Posted By: Byzantophile The Golden Compass - 12/02/07 02:32 AM
I'm not sure if anyone has started a thread on this topic so I thought I'd bring it up. The newspaper for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, The Catholic Standard & Times, has an article about the new movie The Golden Compass. It's a blatantly anti-Christian, specifically anti-Catolic, film geared toward children. The movie is based on the first of a series of books by Philip Pullman. There was one story, in the Standard & Times article, of a Catholic child who had been read the book in his public school and was scared to go to Mass afterward.

Have the Eastern Catholic periodicals picked up on this? It is certainly a movie that would be dangerous for children to see.

Here's wht the Catholic League has to say:

Posted By: Alice Re: The Golden Compass - 12/02/07 02:35 AM
I received an e-mail from an Orthodox today that had an Orthodox priest's commentary on this. It is actually covertly Atheistic...I will look up that e-mail and share more later.

Posted By: Byzantophile Re: The Golden Compass - 12/03/07 08:07 PM
Were you ever able to find the e-mail?
Posted By: Nathan Re: The Golden Compass - 12/03/07 08:26 PM
For some reason I wasn't able to copy or paste this, but Snopes confirms that this movie is based on anti-Christian books, and has some background info.

You've probably seen the previews for "The Golden Compass", but don't let the Hollywood hype and creative footage lure you into believing this is a good family film for the Christmas season. Pastor Pauley begins an in-depth five part examination of what this movie is based on and why it is an anti-Christian.

Check it out on www.ezraweb.com [ezraweb.com] under Feature Articles_The Daily Blender.

This is a must read for all Christians, especially Christian parents!
Damage control is underway. I was just watching CNN network news on cable, and they mentioned the movie, and that Christian groups think that it advocates atheism. The movie's producers say that it is simply a fantasy movie and that it does not promote atheism...

Unfortunately, there is always a 'boomerang' effect in such situations. The publicity of the debate often gives the movies more revenue than if we were to say nothing...somehow the adage that you are 'damned if you do and damned if you don't' comes to mind...

I believe that no matter what we do or say, the devil is in control in these times we are living. frown

In Christ,

Well said, Alice.

What boggles my mind is the sheer failure of Hollywood to meet the demand for Christian entertainment. Christianity is the largest religion on the planet --2 billion members, and growing, by conversions!-- and yet this kind of . . . stuff . . . is offered. Maybe the devil really is in control. If Hollywood simply had a love for money, they would be making quality Christian entertainment for the 2 billion Christians !

-- John

This has been going on for a while. I think it was in the 1940s, here in Philadelphia, that Cardinal Dougherty banned all Latin Catholics, under pain of mortal sin, from attending the movies for a month or so. Apparently, the content of movies out at that time were very scandalous. Sadly, they'd probably get a PG-13 rating to-day.
The Wednesday before this last Thanksgiving I had the misfortune of visiting relatives when they were watching some primetime TV show, I don't know which one it was. But it was around 6-7pm that the show they were watching turned and inserted a sex scene into the plot. I'm not sure what the plot was, I was trying to read, but seeing the scene so blatantly inserted into what could have been depicted through suggestion only brought me to take joy in the fact that I do not watch such shows and don't watch TV. What angered me was that Rachel's little sisters where in and about the two rooms where the show was playing and the relatives in question and the other adults did nothing to suggest that such a program should not be shown to children.

The problem with The Golden Compass is not exactly the same, but I would be as shocked to see parents allow their children to read books where God is killed and the Church is depicted as a force of evil and manipulation. Both that show and the books undermine good teaching and may affect the spiritual development of their audience.

By Martha Brockenbrough
Special to MSN Movies

"The Golden Compass" might win the award for most famous book you probably haven't read.

It has won numerous awards for literary excellence, and plenty of criticism for the way it portrays organized religion. Still, despite a recent surge in sales, the book isn't well known outside fantasy circles.

This movie ought to change all that.

