Nice to see the ever-reliable Catholics trying to make sure The Golden Compass is the most successful film since The Passion of St Tibulus.
But the complaints are inane as well as predictably counterproductive: the sinister Church authorities of Philip Pullman’s story are from a world in which Calvin became Pope.
The resultant institutions and doctrines – a fictional hybrid, historically extrapolated and laced with Pullman’s own supernatural inventions – can surely be depicted scathingly without it being taken as an indictment of actual Catholicism.
Pullman’s an atheist, but he has rich knowledge of Christian theology and all sorts of mythology on display in his books – which are certainly not atheistic. What they are is anti-authority, and if people fear such a message then that tells you all you need to know about them.
I loved the books. If you’ve not read them, imagine Lord of the Rings with characters – plus plot twists, engrossing writing and conceptual depth. The film(s) can’t possibly be as good, but that still leaves a lot of room for being very good indeed.