February 2nd, 2008
This is a confusing fantasy movie intended only for people who have read the book. (There are more of the books, so watch out for sequels.)
If you haven’t read the book, as I haven’t, you will find that there is nowhere near enough back story to make sense of it. You will find that first you are at a school like Oxford, and then you are with the witches of the air, and then you are with some gypsy-like people called (I think) Egyptians, and then - oops! - you are with the warrior bears of Norway.
Here comes Sam Elliott as a cowboy, he’s on our side, and there goes a vampy Nicole Kidman, she’s bad. James Bond is in it with a big tiger… (Oh I know, it’s just Daniel Craig, not Bond.) He’s a good guy, most likely, and he’s the little girl’s uncle. Oh! now we’re on an airship, and now we’re in an evil science lab at the north pole.
And pretty soon you’re just going, “Oh, whatever.”
Although the whole project may be ill-advised, this movie does have its moments. The business of the animal souls is enchanting, and the little girl’s ride on the back of a bear is as exhilarating as the kids’ bike ride in ET. But those moments are far between.
There is a lot of CGI here, and some of it isn’t very good, especially the lips of the talking animals.
The evil Imperium isn’t well developed and it definitely isn’t much like the Catholic church. And what is this dust?
I don’t get it, and if there is a sequel I probably won’t bother to find out. I only want to watch serious movies, and this isn’t one of them. It doesn’t care enough about its story to tell it properly.