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« Breaking: USCCB withdraws review of "The Golden Compass" | Main | Why God is Father and Not Mother »

Monday, December 10, 2007

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Comments

Courtney E. Cadotte

Hello,
I apologize if I may be daft, but rather than explicitly encouraging us to squelch atheistic conspiracy theorists at the box office, wouldn't it be better to simply state openly and honestly where, point by point, the film errs in its interpretations of Christianity in general and the Roman Catholic Church in particular? Ethically and logically speaking, I don't see how reactionary rabble-rousing can be an effective tool in argumentation. Thanks.

padraighh

If you don't see how reactionary rabble-rousing can be an effective tool in argumentation
then why do you use it as a tool of argumentation?

Dan

A very nice review. It makes me wish that Archbishop Chaput could take over film review duty from the fellow who is currently doing it for the USCCB. (Although my far more fervent wish is that he is made Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles when Archbishop Mahoney retires.)

Mary

First I must say that the Archbishop is one of the best, strongest, and all in all great bishops. I lived in Denver for a time, and while most of the parishes are full of old borderline bad priests it is because the archbishop is concerned with the future. Most of the good priests are teaching in the seminary and if a person wants a good mass Holy Ghost Church and the Cathedral both have beautiful masses.
Secondly, I think that the Archbishop is speaking to the people in a frank way. He knows that, sadly enough, people will not listen to authority, so he is explaining why people will not LIKE the movie. People will listen to reason, but they often rebel against orders. So the Archbishop is explaining why it is a bad movie. "It is lifeless and gloomy." Who would go to see a movie like this? "It depicts the Church in a bad way." Well I am just going for the story not the deep meanings and I am sure my kids won't get it. These would be the responses. The wise Archbishop knew this so he appealed to the senses and not the sense of duty. (Notice though that he does mention the anti-Christian theme, and the fact that it is at Christmas)

TerryC

This movie is a not very thinly disguised marketing ploy. The "His Dark Materials" trilogy is at bookstores next to the Harry Potter, Narnia and Lord of the Ring sets, packaged for teen readers. There is a Golden Compass video game, as well as a calendar, board game, etc.
Pullman, no doubt, saw big dollar signs coming out of this movie deal.
I've no doubt the film lacks cohesion, as commented on by more than one critic. New Line attempted to tone down the blatant anti-Christian theme. Since that theme is the purpose of the trilogy attempting to remove or obscure it would certainly cause the story to make less sense.
Of course Pullman's world is joyless. how can there be joy without God?

Jim Dick

I agree with Courtney.

I would add to her thoughts that we Catholics should also be asking ourselves why this film rings true to a large group of folks and how can we love them.

gb

My theory is that this movie bombed because New Line didn't have any more sense than to set its release for Blessed Mother's feastday (or the vigil) Dec 7/8. I laughed when I first read that was the debut weekend because, while New Line denies the reality of Reality, they are in fact at His service. And His Mother is always one step ahead of our feebleness, like any good mom!

Carl Olson

Ethically and logically speaking, I don't see how reactionary rabble-rousing can be an effective tool in argumentation.

Are you actually suggesting that Archbishop Chaput's column was an example of "reactionary rabble-rousing"? Wow. How ironic and wrong-headed.

padraighh

My dear Jim, are you saying you can not love people you disagree with or are you only accusing others of this kind of silly behavior?

Nick

To "gb": It's hard to make a case against New Line's anti-"Blessed Mother" when they were behind last year's "The Nativity Story," which made even less money than "Golden Compass" did. Bottom line, New Line wanted to build another franchise based on fantasy literature, and _His Dark Materials_ was available. Seeing dollar signs, they didn't anticipate the deeper problems with the series, and didn't foresee it translating horribly to the screen. And since "The DaVinci Code" was a monster hit, they didn't foresee the book's anti-religious bent to be problematic. They were wrong.

Joe

Nick,

The Nativity Story was anti-Catholic and anti-Blessed Mother. From the standpoint of the tradition of the Blessed Mother (see Protoevangelium) as held by both the Orthodox and Catholic faiths, it was blaphemous.

Jackson

"...reactionary rabble-rousing..."

As opposed to "progressive" rabble-rousing? Would that the good Archbishop really were a reactionary. For you, Courtney, "reactionary" is a bad word. In fact, it's a wonderful word.

Read the excerpt here to begin to learn why:

http://tinyurl.com/28fn5o

Andrew, UT student

Archbishop Chaput has really impressed me. He went to see this movie. He has published his reaction, and made it available for scrutiny and comment. And he has seen very calmly into the heart of this beast - which a person can do when Christ lives in their own heart.

