The Golden Compass

Intense, thought-provoking

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Telling the truth is one of the first things children are taught. In "The Golden Compass," a child is given a tool that does it for her. The tool, called an alethiometer, is the last of a set of instruments that tells the truth that others would hide. For Lyra Belacqua, the child who can read it, the truth is an unusual thing to have.

Lyra, played by Dakota Blue Richards, is not an ordinary 11-year-old. She has grown up in a college, raised by scholars and running wild on the streets and roofs. In her world, a person's soul lives beside them as an animal, a daemon. This idea makes "The Golden Compass" unusual. An animal companion whose species depends on one's personality interests many who study the story of "The Golden Compass." In this case, though, Lyra does not listen to her daemon's advice and spies on a secret meeting at the college.

I would be happy to nominate Nicole Kidman for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mrs. Coulter, who seems wonderful, yet smiles with dark secrets. Lyra's only tool for these secrets is the "golden compass."

When her friends are kidnapped, Lyra mounts a rescue with the rough, but kind, Gyptians, a beautiful and mysterious witch named Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green) and a powerful polar bear. Talking animals and polar bears in the previews may have made some people doubt the seriousness of the movie, but others take a very solemn view.

The golden compass tells a child the truth, but will the movie itself do the same? Although the book series "The Golden Compass" may be guilty as charged where down playing religion is concerned, the movie does not mention or attack Christianity. "The Golden Compass" is an intense, exciting and very thought-provoking movie. Although this "Golden Compass" is probably not for children, it does not seem to be as controversial as many fear it is.

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