the film had time restraints and you can’t show everything but this seemed silly to me.)

2) The bear fight could have been longer. The actual fight only lasts a few minutes. Also, there is essentially no blood, which is frustrating.

3) The entire Bolvangar sequence (I feel) could have been handled better. They should have added in the Dæmon cage scene. I think this would have really helped drive home how awful intercision is. Also, I wasn't nearly as creeped out by the people running the Experimental Station in the film like I was in the novel.

4) Am I the only one that feels the Bolvangar battle was WAY too easily won? It was over in the blink of an eye and seemed like it was a piece of cake, practically.

5) There is essentially no character development for anyone except Lyra. Everyone is introduced so quickly without much back story at all.

6) The end. Oh, if only the studio had kept in the wonderful last three chapters then the film could have been that much better. When the movie ended the people sitting right next to me (who I am assuming were fans of the novels, like myself) said "Is that all? Isn't Lyra supposed to go see Lord Asriel!?"

Things I did enjoy.

1) Dakota was wonderful. I loved her as Lyra. She was really spunky and has wonderful facial expressions.

2) The general acting over all was very well done.

3) The graphics were quite good.

4) I loved Ragnar getting his jaw ripped off. The added neck break was an added plus! (People gasped in my theatre when this happened.)

5) All scenes involving Iorek and Lee. Sam Elliott is perfection as Lee. Oh, and McKellan really didn't bother me that much in the film. I thought he did a pretty good job, to be honest.

6) The Dæmon deaths, how freaking awesome was that!?

7) I thought the scene where Lyra is walking next to Iorek with the Gyptians and rambling on about how she doesn't like being told what to do and how she can tell that Iorek doesn't like being told what to do was quite cute and funny.

I know I may come off as a bit harsh, but this is probably because I had such huge expectations for the film and have been eagerly anticipating it for years. You can really sense New Line’s meddling when you watch the movie. Even that very small scene where Lyra runs and sets off the fire alarm (which we have seen in previews/trailers isn’t in the film. After she destroys the intercision machine the scene cuts quickly to all the kids escaping.

I’m also not really sure if non-fans are going to understand what’s going on either. Both of my parents were really confused by the end. I had to explain a lot of stuff to them on the drive home. They didn’t understand why the children’s Dæmon were being severed or what Dæmon even truly were, which is sad. Once I told my parents the Magesterium was essentially the Church in Lyra’s world and that they thought Dust was original sin then the reason for the severing made more sense to them. I think this should have been made more explicit in the film because otherwise the Magisterium just looks like another generic baddy with no real motivation.

I wanted to love this movie, I really, REALLY did. But ultimately I was left a little disappointed. I’m going to sleep on it and see how I feel in the morning. Perhaps I just need to try and take the film for what it is but because I know the books are a masterpiece I was sort of hoping the film would be the same.

Was anyone else as disappointed as I was? Am I the only one…?
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Postby ArcT » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:03 am

Although our reviews on the main site are overall positive, we picked up the majority of qualms you did :) It was a disappointment, but in terms of fan-dom. As a book-turned-into-a-film and viewed purely as a piece of cinematic artwork, those mistakes made by New Line (and a lesser extent by the production crew) are greatly reduced. However, the fact remains that there were plot inconsistencies and the tendency to rush, both of which I feel factored in your review as well - and that is purely New Line's decision to cut the film down during post-production at fault.
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Postby solizma » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:04 am

whohash I know exactly how you feel! I just got back from an advanced screening and I still can't stop thinking about the ending that was cut short!

I agree with just about everything you liked and disliked- they should have included the scene where Lyra releases all the Dæmon from their cages, and I loved the fact that they kept the part where Iofur (really disappointed they changed his name) got his jaw ripped off. If only they could have included Iorek slicing his body open and eating his heart too... that really would have bumped the rating up a few notches though, wouldn't it?

Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek bothered me quite a bit- I kept picturing Gandalf leading Lyra and the Gyptians towards Bolvangar. But it wasn't as bad as it might have been. I got used to it in the end.

