Yesterday I watched two movies, Chaplin and The Golden Compass. Let’s start with the bad one.
The Golden Compass
I’ve been avoiding watching this movie since it came out and everyone I talked to hated it. I’m in the middle of rereading the books, and I figured it was finally time to give it a chance. Turns out that everyone was right and it was a major disappointment. Beyond them changing details that as a fan of the books I find important, I think they missed the feeling of the book. The Golden Compass is about adventure, rebellion, danger and fear. In the movie I don’t think Nicole Kidman even began to capture the allure and danger that is Mrs. Coulter. A major part of the book is Lyra trying to figure things out. She spies on people, she lies, she schemes… The Lyra of the movie was simply told things, and she wasn’t nearly as independent as she should have been. I love the Lyra of the book who is this wild child who is not going to let anyone, adult or otherwise, tell her that she can’t do something. The movie didn’t capture that at all.
They did take out a lot of the more controversial religious aspects, which I expected. I do think that hurt the movie, but I think they could have still tamed that aspect of it down without changing the entire feel of the story.
Overall, I was disappointed by the film, but not more disappointed than I expected. I don’t recommend watching The Golden Compass, especially if you haven’t read the book. The book on the other hand… you should probably go read it now!
After watching The Golden Compass I really wanted to watch something good. I’ve been meaning to watch Chaplin ever since I read a review of it about a year ago, and I was relatively sure that it was a safe bet. And I was right! It was fantastic! Robert Downey Jr. did a truly wonderful job portraying Chaplin. His accent was great, and his acting was spot on.
Chaplin was funny, it was sad (I’ll admit, I did get a little teary at the end), and I think it really captured Charlie Chaplin’s life and career. I don’t know a whole lot about him, only bits and pieces from taking so many film classes, but it did accurately hit everything I do know about him. The film was beautifully directed, and it included clips from some of Chaplin’s most memorable moments.
Whether you’re a huge Charlie Chaplin fan or you’ve never seen anything he’s done, you should watch this movie. It will move you. And if you’ve never seen any Chaplin… well, maybe you should! Here are a few clips for your enjoyment: