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July 19, 2019 5:18 PM   Subscribe

His Dark Materials, Extended Trailer. The BBC and HBO released a glimpse of their adaptation of Philip Pullman's fantasy series, apparently due out later this year. The cast includes Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda as the Texan aeronaut. posted by doctornemo (54 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
Uh, YES please
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 5:24 PM on July 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


That seems a great deal more compelling than the dead-eyed homunculi in the Fucking Rat Company's totally unnecessary remake of The Lion King.
posted by sourcequench at 5:25 PM on July 19, 2019 [10 favorites]


Holy Shit, as a rabbit person, if they fuck up LMM's bunny I will TAKE IT TO THE STREETS.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:28 PM on July 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


I was very cautiously optimistic before, now I'm .... normal cautiously optimistic.
posted by tclark at 5:33 PM on July 19, 2019 [6 favorites]


Man, it really sucks that the movie actually managed to cast Sam Elliott as Lee Scoresby and then ended up bad.

LMM’s great but come on. SAM ELLIOTT.
posted by Sokka shot first at 5:47 PM on July 19, 2019 [40 favorites]


My status is also cautiously optimistic!

I will also go on record at this time with the unpopular opinion that all three books are good actually.
posted by bleep at 5:56 PM on July 19, 2019 [19 favorites]


Wait, bleep, that’s an unpopular opinion?
posted by kellygrape at 6:03 PM on July 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


The alethiometer looked good. Not quite convinced on the ursine armor yet..

I loved the first two, couldn't quite finish the last book.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 6:04 PM on July 19, 2019


Team cautiously optimistic!

The trailer already looks better than the movie, the thing that currently irks me the most is the Verge's statement that "it’s meant as a potential Game of Thrones successor"?

...please don't.
Just do a good adaptation of the source material and make it three seasons, that's all I want.
posted by bigendian at 6:05 PM on July 19, 2019 [20 favorites]


I don't want this to be the new GoT oh my god. Just do it right for gods sake.
posted by bleep at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2019 [13 favorites]


Steampunk really has legs!
posted by Brocktoon at 6:21 PM on July 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


Yes, that's a common opinion...

The third book was such a waste of time, and all the time spent before that I just can't even...
posted by Windopaene at 6:36 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the books kind of curl up their own butts as you go on. There's great worldbuiling that is then ditched for uh, wheelybirds? This is not uncommon when it comes to fantasy. (Temeraire, I see you.)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:43 PM on July 19, 2019 [11 favorites]


I still haven't seen any announcement about who's voicing Iorek (and definitely on the Sam Elliott front - I can never think of Lee without thinking Elliott)
posted by drewbage1847 at 6:43 PM on July 19, 2019


the organic motorcycle elephants fucking rule and the NUMBER ONE problem EVERY OTHER work of fiction has in the 21st century is that there are LITTLE TO NO organic motorcycle elephants
posted by Greg Nog at 6:47 PM on July 19, 2019 [81 favorites]


the NUMBER ONE problem EVERY OTHER work of fiction has in the 21st century is that there are LITTLE TO NO organic motorcycle elephants

(almost simultaneously)
Finn: Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant!
Jake: Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant!

Sorry for derail. Watching a lot of AT at the moment and couldn't resist. Carry on!
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 7:00 PM on July 19, 2019 [18 favorites]


I am excite
posted by killdevil at 7:02 PM on July 19, 2019


Aww man, the third book was my favorite. I liked the wheel people and I really liked Mary's story - I think I like reading about women in science and the slow scientific discovery process. Anyway, I've re-read the first and third books multiple times but I haven't gone back to the second book.

I'm excited for this series!
posted by catcafe at 7:03 PM on July 19, 2019 [17 favorites]


From what I recall of my childhood, I loved the first book, liked the other two despite the story creep, and more or less enjoyed the movie too. I haven't been back to any of it in easily of a decade, but I am surprisingly giddy about the trailer (and Ruth Wilson especially is A+ casting). Definitely not a story that needs to be expanded any more than it already is, though.
posted by eponym at 7:06 PM on July 19, 2019


I am also on team 1 and 3, but not so much 2. I am definitely on team HDM, but like within that, subtle shades of, no, 2 didn't do it for me. Secondly, I am on team totally optimistic this looks great and sure they'll probably screw up some things but isn't it great that we get a steady stream of entertainment?
posted by ramble-on-prose at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really don't like James McAvoy and the actress for Mrs. Coulter doesn't really match the book's description but I love HDM, so will watch. The movie had such a dreamcast though and was wonderful, if it wasn't for the Catholic Church intervening with it.
posted by yueliang at 7:19 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


was wonderful, if it wasn't for the Catholic Church intervening with it.