Variety review: 'Golden Compass' Impressive but Uninviting

Writer/director Chris Weitz has crafted a smart, swift and exciting adaptation. It's not quite the thrill that was "The Lord of the Rings," but it makes for great entertainment -- easily one of the season's best movies, and one of the best fantasy adaptations you'll see.

Weitz's skill as a writer is part of what makes this movie excellent. He earned an Oscar nomination for his work on Nick Hornby's "About a Boy," and he does magnificently with "The Golden Compass." Fans of the book will be pleased to know the story is intact, if compressed. For the most part, the changes he makes are smart ones that enable those new to the story to leap right into the action.

The movie's other great strength is its cast: Nicole Kidman as the cool and cruel Marisa Coulter, Daniel Craig as the bold and rebellious Lord Asriel, Sir Ian McKellen as the voice of the armored bear, and young Dakota Blue Richards as the compass-reading Lyra.

The main weakness of the movie is its brevity. At just under two hours, it's a swift trip, occasionally at the expense of some of the story's central relationships.

The story unfolds in a parallel universe where people travel with their souls outside their bodies, encapsulated in animals called "daemons." That world is at a crossroads. The ruling power, a religious organization called the Magisterium, aims to keep people obedient and ignorant about a substance called Dust. Lord Asriel, an intrepid researcher, wants to unlock the secrets of Dust.

Meanwhile, a group called the Gobblers is kidnapping children for mysterious purposes. They snatch the best friend of an 11-year-old girl named Lyra, who possesses a strange golden device that enables her to see the truth about things.

Lyra sets out to rescue her best friend Roger, which takes her from her universe's version of Oxford across an ocean and to the Arctic plains. She is pursued by Mrs. Coulter and helped by witches, boatmen and bears. Lord Asriel, meanwhile, makes his own trip to the world's northern edge.

It's an accomplished adaptation, perfectly cast, and will be the crown jewel of the holiday movie season for fantasy aficionados.

What's in It for Kids

"The Golden Compass" is rated PG-13 for "sequences of fantasy violence." Though the violence isn't bloody, it is realistic and frightening. Kids aren't spared any cruelty in the film and, in fact, take the brunt of it. It's definitely not an appropriate choice for young or sensitive children.

Although a child plays the main role, and although "The Golden Compass" is marketed as a juvenile book, this isn't a kids' story. It is thematically sophisticated -- about the nature of free will, among other things -- and much of that will fly right over the heads of younger viewers.

This doesn't mean there aren't delightful elements for children, though. The human beings get daemons, a dream come true for any animal-loving child. What's more, the story has flying witches and armored polar bears. The fantastic elements are a feast for young eyes -- just not younger than, say, 10.

What's in It for Grown-ups

Some have called for a "Golden Compass" boycott because the movie allegedly promotes atheism. This charge doesn't bear out on-screen. The movie does make free will seem pretty darned attractive, though. And most religious people probably have faith strong enough to withstand the effects of a movie that isn't even two hours long. That's one of the benefits of that free-will thing.

(Story Continues On Next Page...)


Page 1 of 2

Posted on Wed, Dec. 05, 2007

Catholic bishops give thumbs-up to `Golden Compass'

"The Golden Compass" � and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
trilogy of novels on which it is based � has been criticized in some
quarters for being anti-religious and specifically anti-Catholic.

But the U.S. Conference of Bishops recently issued its official
review of the film � and it's a rave.

Writing for the Catholic News Service (catholicnews. com), critics
Harry Forbes and John Mulderig call the movie "lavish, well-acted and

"The good news," they write, "is that the first book's explicit
references to this church have been completely excised, with only the
term Magisterium retained. The choice is still a bit unfortunate,
however, as the word refers so specifically to the church's teaching
authority. Yet the film's only clue that the Magisterium is a
religious body comes in the form of the icons which decorate one of
their local headquarters.

"Most moviegoers with no foreknowledge of the books or Pullman's
personal belief system will scarcely be aware of religious
connotations, and can approach the movie as a pure fantasy-adventure.
This is not the blatant real-world anti-Catholicism of, say, the
recent `Elizabeth: The Golden Age' or `The Da Vinci Code.' Religious
elements, as such, are practically nil."

