Monday, April 2, 2007

The Golden Compass Teaser Trailer

The above clip contains the recently-released trailer of The Golden Compass, which is set to be released in movie form at Christmas later this year. Its cast includes people like Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Sam Elliott, and it looks pretty good so far.

In my life I've had a lot of favorite books that were wonderful and made me think and dream. But I think it's fair to say that there are only a precious few that I have obsessed over, and the first one of these was The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. I first read it when I was in sixth grade, and I subsequently spent all of that year (and the year after that, and the year after that) reading and rereading it. My copy of this book was signed by Philip Pullman himself and I carried it everywhere- even now it's one of the few precious books I brought to New Zealand, and it's fraying and falling apart. And it's the books that are falling apart but you nonetheless take half a world away that have truly changed you.

If you haven't actually read (or, worse yet, never heard of) this book, here's the general gist of things. The story focuses on Lyra, a girl who lives in another world parallel to ours where everything's very similar but a touch different: people have extensions of selves called daemons which appear as the animal you're most like, there are creatures like witches and armored bears which roam the Arctic, and the Church is much more powerful and meddling in people's lives. During the course of the story you run into stuff like people attempting to bridge the gap between worlds, the concept of original sin, and children who disappear due to the evil "Gobblers." It's a wonderful story, and Lyra is the heroine every eleven year old girl would want to be in it.

But the reason I loved it so much, I have to note, is because no matter how fantastic things get Pullman sneaks in such a big science base that it's ridiculous. This book was my first introduction to stuff like quantum mechanics and the many worlds theorem and dark matter, and what I loved most about it was no matter how incredible it got it the best parts could potentially happen. (And this wasn't science fiction either- science fiction distinctly covers things that you don't want to ever happen.) I still think of science the same way little kids think of fairy tales, and I'm very lucky in this respect.

So anyway, if you haven't read The Golden Compass, read it. If you have read The Golden Compass, watch the trailer and post what you think of it. Either way, you'll have a good time.


Emily J said...

I love this book! I've read the second one too, and The Amber Spyglass is sittingon my bookshelf waiting to be read!

Emily J said...

also, we should go see this together next winter :-)

Linda said...

I think Nicole Kidman is a perfect Ms. Coulter. She has those evil cat eyes, as mom would call them. I can't wait to see this, and I'll (almost) be back in the country when it comes out :)

Yvette said...

Yeah, next winter seems as far away as the moon so it seems crazy to contemplate a movie so early on, but... here we are. :)

Emily- alas I didn't mention it above, but The Golden Compass is unfortunately by and far the best one in the trilogy (and Amber Spyglass is better'n Subtle Knife in my opinion). They're good in their own respective rights, but the first one makes subsequent books have a lot to live up to!

And Linda, I agree on the Ms. Coulter thing (though for some reason I always saw her as older). The trailer looks ok, and the only thing I'm nervous about for this movie is the potential that it gets too CGI- we're not yet at the point where you can always look at an animal and say "ah, that looks just like a golden monkey!" or whatever. There's something to be said for touches of reality.