As soon as the preview for The Golden Compass flashed on the TV at the house of some conservative friends, they dropped the conversation and warned all present, BOYCOTT THIS FILM, ITS ATHEISTIC, AHH! I had already been getting chain emails. That did it - I went and bought the book straight away. Now, as I near the end of the third book, I can't believe Nicole Kidman thought this was a good idea for a movie. Hello. hello. Hello. This is weird stuff. I'm sure someone will write a book rebutting it point by point, but its hardly needed; ultimately, the emptiness, the desolation, the pointlessness of the book make it not only miserable, but boring.

If they had instead shouted, DONT GO SEE THAT MOVIE, ITS EMPTY, POINTLESS, AND STERILE, I probably would never even have picked up the books. That's what I like about the Archbishop's analysis of the movie: instead of words like "satanic" (which is, I think, a more accurate word than atheistic to describe the gist of the books) he explains that its just plain bad. While an atheist may not quite understand what that means, its enough for a follower of Christ. It's just a bad film.
--Watch it if you must, but for Heaven's sake, don't let your kids read the books. If I've learned anything, its that atheism, and satanism, are far from convincing. They're weird, sterile, empty. Bad.


Last thing - I didn't realize New Line was behind The Da Vinci Code and The Nativity Story as well as The Golden Compass. But my encounter with all three leaves me with the distinct impression that anti-Marian forces are at work (through perverse portrayals of sacred femininity), and it is remarkable to hear that others have noticed as well.

Teresa

Forbes.com just named Kidman one of Hollywood's most overpaid celebrities, partly because this particular film was so bad, saying it is known around the studio lot as "the biggest turkey of 2007." Yahoo picked up the story too:

http://www.forbes.com/media/2007/12/11/hollywood-kidman-crowe-biz-media-cz_dp_1211overpaidcelebs.html

http://omg.yahoo.com/the-most-overpaid-celebrities/news/4721

I wouldn't think as many people are rushing out to buy the books as they had hoped, based on that kind of article in the MSM. Nor does it look like big sequel material for the movie industry, if the first in the series took a financial hit at the box office.

Sandra Miesel

New Line didn't make THE DA VINCI CODE. That was a Sony movie. But New Line poured so much money into GC, that the studio will be in serious trouble unless GC is a major hit abroad.

Kidman hasn't had a hit in years and is rapidly becoming box office poison, even though she's well cast in this part. I have a suspicion that she was told not to read the books and answer the press only in terms of the script.

Ed Peters

SM is right about Kidman. There was only one Grace kelly, and Nicole ain't her.

Mark L.

Do I have to go to confession if I want to have Abp. Chaput cloned enough times to replace all the bishops in the U.S. (except of course for Abp. Burke, Bp. Vasa, Bp. Bruskewitz, and the others brave enough to stand up openly for the truth)?

Nick Milne

SM is right about Kidman. There was only one Grace kelly, and Nicole ain't her.

This post is in fulfillment of my long-standing resolve to post a textual "high five" whenever Grace Kelly is mentioned.

High five, Ed.

Lawrence Wieczorek

Great to read honesty and integrity about the movies put out by Hollywood. I will not be seeing this movie and will keep my daughter away as well. This Christmas is in need of leaders both in the pulpit and online. I agree Mahoney should go and be replaced by Archbishop Chaput. I would also like to put in a word for my late uncle 'Father Houle,' who's book now online "The Miraculous life of Father Houle." Could be a wonderful inspiring movie for Hollywood...

Michelle Ashworth

I am not sure what Christians and the church are so worked up about. After all I truely believe that if your faith is strong enough it doesn't matter what you read.

A quote from the book of the Samurai says "Anything that is a true Way only gets strengthened and more attuned when it comes across conflicting views." If someone's faith is such that a book can destroy it, then it wasn't a true faith in the first place.

For those who refuse to take their children to see it or more importantly read the beautifully written books then shame, shame and more shame. You will be extinguishing the spirit of free thought and inquiry that the Archbishop thinks is important in the church.


padraighh

Ah yes. First there was Pete and now Re-Pete.

Michelle, let us play a little game. Suppose you were to attach a daemon
not to a child but to a book.

What sort of daemon would you attach to the 'Protocols of Zion'? Remember now its only a booK.

What sort of daemon would you attach to 'Mein Kampf'? Keep in mind that the daemon should help us account for all those silly religious people that Hitler killed.

What sort of daemon would you attach to 'Das Capital'? This would have to be a vicious daemon that could kill hundreds of millions but then morph into a harmless economics professor at Harvard.

Oh yeah. Ideologies can kill. I forgot. And there are Catholics in China today dying in prisons for their faith. Because some atheist in Europe taught that religion was the opiate of the masses. Oh let's not forget the Sudan.

