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Let me start by saying I watched the film first and enjoyed it, then I read the book, probably the best order to do it in since I found the book deeper, less compromised after the major edits of the story in the film.

I can totally understand most of the edits for the film, a large amount of them were to make it more family-friendly, less of a cold harsh reality and also to improve the pacing of the film and get to the action sooner. Things I think come under that reasonable would be the gyptian women accompanying them to the north, the merge of Billy Costa with the other boy included in the book and his living after the intercision, plus the change of order to have the bears fighting.

However, I also found the adaptation over diluted many elements. Apart from the removal of the key endscene, I thought overall they made Asriel a nobler character than he seemed in the book (even without the endscene). The book, to my mind, made almost everyone with exception of Lyra and the gyptians, very morally ambigious, motivations clouded by various emotional, religious and political influences. In particular the master of the university is more complex than the film presents, having chosen to bring in another Magisterium character to be the poisoner of Asriel. Mrs Coulter is perhaps the only moral ambigious character who comes across more or less the same in both mediums.

I did enjoy both, though future viewings of the film will probably be tainted by the knowledge of the deeper going on's and the ultimate devastation of intercision that is to some degree glossed over, especially with the tagged on happy ending. It will be interesting to see ifthey include a director's cut with the true ending on for the DVD releases, it being rumoured the extra scene willl at least be included. In general I prefer the book because I like the darker, more mysterious feeling it has going - the characters seems more cold and calculating, but the film representing them as more human does make sense for audience, I guess I just dislike the distortion of the book to fit with the main target audience.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this review. I have read and loved all three books, and I avoided the film because after the Harry Potter films and numerous other book adaptations I have finally learnt my lesson, and wanted to keep that particular part of my reading history to myself :P

To know that it's been cut for a younger audience is great - I don't agree with it (the books are always in the Young Adult/12+ section of the bookshops or libraries. They aren't kids' books!) but it means I can avoid having to throw things at my screen.

Do you know if they're planning on adapting the other two? It would be interesting, since the moral ambiguity only deepens from that point on.
Mar. 2nd, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
I believe they are filming the other two but not sure. They certainly wanted to and I think it purely depended on how successful this one was at the box office, which may well explain the compromises.

I don't think the film is without worth but it's definitely more for a younger audience than the books.
(no subject) - doylefan22 - Mar. 2nd, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 2nd, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
Must have done, the sentence read perfectly fine in my readover of it. ;D No

Corrected now, but damn, it so shows where my fannish attentions lie - I have Helen on my brain from the fic I was writing yesterday.
Mar. 2nd, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Hubby thought much the same as you. He read the book first, mind. And I think he liked the film because it got rid of all the boring stuff in the book LOL
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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