The man’s got a lot of chutzpah to be dissing LOTR.
How Hollywood Saved God
This month, New Line Cinema will release The Golden Compass, based on the first book in a trilogy of edgy childrenâ..s novels written by the British author Philip Pullman. A trailer for the movie evokes The Lord of the Rings, and comparisons have been made to The Chronicles of Narnia. All three are epic adventures that unfold in a rich fantasy world, perfect for the big screen. But beyond that basic description, the comparisons fall apart. In the past, Pullman has expressed mainly contempt for the books on which the other movies were based. He once dismissed the Lord of the Rings trilogy as an â..infantile workâ. primarily concerned with â..maps and plans and languages and codes.â. Narnia got it even worse: â..Morally loathsome,â. he called it. â..One of the most ugly and poisonous things Iâ..ve ever read.â. He described his own series as Narniaâ..s moral opposite. â..Thatâ..s the Christian one,â. he told me. â..And mine is the non-Christian.â.
In the past, Pullman has defended the â..good faith of the film-makersâ. and denied any â..betrayal.â. On the surface, his relationship with the studio has remained â..cordial,â. as he put it. The director, Chris Weitz, has made several pilgrimages to Oxford, and the two men exchange e-mails. Pullman got to review a video of the final 50 candidates for the part of Lyra, and he has made script suggestions. Still, the studio publicist seemed nervous when she heard I was going to visit him. All things being equal, Pullman told me, New Line would prefer he were, well, the late author of The Golden Compass. Dead? â..Yes! Absolutely!â. If something happened to him, there â..would be expressions of the most heartfelt regrets, yet privately they would be saying, â..Thank God.â..â.