Saturday, December 01, 2007

What Every Parent Should Know About The Golden Compass

Received yet another propaganda forwarded email and this time is with regards to the eagerly anticipated movie "The Golden Compass".

In this interview, Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel discuss the movie adaptation of the fantasy novels written by Philip Pullman. The film, "The Golden Compass", staring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, will be released in the United States in early December.

Pullman's books are marketed for 9-12 year olds as children's fantasy literature in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling and "If you're a fan of 'Lord of the Rings,' 'Narnia ' or 'Harry Potter,'" the critics tell us, "you'll love Pullman." "The Golden Compass" is the first in Pullman's trilogy followed by the second instalment titled "The Subtle Knife" and the final book "The Amber Spyglass". Collectively, the trilogy is known as "His Dark Materials," as each book gets progressively darker.

This is a movie that makes many believers of the Christian/Catholic faith uncomfortable. While movies such as the likes of "The Passion of Christ" and "Narnia" had been actively promoted by evangelists so as to further the cause of entrenching religious beliefs, "The Golden Compass" has been attacked as being anti-Christian and atheistic at its core.

To Vere, Pullman's work is more than using fairy-tale magic to tell a good story and openly proselytizes for atheism, corrupting the imagery of Lewis and Tolkien to undermine children's faith in God and the Church. This is just but the intepretation of a minority conservative segment. As Pullman puts it, "Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers? Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world." Conservatives are just trying to deny people of the chance to see the other perspectives out there. People should never be denied the freedom to question and understand their beliefs. Are conservatives having no faith that their beliefs can stand up to scrutiny?

Why is there a need to denouce a movie that will only generate interest in finding out more about one's religion? For the enlightened parent, the movie provides an exceptional opportunity to engage their children in clarifying doubts about beliefs. Through questioning basic beliefs, clearer understanding can be obtained and life becomes worth living. In this age where reading books has taken a backseat to movie going, the timely adaptation of "The Golden Compass" must be spiritual manna to children helping them to gain valuable insights into the beliefs being imparted.

While I had had not caught "Narnia" because I had read the book but was turned off by the numerous attempts to use the movie as a advocacy platform for religious ideals, I had not read "His Dark Materials" and believe that "The Golden Compass" will be a splendid shortcut to the other religious arguments and look forward to catching it when it starts screening.

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