I was happy with how the bears were animated, but disappointed that they cut down so much on how Iorek was exiled and Iofur took his place. The movie just says Iorek was defeated in combat with a bear so had to leave- none of his killing another bear that was confused at Iofur's hand. We don't really get the sense that Iofur doesn't deserve the throne, besides a quick comment from Lyra when she reads the alethiometer in his presence, asking it how he got the throne. Or, even if we do get the impression that he's undeserving, there's none of the feeling so well bestowed in the book that Iofur is trying to change the bears from their traditional ways to make them more like people. Anyway, that was a big downside for me.

And of course the biggest disappointment of all was the changed ending! I was soooo looking forward to the beautiful, epic, melancholy ending scenes between Asriel and Mrs. Coulter, and of course Lyra's betrayal of Roger. These are such climactic scenes, I just don't think they will be done justice at the start of the next film. I guess I'll have to watch Golden Compass and Subtle Knife back-to-back to keep the right flow. I wish they could release an extended version on DVD so we don't have to wait. Dakota is definitely going to look older in the next movie too, so it's going to look weird to have the first few scenes with her looking young, then the rest of the movie where she ages a year or two. Or if they reshoot the ending scenes that should've been in Golden Compass- I don't think that would be right either. *sigh*

Anyway, just had to get that off my chest. Time to go read the Subtle Knife for the 10th time.
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Postby TowerDragon » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:14 am

yes the books are a masterpiece and the film will never match the books ever as a fan I really don't know how it will go with people who have not read the books. I really want to hear reviews from them. Overall I thought that the film was well done.
Things i liked
Ragnar having a doll of Ms Coulter he acually had the Doll how cool is that :D
Iorek with the whiskey when Lyra meets him for the first time
Ms Coulter slapping the Golden Monkey and having the mark on her face.
The Bear fight was great Is THAT ALLLLLLLLLLL boom no jaw :D
Dakota was wonderful a Lyra no real complaints :crazy:
Sam Elliot was Great as Lee



Things that bugged me
Lyra hiding under the table in Bolvanger
Tony Costa Did he die or not? (was not made very clear to me)
The ending of course but if the next two movies get made i can live with it (though it works)
Ice Bridge better if left like it was in the book
Choppy Editing and moved to fast
I do agree with Whohash the Dæmon cage scene should of been included it was very chilling in the book

But overall i really enjoyed it one of the better book adaptions i have seen IMHO :D
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Postby Phit » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:32 am

Here we are :)

I had a great deal more that bothered me the first viewing than the second viewing. Honestly going into it knowing I was writing a review didn't help. The second viewing I was such a sap I cried as Roger stood by his Lyra (just from knowing what was to come...sometime...perhaps as the most expensive DVD extra ever) ...and yes that was at the world premiere in the theater. No one noticed though.

I loved the bear fight - damn. I knew the dæmon deaths were a hit the moment I first saw them, and every adult actor as well as the children are just ...spot on. Any time you've got Dakota screaming on screen it just yells petulance and unrestraint - I wonder that one Bolvangar doctor didn't get bruises getting smacked away like that.

My favorite lines! "Bears! Who is your king!" "To fight him is all I want. Come little dæmon." Iorek, through and through. John Faa's theme owns my soul. 1-5,10,12, and 18 on the soundtrack over and over. The music is so enormously wonderful - I hope everyone sees this in a theater with irrationally loud speakers. The first screening had them and it was powerful the second one didn't and I missed it.

Nicole Kidman blew me away. Foot in mouth I hated her for the role and she was absolutely stunning and entirely perfect. McKellan was fine. I wish like hell Nonso would've been kept in that role, but McKellan wasn't - obviously - bad for it.

