The Golden Compass is one of the best movies of the year, in my opinion. With an all-star cast including Nicole Kidman (Marisa Coulter), Eva Green (Serafina Pekkala), Daniel Craig (Lord Asriel), Ian McKellen (Iorek Byrnison), Sam Elliot (Lee Scoresby), and a phenomenal performance by child-actress Dakota Blue Richards (Lyra Belacqua), this movie is complete, total entertainment. There is never a dull line in the entire movie, and the computer graphics are stunning. Not to mention the score...which was quite impressive as well.
So why the big fuss?
The movie (and it's obvious two sequels) is based on a trilogy by a professed Atheist who said, point-blank, that "these books are about killing God". Evidently, this pissed the Christians off quite well because most of the people I've encountered prior to seeing the movie said things like: "No! That nasty movie?" or "Boycott it!" or "It's about killing GOD!"
What these people are worked up about is this: If people take their kids to see the movie, they'll get hooked on the first one (very true) and their kids would want to buy the books (maybe true) and then kids will ultimately grow up to want to kill god (not so true).
For oneself: If one has a strong faith rooted deeply in a certain thing, then a movie will not ever change that.
For one's children: If one brings the kids to the movie, they buy the books and the movies when they come out, and become obsessed, fine. I have a difficult time believing that children will rally together to "kill god" because of a trilogy. If one's children are raised properly or in a certain way, it is not likely for the children to depart from that teaching. Even if they do, the children are going to make their own decisions anyway, and The Golden Compass (and the other two) is far from the worst influence in the world.
Three very prominent things that I wish to point out are these: Free Will, Daemons and Demons, and the picture of "killing God".
First, the author/director makes it very clear in the first movie that one cannot have free will if one lives under a religion. Hmm. I just rolled my eyes at this and smiled a bit. Why? This is why.
To the Christians: Biblically, you have free will. You have freedom of choices and make them as you do. So does everybody else.
To the Atheists: The same argument, only you love to do as you please anyway. What's going to change that? Nothing. The author sounds as if he's just afraid of being told what to do. Strong-willed, iron-fisted, and stubborn; that's all. He still has free will and would continue to have it were he religious.
So quiet down, everybody.
DAEMONS AND DEMONS:
The movie exists in a parallel universe where a person's soul lives outside his/her body in the form of an animal friend, or 'daemon'. This is the only thing that I feel is truly backwards about the first movie.
Daemons are pictures of 'demons' that paint them to be a best friend, a soul, and one that a child or adult cannot live without because of the phenomenon of 'dust'. In our world, however, people realize that demons are not souls of people except in the case of possession and they are not present to relay feelings of friendship. They are, by definition, evil spirits.
Now, the author's interpretation of demons/daemons has little potential to hurt anybody, only perhaps give slight confusion. However, for those of us who can sense demonic oppression, it may seem a trifle more dangerous to confuse them with something friendly.
THE PICTURE OF "KILLING GOD":
I'll make this brief. In the third book, the author sets his two main characters out to kill a weak, powerless, incapable 'god'. My opinion? Let them kill him! That's not who God is. It can't be, because I see God move and I feel demons moving and the real world is way more twisted than the author's parallel universe.
Take some advice: buy a ticket and see the movie. It's truly phenomenal, inventive, and superlative to many movies. It does not shove Atheism down throats as well as The Chronicles of Narnia did not shove Christianity down throats. The Golden Compass will not tear down the walls of religion or convert avid Christians into fanatic Atheists, nor will it destroy faith-potential of the entire population of the world's children.
Take a deep breath, watch the story unfold, and just enjoy it. Besides, it's a great conversation-starter.