Saturday, December 15, 2007

Daughter & The Golden Compass

The semester complete, the daughter returned from Stanford Thursday evening. We wasted no time getting to the theater to see the film based on the first book of Phillip Pullman's delightful His Dark Materials Trilogy, The Golden Compass. Think Harry Potter plus three grade levels and 25-30 IQ points. Harry Potter with its witches, magic, and total disregard for organized religion put some sand in the panties of the conservative Christian crowd as children flocked in unprecedented droves to devour the books and films.

The collective psyche of humanity continues to evolve, and the dignity of the human spirit makes it unstoppable. We evolve or perish. The evolution is easy to see in the advance of scientific knowledge and mathematics, computer science, and Web 2.0. On the chopping block as we progress are religious intolerance, racism, and misogyny. They are already dead except for the idiots still around that have yet to get it. Unfortunately, there's a lot of them and odds suggest they'll perish with their ignorance intact.

Philip Pullman in some respects represents a backlash to the C.S. Lewis series The Chronicles of Narnia, which Pullman regards as both racist and sexist in its efforts to promote a Christian perspective. The perceptive can see the underlying motifs and themes regarding God, authority, sexuality, good vs. evil, and the concept of self in the cosmos. Lewis reveres authority and ultimate wisdom in a world where children have no concept of sex or physical attraction. Pullman portrays authority as oppressive and malevolent, and in his work, as in Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and reality, boys start looking at girls with a particular longing and vice versa. I had a crush on a girl named Lori in first grade, although I had no idea what to do with it. I sent her note in awkward first grade printing, "I like you."

She replied in equally awkward first grade printing, "I do not like you."

Not surprisingly, some of the religious crowd object to the film. Pullman has acknowledged that he is an atheist.

I won't read the Lewis Chronicles and can't do the Potter books either. At the daughter's request I read the first one. Whatever. The movies provide sufficient awareness for me of all things Potter. I loved reading The Lord of the Rings and also enjoyed the films. At the daughter's request I read Pullman's trilogy and considered it thought provoking and terrific. In terms of box office, the film will probably pay for itself worldwide including DVD, but it's not going to be a cash cow like the Rowling or Tolkien material.


Blogger Sirocco said...

The Narnia books are very Christian, sufficiently so I recall noticing it when I first read them (10 or so). That in no way prevented them from being a terrific read.

The Horse and His Boy was my favorite.

12/16/2007 8:14 AM  
Blogger x4mr said...

I won't argue with you. I read his Mere Christianity which was a respectable piece. I tried to read Out of the Silent Planet, planning to read the whole trilogy, but it didn't hold my interest.

CS Lewis is a long way from LR Hubbard.

12/16/2007 12:07 PM  
Blogger Dustin said...

I liked the chronicles also, as well as the scre tape letter. For me I think voyage of the dawn treader was my favorite. Anyway, if you are looking for some fairly gritty fantasy, give game of thrones a read. It definately covers the shades of gray, altogether different from LoTR (far and away my favorite set of books).

12/17/2007 7:55 AM  

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