Friday, August 14, 2015

The Golden Compass vol. 1

by Philip Pullman (adapted by Stéphane Melchior and Clément Ouberie) 

Summary From GoodReads

The world of Philip Pullman’s internationally bestselling His Dark Materials saga is brought to visual life in book 1 of a three-volume graphic adaptation of The Golden Compass.

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her dæmon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, and a mysterious substance known as Dust. As she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win—or to lose—this more-than-mortal battle.

The stunning full-color art offers both new and returning readers a chance to experience the story of Lyra, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary role to play in the fates of multiple worlds, in an entirely new way.

Thoughts on the Book

This was one of the books I was the most excited about from BEA.  His Dark Materials is my absolute favorite series ever written.  

My Review

Volume 1 of The Golden Compass goes right up until the mechanic bugs see Lyra on the ship. 

Pretty much the only thing I liked about this adaptation was the underlying story.  The part that they took from Philip Pullman.  The artwork wasn't very good.  Fadar Coram was downright creepy looking.  As were almost all of the characters.  The pictures didn't really enhance the story at all, and the parts from the book that were taken were only dialogue.  So much was missing, it made the story so dull and rushed.  Even major plot devices were left out.  For example, the caught one of the mechanical beetles, but that was that, they didn't put it in the round tin and weld the sides.  Um, that's kind of really important even though it seems like an insignificant event.

In reading the original novel I absolutely loved Lyra, she's such an interesting character, and my favorite female protagonist ever written.  Pan was also a great character, the one that hung back when Lyra didn't care about the consequences, the one that voiced intelligent concerns before rash decisions.  In the graphic novel Pan was there to be different animals randomly, and add a bit of dialogue.  On top of that Lyra wasn't developed at all.  It was more like the adapters were like "oh! this dialogue is important, let's just throw it in here with a creepy drawing" and didn't care one iota about character development.  Even Mrs. Coulter didn't seem that evil.  Her true evil comes from the fact that she acts so nice and sweet all the time.  And the monkey?  Not even a little scary in this.  The creepiness of the normal characters made the drawing of the monkey almost cute.

Another thing that really bothered me is Pan, he appears mostly as a pine martin, which he hardly ever was during the book.  That was just lazy and unnecessary.  Bravo illustrators/adapters you read the Amber Spyglass!  The adapters don't even bother to try to explain dæmons, there are just a bunch of random animals with everyone, and Lyra's looks different every couple of pages. It's like everyone has an insignificant pet with them, but Lyra's is slightly different because it talks and can shape-shift.

If you've read The Golden Compass, you may as well skip this adaptation, it will probably just annoy you and make you want to reread the book to get the awfulness out of your head.  If you haven't read it yet DO NOT read this version, the story is so much better than what they threw together.

Overall I give this a 4/10.  If it were any other story it would be less, but the four points it gets are strictly because the story itself is amazing, despite what they did to ruin the telling of it.

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