By Ryan Parsons | Image property of New Line Cinema.
The Golden Compass
I was wrapping up the third novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy when a rumor surfaced claiming that New Line was hoping to throw out the religious elements in The Golden Compass. What! All three books revolve around religious principles; you can't just throw them out!
Fortunately for us and the preservation of the original story, it turns out that New Line found a workaround.
Production Footage: The Golden Compass
Yes, Philip Pullman makes an all-out assault against religion or, more specifically, the Catholic church in the His Dark Materials trilogy starting with The Golden Compass. Though I was fine with it -- and I'm Catholic -- but there was bound to be another Da Vinci-like uprising if New Line went forward with keeping to Pullman's anti-Catholic message.
How did the studio keep to the book's story without offending? Easy! The staple religion in the film is being called the Magisterium, with no reference to a particular sect. Nicole Kidman clarified the strategy in the recent issue of Entertainment Weekly.
''It follows the novel as closely as it can,'' promises Daniel Craig, who grew an un-Bondlike beard to play Lord Asriel, Lyra's explorer uncle, ''but there's still a lot missing. That's always the case when you adapt a book into a movie. You have to focus more on the storytelling.'' Conspicuously absent, for instance, is any reference to Catholicism; instead, the malevolent organization that snatches children to surgically remove their souls is referred to in the movie only as the Magisterium. ''It has been watered down a little,'' admits Nicole Kidman, who stars as the icily evil Mrs. Coulter. Not that she's complaining. Quite the contrary. ''I was raised Catholic,'' she says. ''The Catholic Church is part of my essence. I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic.'' She wouldn't be able to do any possible sequels, either, but Kidman and Craig have both signed on for two.
If New Line continues to let their balls hang, we might just be given the opportunity to meet God in the trilogy's final installment.
The Golden Compass comes to theatres on December 7th.