While noting that "Pullman's fanciful universe has a patchwork feel,
with elements culled from other fantasy-adventure stories � most
especially The Chronicles of Narnia (a work Pullman disdains)," the
review goes on to say that the film has "hardly a dull moment."

Whatever Pullman's motives in writing the story, the film "can be
viewed as an exciting adventure story with, at its core, a
traditional struggle between good and evil and a generalized
rejection of authoritarianism, " the review says. "To the extent that
Lyra" � the movie's young heroine � "and her allies are taking a
stand on behalf of free will in opposition to the coercive force of
the Magisterium, they are of course acting entirely in harmony with
Catholic teaching. The heroism and self-sacrifice that they
demonstrate provide appropriate moral lessons �

"Is Pullman trying to undermine anyone's belief in God? Leaving the
books aside and focusing on what has ended up on screen, the script
can reasonably be interpreted in the broadest sense as an appeal
against the abuse of political power."

Addressing the question of whether the film may inspire teens to read
the books, the writers suggest that "rather than banning the movie or
books, parents might instead take the opportunity to talk through any
thorny philosophical issues with their teens."

The religious themes of the later books may be more prominent in the
follow-up films, they note, but for now "this film � altered, as it
is, from its source material � rates as intelligent and well-crafted
entertainment. "

Well, if this is true, then that is a good thing.

In Christ,
I haven't seen the movie, but I suspect that it's been watered down a bit, from what I've heard. One of my eighth-grade students told me the book was boring, so he suspected the movie would be, too.
I read the book for revirw purposes. Well, the trilogy.

Its sort of like "Left Behind" in a way. What sells the book is the concept, not the execution.

Both books have extremely weak plotlines, that ar epoorly developed, and centre arond poorly developed Charecters.

The personalities in "His Dark MAterials" seldom to never become three dimensional persons, and exist soley as outhperices for the authros Propoganda.

In fact, jsust as wiht Left Behind, they will foten stop the action in order to deliver a Seron, albeit an Anti-Christain one about how horrible rleigion is, manipualrtive and cruel the Chruhc is, and ow much a Tyrant and liar God is.

The plot plods along, slowly, wiht the firts book beign vastly superir tot he second, which is vastly superior to the third, which exists soley to tell you that the CHristain rleigion is a lie, and hatefulm and a mistake, and the CHurch eixsts to excersise cntrole and dominate and keep midns closed, and how much a brutal ictator God is.

The hatred of God and CHristainity is obvious in book three, which read smor elike Richard Dawkisn non-Fictional "The God Dilusion" than anythign lse.

As with Left Behind, ther eis no subtlely, and no plot dvelopment beyind what is needed ot advance the otry in the needed difrection.

Its poorly wrotten, btu embraced by certian elites in the media and academia because of its subject matter only.
Catholic bishops give thumbs-up to `Golden Compass'

"The Golden Compass" � and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
trilogy of novels on which it is based � has been criticized in some
quarters for being anti-religious and specifically anti-Catholic.

But the U.S. Conference of Bishops recently issued its official
review of the film � and it's a rave.

This is a media spin that was mentioned on the news yesterday. (Odd no?) The USCCB has not given any official approval. Apparently this guy is one of the movie reviewers for this publication. Many Catholic bishops are calling for his dismissal.
Well, folks, I don't think we have a whole lot to worry about. The film is being universally panned by critics, and most film reviewers (whose opinions I trust), even if they give the film a moderately positive spin, find the thing so confusing that the plot line is difficult to follow.

So, like the hoo-ha surrounding the DaVinci Code film, this controversy will die the slow death of a poorly made film.
Apparently (according to Bill Donohue on Friday evening) the organizations of Atheists in USA and England love Pullman's books and were very disappointed that Hollywood "watered down" the militant anti-Catholicism in the movie.

