I Have No Memory of this Place

Took the Evil Monster Boy to see the Golden Compass on Sunday. Despite some brilliant performances from Kidman, Fanning, Broadbent and the usual British character actor suspects I felt there was something missing. Perhaps it was the poor print (at the usually good Finsbury Park Vue) or the fact that I’d only had two hours sleep but there seemed to be problems with the narrative structure in the first half. Some of the transitions were mishandled, the Lyra in London montage in particular, and the choppy, unnecessarily exposition heavy opening.

The design was impressive, the high standard set by WETA in The Lord of the Rings , has now become the base line for big fantasy blockbusters – even if TV still lags – yes I’m looking at you Doctor Who.

However, the strangest thing for me was how much of the plot I didn’t remember from the book. I read Northern Lights in 1998 and ground to a halt halfway through A Subtle Knife a little bit later but I had no memory of the armoured bears (panzerbjorn what a wonderful name). This is strange – for while I’m perfectly capable of forgetting the names of close family members my retention of plot detail borders on the savant.

Since the Evil Monster Boy demanded that I buy the books, on pain of pain, I’m going to reread them and see if they stick this time. I’m sure Kidman’s performance as Mrs Coultor will help.

About Paul Graham Raven

Science fiction, foresight, (post)humanities, infrastructure futures research. Guitarist, scruffy mountebank. Opinions mine, not my employer's. Velcro City · http://www.velcro-city.co.uk
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