The Golden Compass

Anyone who's looking forward to the move adaptations of Philip Pullman's Dark Materials triology knows that the first picture from The Golden Compass has been released. The obsessive wait can now begin as the first movie is scheduled to be released at the end of 2007.

The fantasy series follows orphaned girl Lyra Belacqua (played by newcomer Dakota Blue Richards) in a journey through various worlds. Everything has a familiar tone to it in the beginning -- from the parallel Oxford (Pullman modeled his Jordan College on the actual Exeter College) to the Victorian feel of the world -- but it quickly becomes its own fantasy realm where a revisionist church controls the government, every person has a daemon (a manifestation of one's soul/conscience that takes animal form), and a mysterious particle called Dust is of interest to everyone and might hold the key to understanding the complexities of life and science. In The Golden Compass (called Northern Lights in Britain), Lyra is placed in the care of scholar Mrs. Coulter (played by Nicole Kidman) but finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens the lives of children, including her best friend. Other members of the movie cast include Daniel Craig and Eva Green.

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