Donohue's suspicion has been that the real issue is that like other "movie franchises" they were looking for 3 movies, reflecting the 3 books in the triology, plus, and more importantly, tie-ins to the books (a la Lord of the Rings) and merchandising revenues. That will depend on the success of this movie.

Apparently, the books themselves are a) aimed at teenage fantasy readers, and b) militantly atheistic, antireligious, and particularly, anti-Catholic. The Catholic League's take for months now has been that Pullman and the Atheists are hoping for big sales of the books as the payoff to their ideology.

Pullman's Atheism & AntiCatholicism [catholicleague.org]

The above link contains many quotes directly from Pullman, where he shows the tenor of his anti-religiosity. (Click on the PDF pamphlet icon on the left of the main page, and then on the link that shows up.)

Pullman's reasoning for not getting upset about how the film version was 'cleaned up' and left several elements out was that if this film was a box office hit he'd be able to include the more controversial (read anti-Christian) elements in the following two movies.

If the opening weekend box office take is anything to go by ... he might have some trouble with that.
i saw some thing on cnn that just ticked me off in one of the previews on this movie i saw icons of i think saint anne and saint peter and saint paul all along a church opening

just watch this and you will know what i mean
They seem covered with soot, but they are there. I wonder what the designer was thinking.

The big problem is, it is well recieved in Europe and Asia.

Even thoguht h reviewrs in the UK seem to indicTE The movie is poorly made, tey reccomend it glowingly. The reaosn is the same as the books, because they agree wihtthe Agenda.

I worry that persecutions may arise in Europe and kno hey already exist in Asia.
Originally Posted by DangerousDan
i saw some thing on cnn that just ticked me off in one of the previews on this movie i saw icons of i think saint anne and saint peter and saint paul all along a church opening

just watch this and you will know what i mean

Good find, Dan. I think you are spot on. Those ARE icons...the whole wall looks like an iconostasis!
Posted By: Anna Re: The Golden Compass - 12/13/07 01:39 AM
Dangerous Dan you are correct. The Archbishop of Denver points this out (in his critical and negative review of the movie) in the Denver Catholic Register: (posted on the Archdiocesan website)

When a warrior Ice Bear � one of the heroes of the story � breaks into the local Magisterium headquarters to take back the armor stolen from him, the exterior walls of the evil building are covered with Eastern Christian icons.

I must refrain from saying what I'm thinking...
Posted By: indigo Re: The Golden Compass - 12/13/07 06:04 AM
Hi I ran into this interesting review about Golden Compass on orthodoxytoday.org and thought it was interesting,what think ye?

Posted By: Alice Re: The Golden Compass - 12/13/07 03:15 PM
Originally Posted by indigo
Hi I ran into this interesting review about Golden Compass on orthodoxytoday.org and thought it was interesting,what think ye?


Thanks for the link, Indigo.

I think that it was a good article.

I suppose that the questions asked about 'what is truth' are really no different than some of the questions asked in any college philosophy class. We are surrounded by alternate philosophies and idols, so perhaps this movie is not as dangerous as we think it may be? Ultimately, as the author states, the answers to these questions need to be discussed at home..just as in the early days of Christianity, the home is the seat of learning and planting the seeds of the faith.

It is definitely a bad movie, even though the previews look a little intriguing.
Well said, Alice. My 13-year old daughter pointed to a warning about the movie in our church bulletin and asked what all the fuss was about (she has only seen the movie trailers). When I explained the author's atheism and people's concern about exposing children to this and other negative ideas about the Church she rolled her eyes in typical teen fashion and said "What are you saying, that a polar bear in a movie is going to tell me there is no God and I will believe that?". After thanking God for making her so sensible, I told her if she really wanted to see it we'd do so together and talk about it afterward.

It did remind me of the flap over the DaVinci Code which I finally saw about a year after it was in the theaters. I didn't get it. The movie wasn't that well written and I couldn't believe that people would buy into the fictional conspiracy ideas it was promoting.

Common sense is sometimes the best defense.

Here's another link, again from Orthodoxytoday.org that makes good points.

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