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The Golden Compass | 2007 | PG-13 | - 1.6.2

Fantasy adventure based on Philip Pullman's novel "The Golden Compass," the first book in his "Dark Material" trilogy, about an alternate universe where people's souls are animals that live outside the human body. Humanity is controlled by a governing body of men who have determined that free will, free thought and the influence of knowledge-carrying particles from parallel universes are the enemies of a unified, obedient society. With Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards, Ben Walker, Eva Green, Jim Carter, Sam Elliott, Ian McKellan and Freddie Highmore. Directed by Chris Weitz. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A woman wears a low-cut nightgown that reveals cleavage and bare shoulders. The camera lingers on a woman from the back as she walks through a room wearing a tight-fitting evening gown.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - Humans are accompanied by "daemons," which are animals (an ermine, monkeys, cats, rats, etc.) described as "the soul living outside the body" and can speak to their corresponding human, unheard by others; there are also witches who fly, and huge polar bears that snarl and growl and bare long, sharp teeth.
 Two bears fight: they punch, kick, throw each other on the ground, one pulls a piece of the other's armor off, one bites the other's leg (it begins to limp), one is struck in the head several times, one is struck hard in the face and its lower jaw is torn off (we see the jaw come off and we see tissue dangling) and it is then bitten in the throat and falls to the ground dead. A large polar bear tears at something (we see bloody tissue and hear crunching).
 Several people with bows and arrows fire at others, several are struck, others shoot back and forth, a polar bear stomps on one person, and a girl is taken away with a bag over her head (when people or their daemons are struck and killed they burst into sparks and disappear).
 Several children are stopped by many soldiers with wolves, a wolf lunges at a girl, a polar bear strikes it down, a large fight among many people ensues, involving gunfire, arrows and hand-to-hand combat; many people die by bursting into sparks, and a bear is restrained by many ropes and struggles to get free before being shot (it's OK).
 A girl and her daemon are placed in a cage and a device begins to "cut them apart": we see a bright light (like a laser) moving down between them, they both thrash and scream and the procedure is stopped before completion.
 A man is shot at by men with guns, he falls over an icy ridge and slides down, he continues to run while being shot at, many wolves and men with guns surround him and they fight; he then falls over another ridge causing one man to fall to his death but he is grabbed by other men and led away (he has a bloody and bruised face).
 A man with a gun aims at a girl and a woman stabs the man in the chest (there's no blood).
 A girl is chased through dark streets by several men who snare her in a net; the men are shot by others with bows and arrows and the girl is cut out of the net by a man with a knife (she is OK).
 A woman strikes her daemon hard across the face (it falls on the floor and whimpers). A monkey grabs a rat by the throat and squeezes and we see the rat's human boy gasping and gagging. A girl is chased by a monkey, she climbs out of a window, closes the window on the monkey's hand and the monkey's human complains from pain. A monkey and a cat fight, the monkey grabs the cat around the throat, and the cat pleads with its human to make it stop (it stops and the scene ends).
 Many polar bears wearing armor surround a girl and act in a threatening manner; one threatens to kill her. A girl walks across a narrow ice bridge, she slips, and the ice breaks out from under her (she gets to the other side OK).
 Two metal, mechanical bugs (we hear that they have a sleeping poison in their stingers) are set loose to find a girl, they buzz around her, and she strikes one with a stick and one is caught under a glass. A mechanical bug stings a woman in the face (she falls to the floor unconscious and we see her later and she's unharmed).
 A man holds a gun to another man's face in order to force him to put down his weapon, which he does. A woman threatens a girl and grabs her roughly by the arm.
 A polar bear charges through a village and people are frightened; it breaks through the door of a building and soldiers with guns wait outside to shoot it (it is not shot and it does not hurt the men).
 A large machine explodes causing a compound to begin to explode and burn (people run screaming). A girl hits a wine glass out of a man's hand spilling the wine and breaking the glass.
 A girl and a boy walk on the roof of a tall building (they are OK). A girl hides in a closet and is nearly discovered. A girl rides a polar bear to a dark and abandoned shack, which she explores tentatively. A girl sneaks into a woman's office and looks through her papers.
 A sick and delirious boy is found hiding in a dark and abandoned shack. Children tease a boy, throw dirt balls at him and chase him.
 A man threatens to "silence" another man. A girl threatens boys who are teasing her friend and tells them about a curse that is placed on a gate and that if they pass through the gate they will be cursed. A girl describes a scholar's gown laced with poison that will "burn you alive" if you put it on.
 We hear about a procedure that separates children from their daemons in order to keep them obedient. A woman predicts a war to be fought over free will. People talk about someone wanting to watch as children were pulled apart from their daemons. We hear that a man will be arrested and sentenced to death. A woman describes a regiment of soldiers with wolf daemons that protects a compound. Children talk about "gobblers" who take children away (particularly poor children and servant children). A woman is described as "ghoulish." A girl's daemon says that if she gets a smack the daemon also feels the pain and we hear that if one of them is killed the other dies also.
 A leopard carries an ermine in its mouth and then tosses it onto the ground unharmed. A monkey picks up an ermine and pets it aggressively. An ermine shape shifts into a cat.
 We see a film depicting particles flowing from a cloud through an animal and into a man (we are told this is "dust" from an alternate universe sharing information).
 A man pours a powdered substance into a decanter of wine and we hear that it is poison (no one drinks from it). A man spits what might be tobacco.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 1 scatological term, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (stupid, liar, coward, heretics, ghoulish, miscreants).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A girl drinks wine and spits it back into the glass, a polar bear drinks a large bucket of whisky, a woman drinks wine at a dinner, and a man pours a glass of wine and prepares to drink from it. A man spits what could be chewing tobacco.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Parallel universes, science, authority, questioning authority, critical thinking, free inquiry, proof, truth, the fear of truth, curses, orphans, exploration, corruption, sacrifice, defiance, exile, defeat, shame, obedience, heresy, courage, tolerance.

MESSAGE - Fear of truths other than the one you hold leads to intolerance.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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