The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials)

Okay..., we saw the "sneak preview" of The Golden Compass last night, the movie adaption of Philip Pullman's novel Northern Lights. Heres the author's take on his experience.

* spoilers ahead * (of course!)

We saw the movie in Camarillo, California and the theater was full. Many viewers were having a really good time. There weren't any dedicated protesters and no voice of dissent was heard before, during or after the movie. It's not a standard, stupid kid movie. The kids were doing things. It wasn't all cute frenzy stuff.

The story is definitely streamlined from the novel but they got in many of the pertinent scenes; I especially liked the proverbial, crumbling ice bridge scene. But..., my family (who have not read the book) were able to follow the narrative even though I thought it moved at a breath-taking pace. They understood the concept of external, visible souls. For myself, it was the sort of fantastical movie with wondrous occurences that I appreciate in a motion picture.

I was a bit surprised that the movie ended in the second-to-last chapter. But..., my family (who have not read the book) appreciated the reasonably "up" ending after learning the actions of Lyra's parents.

Nicole Kidman finally has a role suited to her. She often looks mean and in this movie she can really stretch her dramatic chops to "psycho bitch."

Daniel Craig did a good job. My son thought, "Good Bond movie but then in Casino Royale Bond was a son-of-a-bitch."

The polar bear could have been almost any graduate of the Royal Academy. Honestly, I can't tell the difference between the voices of Patrick Steward, Peter Woodward, Nicol Williamson or Ian McKlellen (who played Iorek Byrnison the armored bear....

Dakota Blue Richards also did a good job considering this is her first job (and it's carrying a motion picture).

Sam Elliot gets to play... Sam Elliot.

Supporting actor Ben Walker (Roger) and Charlie Rowe (Billy Costa) definitely held their own as Lyra's friends given their screen time. Very charismatic players all.

My wife's convinced that Hattie Morahan (Sister Clara) stole the movie as the "Mr Bumble of Oliver Twist." Her small, subtle part provided quite a juxtaposition between her and the children.

My son observed, "In a book, when they tell you where you need to go, the book can tell you what the hell that place is. But in the movie, you don't have that opportunity. I found myself getting confused ... about wherever they needed to go." But the "Jackson approach" of showing the map and having the characters pointing at it help some.

I think what some people take too personally is the criticism that those in power become corrupted by it. Even those who've thrown down the tyranny that became before it. The moral should be: tyranny by anybody over anybody is the crime--not that this, particular group has it in for that particular group.

~ ~ ~

Here's a professional review of the movie.


Six years ago, George Bush "said he "directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible [for the hijacked airliner attacks] and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

Last week, Bill O'Reilly's column exhibited a fascinating acceptance of a remarkable article of faith: "...the neighboring government of Pakistan allows both the Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuary. U.S. and NATO forces are not allowed to hunt down the bad guys inside Pakistan; thus, they have a safe place from which to launch attacks."

For six years, our forces have stopped at the border of Afghanistan and not crossed over into provinces of Pakistan!
Now if O'Reilly really was the curmudgeonly centrist he claims to be, he has ample reason to criticize the president. But instead, O'Reilly doesn't mention George W. Bush at all.

It's like George W Bush never existed. Now that's a conspiracy theory worth investigating.

Health o' the Planet

The jellyfish covered an area of up to 10 square miles and a depth of 35 feet.

...Managing director John Russell said he had never seen anything like this in 30 years in the business. "The sea was red with these jellyfish and there was nothing we could do about, it, absolutely nothing," he said.

~ ~ ~

They're back...!

Further huge jellyfish swarms have now been reported off the coast of Scotland.... The salmon farm hit by a massive jellyfish attack last week has confirmed its only remaining site has now been wiped out as well. ...workers are still continuing with the mammoth task of clearing away the hundreds of thousands of dead fish for incineration....


Nerd alert: My adult autist son and I attended the Stargate/Battlestar convention in Burbank this past weekend.


Not really.

Will it fix the world?


...one day a time.

Arctic skies

Okay, my next interestis to understand the motions of the moon from the perspective of the north polar regions. I understand the motions of the sun pretty well... but how often does the moon peek above the polar horizon?

Research continues...


The muse is silent and distant.

I've been chasing errands
and the muse has moved on.

An ...atrophy grips and
chokes the song,
trips and stumbles the dance,
muddies and messes the paint.

Pain and confusion grow
like crabgrass.