The trailer has arrived, giving us a tantalising glimpse at the wonderful world that is now confirmed for release on the 7th of December this year! Filming is underway, and with a budget of 150 million dollars- 56 million more than New Line Cinema’s first mammoth undertaking. It's going to be a cracking film.
Speaking of which, The Fellowship of the Ring, first in the Lord of the Rings saga and New Line's primary attempt at a fantasy trilogy, grossed a massive 870 million dollars- nearly 100 times the original budget of 94 million. If His Dark Materials can at least match that, we know that it’s a success! And how could it not be? Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green- three of the most sought-after celebrities in the world- each play a starring role in The Golden Compass, and should be present from Jordan College to the Botanic Gardens- hopefully attracting Casino Royale and Cold Mountain fans alike. With such a wide range of attraction, it’s almost a foregone conclusion.
Direction is by Chris Weitz, who famously created About a Boy, and infamously spawned Antz, but most, including myself, remain quietly confident that he will have built upon the techniques and skill he used in the former and will make a masterpiece.
Like the Lord of the Rings, the trilogy of His Dark Materials books contain a great deal of background and information. It’s sad, but not all of the books will make it into the films. Although fans of the books will watch a film eight hours long and completely accurate, it would not be such a good introduction to the series.
Neatly, this brings me on to another subject. What will be in the films that was not in the books? Images, for one. The computer graphical content of the series will be, if the teaser trailer is anything to go by, a rival for both Star Wars and Final Fantasy alike. The inclusion of dæmon changes, which had been feared for exclusion by many, has come both as a relief and a new set of worries. But again, these have been sated by the trailer, displaying both a work-in-progress and an impressive completed sequence, changing a dog to a butterfly- probably one of the greater differences between animals.
Music is the second aspect of the films that was absent in the books. There has been wild and rampant discussion over which song would match which part of which book, sometimes verging on heated debate. The composer has been set as Alexandre Desplat, who penned the soundtrack to the Girl with a Pearl Earring in 2003, and The Queen in 2006. With a massive total of 10 Oscar nominations and 5 Oscar wins, it seems he is, as with nearly every aspect of these films, a fantastic choice.
It looks like New Line have done it again; they've got a perfect cast, a fantastic director who's relatively unknown and quite reclusive, and the cream of the acting world alongside new and unknown figures, and with a brilliant soundtrack, it looks like the films will be perfect too.