A dear friend posted about an e-rumor regarding "The Golden Compass" (that she found at truthorfiction.com, which appears to be a Snopes.com-like site) a movie that, from the trailers, is visually stunning. I imagine it as a book with accompanying pictures that would be beautifully drawn and richly colored.
Too bad the author wrote the book this series belongs to as the "anti-Narnia" ... and it's not just to combat the sales of the Chronicles of Narnia series. Nope, the author meant it to combat the very message that The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (and rest of the series) delivers.
Many view Pullman's books as a response to "The Chronicles of Narnia" but with an emphasis on "scientific materialism" over religion. Pullman has criticized "The Chronicles of Narnia" as "religious propaganda." In 2001 he told Guardian Unlimited "I hate the Narnia books, and I hate them with deep and bitter passion, with their view of childhood as a golden age from which sexuality and adulthood are a falling away."
Baehr describes Pullman as "an avowed atheist who has dedicated his life to undermining Christianity and the church among young readers." He says Pullman "represents God as a decrepit and perverse angel in his novels, who captures the dead in a 'prison camp' afterlife." One fallen angel says:
The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself.
According to Baehr, one heroine in the story turns from the Church when she realizes "there wasn't any God at all and … the Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." The Church just kept her from finding love, thinking freely and pursuing bodily pleasures like sex. The Sunday Times describes the story as "...a quest that takes in the literal death of 'God', who is no more than a wizened, foetus-like invalid...Lyra releases human beings from attachment to the afterlife."
According to "The Golden Compass" web site, a key feature of the film is that "In Lyra's world, a person's soul lives on the outside of their body, in the form of a daemon -- an animal spirit that accompanies them through life." Each of the characters in the film has a daemon, which include birds, monkeys, snow leopards, reptiles, and moths. The web site has a feature to help visitors discover their own daemons by answering a series of questions.
There are voices from among Christians who support Pullman. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has proposed that "His Dark Materials" be taught in schools as religious education. His is among voices who view Pullman's writings as an attack on religious oppression, not Christianity.
Personally, although I think the photography looks beautiful, I won't be seeing it. As I commented on Jen's site:
I think it's visually stunning, which will draw in a lot of people, but knowing what I know now, I'll be doing like you are and voting with my wallet.
No thanks. I also refuse to support people who are so rabidly anti-Christian. The kids think I'm crazy because there are certain movies or TV shows I refuse to watch because of this, but once I find out that they hate Christians or conservatives, I won't allow my time to be wasted on their "talent", such as it may be.
Call me crazy, if you like - many have ... but I stand by my statement.
What do you think?