What I hated, what I honestly hated and it disturbs me so much and yet others might not even notice so please don't read this part then if you think I'll be spoiling a bit of enjoyment forever - is the goodbye with Iorek. It's awkward as hell, I'm damn sure Svalbard's got an ocean between it and Bolvangar (those maps...I made those maps it was not fun finding Trollesund and Bolvangar but the lil ole' island/archipelago Svalbard was fair easy) and worst of all, inexcusable to me - where's Pan? Is he so unconcerned that he and Lyra are about to die? Honestly, not even a voice telling Lyra to be careful! It's very obvious this should be the true goodbye between Lyra and Iorek and that's why Pan would create this "third character." But it just doesn't work to have your dæmon, your dear soul, totally ignoring your perilous crossing over the ice bridge.

On Tony Costa: weird, right? (I think you mean Billy Costa, the severed one - no he didn't die) but Tony's weird. He got a little action figure made of him - at least in initial designs - and wasn't even introduced!
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Postby fbi_woman » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:59 am

I noticed all of those things too, but it didn't really bother me. I went wanting to enjoy it, so I did, and I went oh that's diff from the book, eh, and took it for what it was.

It was 2 hours long and they didn't do the entire book, so I don't really think it's necessary for it to be longer. 3 hours is a long time to sit through, and for a first movie in a series, I think it's better not to put out the 3 hours right away. Then if this movie is big, the next one can be longer cuz you know people will want to stick it out and be really excited about it.

There's always gonna be things that get lost from book to movie, and I really didn't think this one was as bad as say, HP3, where my friends who didn't read the book were like wtf I don't get it. Yeah, it was a lot to get through so it came a little fast, but I think they did well in choosing what to cut and what to change.

As for the battles, I too noticed the no blood in the bear fight which at first I was kinda like ehhh but I mean, even though it is PG-13, it's still being marketed to kids, so you have to be careful just how graphic and violent you make things. Seeing a bear crack another's neck and bite its throat and it drop dead is pretty decent violence level for a movie to take ur kids to without a bunch of blood and prolonged fighting I think.

I don't know. I always have this problem with movie-to-film things. I'm like really understanding of changing things for the general non-reading public and fittings things in, maybe it's from my stage background, idk where it comes from, but it never bothers me when things are changed, and I've never felt that a movie doesn't do a good book justice. I just take things for how they are instead of looking at what wasn't.
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Postby effessemm » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:16 am

Saw the preview--relieved and thrilled!

I don't mind many of the changes at all--some I actually see as improvements on the source material. I thought I was being blasphemous ;) by thinking this, but I've now read Pullman's thoughts on the movie, and am glad to have some similar thoughts. Some changes I didn't like, of course, but all in all, I thought the movie was a blast.

Best thing/surprise: Dakota. From clips, trailers, etc., I honestly had low hopes. Hence my glee now: she is BRILLIANT as Lyra. I can't believe she hasn't acted before! Astounding performance that defies being overshadowed by the other great stars of the film, of which Kidman deserves a plug (Pitch. Perfect.).

I've written a full review for those interested (spoilers, of course, because I sometimes compare the book to it): here.

It's not that I'm super forgiving in terms of how they changed the movie...it's more that I really do appreciate some of the changes; just not a purist, but I wouldn't say super compromising fan, either.

I think this will be the hit New Line was looking for--the theatre I was in seemed riveted, and quite appreciative by the (generally blandly sung and uninterestingly composed "theme") closing credits.
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Postby daftbrain » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:24 am

effessemm wrote:I've written a full review for those interested (spoilers, of course, because I sometimes compare the book to it): here.


That's a great, very comprehensive review; one of the best I've seen yet. Thanks for typing it all up. :)
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Postby effessemm » Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:35 am

Hey, it was my pleasure, daftbrain! (Boy I hope that doesn't sound like I'm heckilng you--with a name like that..!) ;)

Glad you liked it! It needed to be done, anyway, as a way to relieve the post-excitement of the movie!

