Yes, that’s what I said. Not only is there nothing for Christians to be afraid of in The Golden Compass, the first movie based on Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, but there is a tremendous opportunity for Christ-followers to use something the avowed Athiest author intends for evil to sharpen their understanding of their beliefs as well as their ability to articulate them in words to which non-Christians can relate.
My son and I went and saw the movie on opening night; we arrived only a few moments before the previews and had no trouble getting mid-level, center seats without climbing over anyone. The movie’s graphic renderings of scenery, fantasy machines and animals is breathtaking. The acting is good, especially for the child actors, but not likely to win awards for any of the adults. The screenplay gutted the book’s plot of much of the anti-religious content, leaving largely fight scenes and adventure transitions with little character development.
Though much of the plot to which there may have been legitimate objection (to the point of caution, not boycott) was removed, there remained a considerable number of references to Christian doctrinal and scriptural teachings regarding truth, the soul, authority (and it’s use), science as oppositional to faith, and discontent with institutional religion, among other themes. Believers watching this film will have difficulty missing these references, and they form a wonderful basis for spiritual conversation.
The Golden Compass isn’t a movie for everyone, that’s for certain. It can be, however, a place where culture and God intersect in a way that Christ-followers can take an opportunity to talk about their beliefs via the questions the film (and it’s surrounding publicity) raise.
Tim and I had the opportunity to collaborate on a set of discussion questions based on The Golden Compass, and they are YMX’s free resource download this week. Click here to download this resource.