April and I rented Hairspray this past week. Definitely recommended (watch it with a date). Ya, ya, I know it's a musical. Go see it anyway.
Despite various comments made here, April still wanted to see The Golden Compass. So last night, to celebrate her birthday, we went to the cheap theaters (they're three blocks from our apartment) to watch it. By the way, I'm not totally cheap. We also went out to eat, and we're going to a Jim Brickman concert in a couple of days (she's really excited about the concert).
The last few years there have been a few awesome fantasy movies. LOTR comes to mind. Compass is not awesome, but it's good. April (surprisingly) liked it even more than I did. It is a bit of a dark movie. And I want to analyze it a bit for those who've heard various things about it.
People say that the movie is anti-God. The dominating religion in the film, the Magisterium, is certainly the bad guy, and the free-thinking intellects are the good guys. However, members of the Magisterium also state one of their main objectives: they want to take away everyone's free will. Sound familiar? Sounds just like Satan's plan. I think, if Satan could, he'd prefer the Magisterium's system to the current, more chaotic system he now enjoys. Make no mistake--the Magisterium is evil to the core. By the way, they also kidnap children.
Meanwhile, the protagonist is given a Golden Compass. There are others out there, but the Magisterium has control over them and refuses to let others use them. The compass shows the truth. Liahona, anyone? The Magisterium wants total control over the truth, and goes all out to find the girl and her compass.
Of course, I'm also reminded of the Catholic church of Galileo's day. They insisted on being the only source of truth. "Take back what you said about the sun being the center of the universe or we'll kill you," they told Galileo. So he took it back (fingers crossed). Good thing we've come a long way since then, or we'd still blame sickness on evil spirits (instead of viruses and bacteria). We never would've made it to the moon. And...well, you get the idea. The Dark Ages were dark for a reason. Good thing the Catholic church has reformed.
The movie does attack authority, or at least the kind of authority that insists on being followed without too much thinking.
The movie's a bit dark, and so some might be bothered by that aspect. No doubt the rumors about how evil the movie is will also make it difficult for some to watch. It makes a statement against an authority that expects blind obedience, and so those who follow blindly or expect others to follow them blindly will not like it.
My recommendation? If you like fantasy, go see it. You might not agree with everything in the movie, but the only church the movie attacks is the one that strips men and women of their free will.
And no, despite what you may have heard, the movie is certainly not anti-God.