16 January 2008

Not so "Golden Compass"

Well I'm buried under personal projects and activities. But I wanted to surface long enough to comment on Pullman's The Golden Compass & the movie adaptation. SPOILER ALERT!

I just finished reading the 1st two sections of Compass and I'm compelled to go no further. Here are my reasons. 1. I am too busy to do so. 2. I already know where the trilogy is going. 3. The movie adaptation did not follow the book closely enough. 4. No more movies are likely to be made in the trilogy.

Point 3 needs more information. I took my father to see it during Christmas (of all times) & was impressed with the animation. So was my father, except he was not impressed when he discovered that we weren't watching National Treasure. He had that movie in mind when I made the suggestion to watch Compass. I hope his congregation were not boycotting the movie! My bad, dad. I found the movie shamelessly grasping at the plot-line, rushing over details and transitions, & finally--did not finish the book. That's right! The movie only finished the 1st two parts of the book's material. The other big failure is that the movie adaptation seemed to mask the book's culprits (the Church) behind a flat & vague concept of grown-ups. Gotta hate those grown-ups! If the director did this to make a buck, it back-fired. The movie was too short compared to other recent hits (Narnia, LOTR) & only scored with its dose of big names and fancy animation. Where I come from we call that "lip-stick and rouge". That phrase means there is no substance so ya have to dress it up to appeal to a shallow audience.

I'm not saying the book is poorly written, though. I think it is a good read overall. But coursework and ministry are calling so I will put down the toys and pick up the tools.

Posts for a while will be my responses to material I'm reading for coursework. It will be philosophical material, but my treatment of it will be my own.

02 January 2008


The Journey of the Magi

'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For the journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins,
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death,
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

~T. S. Eliot