What's that you say about the Samurai? I think your witnessing the power of the truth in collision with lies. Strange that you should scold us for having an opinion that differs from yours.

Michelle Ashworth

Oh Dear Oh Dear Padraighh or is it Pete?

You really don't grasp that this is a work of FICTION. And that daemons do not really exist. So your idea of a game really a mute point.

These are not Ideologies. They are STORIES. They are not real - just an exploration of imagination. And I do repeat - they allow for the spirit of free thought and enquiry. They do not force anything onto the reader/viewer. Readers/viewers can interpret them for themselves.

And as for scolding... Well that was not my intention. I am mearly pointing out that if your faith is secure and your mind is wide open, then the film's messages will not slip by unnoticed and uncriticized. So what have you really got to worry about? Are you that concerned that the Christian message is that weak that it can be destroyed by a mere story?

Michelle Ashworth

Oh Dear Oh Dear Padraighh or is it Pete?

You really don't grasp that this is a work of FICTION. And that daemons do not really exist. So your idea of a game really a mute point.

These are not Ideologies. They are STORIES. They are not real - just an exploration of imagination. And I do repeat - they allow for the spirit of free thought and enquiry. They do not force anything onto the reader/viewer. Readers/viewers can interpret them for themselves.

And as for scolding... Well that was not my intention. I am mearly pointing out that if your faith is secure and your mind is wide open, then the film's messages will not slip by unnoticed and uncriticized. So what have you really got to worry about? Are you that concerned that the Christian message is that weak that it can be destroyed by a mere story?

Michelle Ashworth

Apologies for the double posting. Computers are not the most reliable things sometimes.

However I would add that had my intentions been to scold I would have said 'shame on you'. My meaning was 'What a shame' as you would be denying the young people and children from experiencing something that would allow them to explore other people's imaginations, possibly question their own beliefs and come out all the stronger for it. Particuarly if the book or film is read/viewed with someone who could have a rational discussion about the differences between their beliefs and others.

Mark Brumley

Michelle: Not everyone's imagination is worthy of a child's exploration. Indeed, a very powerful imagination used to propagate falsehoods and lies is worse because its seductive power is greater than a weaker imagination.

Mark Brumley

And who says a story can't force child into something? I know of a young boy who saw THE EXORCIST. That was a mistake. Some of the frightening images of the film stayed with him for years and cause emotional problems. Those problems and those troubling images were "forced" on the child; he did not want them.

So it is incorrect to say that a story can't force a child into something. Stories can distort one's perception of reality, especially if one is young and impressionable. Often even careful and critical reflection can't entirely eliminate the negative effects of a story on a chld.

Rep. Bob Brechtel sfo

In all of the years that I have known Archbishop Chaput, his voice is usually soft and loving, but what he says is powerful, always full of wisdom and worthy of attention.

Rep. Bob Brechtel

celeste

For those of Michelle's bent, surely we owe our children the truth rather than lies? I am also a strong advocate for developmentally appropriate education, literature and media. Children are owed a careful, gentle and respectful education rather than a lazy exposure to whatever is screening on TV or in the Cinemas at the moment or that is properly only suitable for older viewers.
I long ago took the decision to refrain from the encouragement of belief in Santa Claus. Instead I resolved never to speak lies to my children. Before you rush to conclude I am a Scrooge, I have always been happy to encourage playful fun with the idea of Santa Claus and enjoyment of stories about him as fantasies. I know well the value of fiction, fantasy and play in children's development. But such as these are only valuable when they contain truths about reality and human nature. Pullman's work is to spin lies for children who have little capacity to judge and discern the falsehoods. And what pernicious falsehoods they are. Is there really no such thing as daemons? Has Pullman harnessed and distorted a reality about out souls and about other spiritual entities? Isn't that the kind of thing Satan is expert at? If you doubt me then go back to the Gospels and also to C S Lewis' masterpiece the Screwtape Letters to reacquaint yourselves with devilish deceit.

celeste

On another note. I am distressed at the lengthening list of inappropriate or even downright disturbing film and role choices made by Nicole Kidman. The film The Others was a chilling reversal of reality that portrayed death triumphant over life. Then there was the film involving apparently paedophilic scenes with a boy who was supposedly a reincarnation of her adult partner. Now the Golden Compass. I fear such roles may have adverse impacts on her soul and think Ms Kidman needs our prayers. She professes to hold the Catholic Faith and she is our sister in Christ. I for one will be praying for greater openness to the Holy Spirit and that God will send her wise friends and advisors.

JC

Some of you should post in the On Faith section in The Washington Post website. Irrational, anticatholic posters over there. A lot of you are capable of chiseling away at the emotional, stupidity many of those posters possess at The Washington Post. Hope some of you give it a try! Btw, have enjoyed everyone's postings here.

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