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Review of the 2007 Golden Compass movie
If you are looking for a good fantasy movie for your children, keep looking. The Golden Compass is not that movie. While the movie does contain a number of fantasy elements that are beautifully portrayed on screen the "heroine" is not a role model I would want for my children.
There has been numerous commentaries about the anti-Christian messages in the film and books, so I will not be discussing those issues. My concern with the movies is much more straight forward. The main character of the film, Lyra Belacqua, is liar and a disobedient child.
Lyra is the only one who can read the Alethiometer--a truth reader, which is ironic because she is portrayed as a liar from the first moment of the film. The introduction of Lyra is a scene in which she lies to another child to increase her own social standing among her piers. Later her tendency to lie, rather than be condemned, is commended, and she is given the honorific "Silvertongue". Rather than any more honorable trait it is her lying which is seen to get her out of trouble.
Furthermore, Lyra is constantly bucking authority, whether that authority is for her or against her. She does not listen to her teachers, guardians or even her allies on her quest. As a young girl Lyra takes advice from no one, but rather wants the opportunity to do what she wants to do.
All of her seemingly selfless and heroic acts are actually aiding her personal quest to remove the constraints of authority on her life. Lyra Belacqua is really just a child throwing a tantrum and shouting, "I want to do things my way!" I doubt there are many parents who would want such a role model for their children.
No, if you are looking for a fantasy movie for your children I would recommend The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. At least in that story when one of the main characters lies he sees real consequences for his actions.
Edmond, one of the four children, lies about visiting Narnia. This leads to a whole chain of events that eventually results in Aslan, the lion, sacrificing himself for Edmond.
The movie also shows family love despite sibling rivalry. The two brothers, Peter and Edmond, are in conflict from the beginning of the movie. However, despite that conflict Peter still chooses to risk himself for Edmond and by the end of the movie their familial bond is stronger.
The movie also portrays a fantasy world, though a more wild world rather than a technological world as seen in The Golden Compass. The special affects are less flashy. However, because of that the viewer is more easily able to immerse themselves into the film without being distracted by things like green fire.
Both films are geared toward young adults. However, one presents much more worthy role models for your children.