For those who've been following this as a news item, the film adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass has hit the screens. This would be a bit of a yawner for me if it weren't for the fact that certain Christians (notably Catholic League head and professional culture warrior Bill Donohue) are making a huge deal of the fact that Pullman (a non-believer) has peopled his imaginary fantasy world with a band of villianous vicars called the Magisterium, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Holy Mother Church.

My friends with CVAAS (Central Valley Alliance of Atheists and Skeptics) went with some Christians and local ABC-TV news reporter Liz Harrison to check out the action and pretty much the whole crowd reported some disappointment with the film, either in terms of its tone, its difficult-to-follow plot, or both.

I wouldn't mention this at all, though, except for the fact that one young man who has attended one CVAAS meeting reports that the consequences for coming out as a 'non-believer.' His parents suggested that he might want to find another place to live. I'm kind of scratching my head over this one, frankly. If the first response of Christians who encounter doubt within the family group is to put their kid on the street, then how deep, really, is their own faith?


Amanda said...

I plan to see this movie, and I'm quite curious as to how it will measure up to the book. I read the book when all the hullaballoo started, and to be honest, I loved it. But I found the book to be hard to follow in places, so I can only imagine how confusing the movie might end up being.

Ian H Spedding FCD said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the film simply because it looks like good entertainment (although, as an ageing Trekkie, I'm really looking forward to the next Star Trek movie) but I'd never heard of Bill Pullman or the books before.

Toning down the anti-religious sentiments of the books no doubt made good commercial sense although they might have taken note of the success of the TV show Stargate SG-1 in which almost all the villains were powerful aliens who posed as gods in order to enslave and exploit others.

Ian H Spedding FCD said...

"Bill Pullman"? Oops, I meant Philip Pullman, of course.

Spock forgive me.

Ian H Spedding FCD said...

Having now seen the movie, I'm moved to wonder what all the fuss was about. If I hadn't read about the anti-Catholic sentiments of the books beforehand, I doubt if I would have interpreted the film in that way. Yes, you could see similarities between the Magisterium and the Catholic Church but you would have to be a remarkably thin-skinned Christian to find it offensive - based on this first movie, at least.

I thought it was a highly-entertaining fantasy adventure. As is now the custom with this type of blockbuster, they'd pulled out all the stops on the CGI special effects and they're very impressive although they still aren't quite good enough to be indistinguishable from the real thing.

One thing, I'm now convinced our cats are "daemons", though, as the accompany us wherever we go - as far as we let them, anyway.