EDIT: Updated to my review as well, but I thought I'd post it here, too, because I didn't see this negative point (IMO) raised about the movie:

Just recalled perhaps the reason that prevented a 100% rating--I feel they failed at establishing just how precious the Dæmon/human relationship is, and how horrid and unnatural it would be to be separated. Yes, they communicate this--but no one's acting reflected this enough to me. Not even Dakota, who was again, delightful. For example, I thought Pan's fear when they approached the fish hut was far more moving and convincing. When she subsequently concludes what intercision is inside, I saw a frightened Lyra, but, **not a horrified, repulsed, in total shock Lyra. It was anti-climatic. Same thing goes for the Gyptian reaction to the boy--too easily accepted. I mean, we're talking about your soul here--actually, saying it now, I think it would've been much improved with a few more mentions of that word, "soul." It's in the intro, but I'm not sure if it's present later, so people might've forgotten this vital fact that needed to be struck home: it's your soul! It's like cutting away your SOUL! I mean, all they kept saying is, "Don't worry, Billy, we'll find your Ratter," as if losing a Dæmon is a common occurrence, that it was just misplaced somewhere (recall Billy=Tony Makarios). I definitely got that Lyra and Pan were close--but it didn't seem sufficiently strange or freakish enough to them regarding severed people.
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Postby SoggyFrog » Sun Dec 02, 2007 9:47 am

Difficult for me to speak since I haven't really seen many direct film adaptations of literature I'd also read. There are excellent ones, but this is not one of those.

It is visually satisfying, which, in the context of Pullman's novels, should count for something. It communicates in some way all of the essential elements, but its time constraints are obvious, because most of the film does not come across smoothly. If I was discussing this film with any other audience, it would be appropriate to speak more generously. There is a lot of accomplish, and much of it is accomplished (for example, the ability of Dakota to fill her role), I guess it's that there's just no room given for a strong, binding theme or idea.
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Postby TowerDragon » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:17 am

ill be seeing it a few more times over the next couple of weeks so ill probly find more to complain about. :lol: I did mean Billy was half asleep when i wrote that Daft thanks. :D
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Postby SnoWolFire » Sun Dec 02, 2007 11:55 am

It's only coming out 6th December here ; ;

But, I will definitely see it 6th December, since I don't have school in the afternoon ;D
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Postby whohash83 » Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:52 pm

Ok, I've slept on it but sadly I still feel pretty much the same way about the film as I did last night. I don't consider myself a book purist by any means and have been very accepting and forgiving of the changes that have taken place over the past couple months in post-production like McKellen as Iorek, the removal of the last three chapters, the watering down of the religious elements, etc. However, like I said in my actual review, there were quite a few very good individual scenes but the film as a whole doesn't flow very well and there are some weird transitions and not enough screen time for any of the adults. It's not a terrible movie at all but as far as re-watchability goes, I not sure if I plan on seeing it again in theatres. There were just too many noticeable changes that personally irked me. If the film had been edited differently I'm sure it would have been a terrific movie that I would have loved, but things just move so quickly and there is no character development, and no real explanation of Dust or what the Magisterium is or even what Dæmon truly are and why they are so important to their human counterparts.

Speaking of Dæmon, I didn't think the severing scene with Lyra was as traumatic for me as it is in the novel. Also, Billy should have died after Lyra found him in the trappers hut but because he didn't the audience is left with the idea that he'll be just fine when in reality he'll NEVER be the same and will probably die very soon. It's just details like this which I think should have been included to help flesh out the movie.

So in collusion, it was a decent/good film but not quite the masterpiece I was dearly hoping for. I do give Chris Weitz props for his efforts, though. HDM is a very difficult book to adapt and he did a pretty good job despite obvious studio interference. I just hope the other two films get a green light. It would be really sad if New Line left the trilogy after the first book.

**EDIT**

I've read quite a few positive reviews from people over at the IMDB boards who saw the sneak last night like I did and it makes me think that perhaps I need to watch the film again to appreciate it on a more cinematic level instead of comparing it to the novel. I'll try to give it another go this weekend and then see how I feel. That’s probably the fair thing to do. =)
Last edited by whohash83 on Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


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Postby GBeahm » Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:06 pm

I think Pullman (in his own review of the movie) nailed it when he said it wasn't "perfect" and then added that his book wasn't perfect, either. What he's saying in between the lines is that it's really not possible with a major motion picture to please all the people all the time, and that's certainly true with this film.

I did get to the sneak preview and I think most of the people in the audience were people who knew the book, so the element of confusion with severing Dæmon and Dust was minimized. The audience clapped loudly when Iorek defeated the Great Pretender (as I call him) Bear, and they clapped at the end of the movie, as well.

For my own part, I feel that the movie serves a duty that goes beyond the movie itself: It brings moviegoers to the books, where they can read the original text in the way the author intended. Keeping in mind that it took Pullman seven years to write His Dark Materials, and also keeping in mind that Pullman is a very careful and deliberate writer, everything you see in the book is EXACTLY what he has intended.

Bottom line, then: If you go to the movie and enjoy it, fine; there's always the book. I see adaptations based on a book -- be they audio, stage, or film -- be be just that: adaptations with changes necessarily made to adapt to the demands and requirements of another medium. And when I want to get the true flavor of Lyra's world, I go back to the book, and things are exactly the way they should be.
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Postby Desmond Hume » Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:29 pm

I did not have very high expectations for this movie.
I was impressed. I did not think this movie would evoke the emotions and awesomeness of the book, but I was wrong. This movie was INCREDIBLE.
The only minor complaints I have are:
It was very short. I personally enjoyed the fast pace, but I thought there could be scenes.
The ending. I told my friends what's going to happen to the little ugly kid (srsly, wtf, did Roger need to be so ugly?) in the first scene of the next movie and they all lold hard. Seriously, the whole "we can do it" thing will piss people off at the next movie.
And then the past recedes and I won't be involved

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Postby Aeshaettr » Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:50 pm

I have to agree with all of those who were disappointed by this movie. Nevermind the ending; I felt that the whole thing was so rushed and haphazardly strung together, that I can't help but think that anyone who hadn't read the books must have left the theater scratching their heads and shouting WTF. Other things I disliked:

1. The near-complete transformation of the Magisterium from a religious authority to a totalitarian secular one. From the police uniforms to the "M" logo, there was virtually nothing left of the religious aspect of the group, other than one slight glimpse of paintings of saints on the wall in Trollesund before Iorek smashed through.

2. The attempted poisoning by Pavel, rather than the Master. One thing that's great about HDM is that the characters are nuanced; few are purely good or evil, including L & W. This change was clearly done to create more of a black-and-white POV. In this version, the Master is unambiguously good, rather than someone who is willing to do something he sees as morally abhorrent in the name of serving something he sees as a higher good.

3. The lack of shock when Billy comes back sans demon. I didn't mind that they combined two characters here; however, no one blinked an eye when he came back on his own. His mother's response was something like, "don't worry, we'll find your Dæmon." No way. She would have been pounding her chest, screaming, crying. Instead she responded like he had lost a pet.

4. More, more more ....

What I DID like:

1. Casting. Everyone was superb. From Lyra, to Coulter to Asriel, it was spot on, and it will be impossible for me to visualize these characters any other way from now on. And I can't wait to see what Christopher Lee does with Boreal if they manage to make the sequels.

2. Production design. Again, amazing. Exactly what I thought Lyra's world would look like. Captured that steampunk aesthetic just right in almost every way. Bolvangar was spot on, as was Svalbard, though I would have liked to see more of the latter.

3. Special effects. Dæmon looked great, and the way they showed them vanishing in the battle scenes was perfect.

Sigh. At this point, I almost hope they don't make the sequels. There was just so much wrong with this one, that I can't imagine what they'd do with them -- especially TAS, given the fact that in the battle of good v. evil, the bad guys are the Authority and his minions. Strip that of its religious context, and it'll be utterly pointless.
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