Wait, what?
posted by soundguy99 at 7:21 PM on July 19, 2019 [2 favorites]


(Bear with me, I so rarely get to impart pop culture knowledge (for certain definitions of pop))

In case you were curious, Mrs. Coulter's daemon is a golden snub-nosed monkey. They're endangered and live in the Chinese mountains. This is another deviation from the previous version, in which her daemon was a golden lion tamarin. They are also endangered and live in the Brazilian cloud forest.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:47 PM on July 19, 2019 [15 favorites]


I'm firmly on Team Motorcycle Elephant. My only problem with the books was that they spent too much time worrying about the what the Alethiometer* had to say and not nearly enough time having gonzo adventures in trippy parallel dimensions with the Subtle Knife.

This looks pretty good.

*which I spelled correctly on the first try, thank you very much.
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 7:56 PM on July 19, 2019 [9 favorites]


I've kind of kept up with the new additions to the series and they are pretty good! There was a prequel that came out and I forget if it was going to be a series but the first one was good.
posted by bleep at 8:30 PM on July 19, 2019


I know I’m on the margins here on MeFi with this opinion but the sinking feeling of sadness the moment I saw Lin Manuel Miranda appear is hard to shake. It just... can’t be that good if he’s in it.
posted by dis_integration at 8:59 PM on July 19, 2019 [7 favorites]


His presence isn't pulling me one way or the other. I'm glad to see the source material* getting a better treatment than the stupid movie, which was actually worse than bad all the way to dull.

*yes, yes, I know.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:07 PM on July 19, 2019


Texturally this is already way more in the ballpark of what I want from a film version of these.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:11 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


This looks good and I hope it becomes as popular as GoT , without going as rapey.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 9:14 PM on July 19, 2019 [1 favorite]


I will also go on record at this time with the unpopular opinion that all three books are good actually

Bleep, I'm with you. I enjoyed all three books. I was a bit perplexed when it became a given on the webs that they'd gone downhill.

And the prequel - The Book of Dust - is really excellent. A prequel done right.

As for the movie - I agree with the general sentiment that the casting was excellent - you cannot beat Sam Elliott - but the decision to excise the books' BIG themes truly disappointing.
posted by misterbee at 9:20 PM on July 19, 2019 [4 favorites]


Yeah, consider me cautiously optimistic after watching this trailer.

My only concern with LMM is that he kinda isn't . . . grizzled enough? He's not even forty and he looks damn 10 years younger than that. I don't remember if there's much in the text about Lee Scoresby's actual age (the fandom Wikia says he died at 59, for whatever that's worth) but my impression at least was that if he was younger than 50, it was a hard-lived younger-than-50.

Idris Elba shoulda passed on the Cats thing and aimed for the Lee Scorseby role . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 9:25 PM on July 19, 2019 [12 favorites]


Oh, this looks fun. Leaning into the dystopian angle is an intriguing choice – Lyra's world expands much more slowly and personally in the books, so I'm curious to see how a more holistic perspective will change the impact of the story. Ruth Wilson's Luther-proven ability to pivot between genius and madness will lend itself very well to playing Mrs. Coulter.

The books always grind to a halt for me when Scoresby comes out with his ponderous aw-shucks Americanness, reminding me that even in a radically different alternate universe, there's apparently no escaping the wholesome frontiersman archetype (and the sanitized colonialist nonsense behind it)... but this could definitely work. Interest piqued!
posted by lumensimus at 12:52 AM on July 20, 2019


LMM’s great but come on. SAM ELLIOTT.

When I read the books, I pictured Sam Jackson.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:01 AM on July 20, 2019 [3 favorites]


I love Sam Elliot, but I always thought he was wrong for Lee Scoresby, who I saw as being a good bit more manic, and on the younger side. He's a little reckless and a little cornball, which LMM can certainly do. It'd be good to see if he can do something less than completely wholesome. Skim-some, as it were.
posted by pykrete jungle at 4:05 AM on July 20, 2019


I confess that when I was watching the Comic-Con video, the whole time Lin was walking out onto the stage and taking his seat for the panel, I was watching for the "great-job" shout-out to MY BROTHER MY BROTHER AND ME that's become his trademark thing now, and all happy when he did it right before sitting down.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:43 AM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


was wonderful, if it wasn't for the Catholic Church intervening with it.

Wait, what?


Review of the 2007 theatrical film from America, a Jesuit magazine

"But what of the earlier question: is "The Golden Compass" an appropriate film for Christians? Should parents take their children to see it, knowing it may spark their interest in reading the books? But of course we should not fear books or underestimate our children. Parents should be happy if their children want to read them. The potential harm is far outweighed by the definite good achieved by getting kids to read in general. Anti-Catholic fiction in this country has been around for as long as the United States has existed..."
posted by otherchaz at 6:37 AM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


I am excited by the prospect here. I read the books to my son, and he kept emphatically asking for “more Lyra” each night when asked what he wanted me to read that evening. But the movie, well certainly well-cast (visually) just didn’t work. Removing the key background themes, revealing a little too much too early, it took away too much of the story arc to actually be anything except an excuse to see talking bears fight. (And I really don’t mind LMM as Scoresby, except he doesn’t SOUND like a Texican to me, but then again faking an accent you don’t naturally have is difficult and too often just comes out totally flat and wrong, so judgement will be reserved)

Between this and GOT maybe the HBO subscription would be worth the expense for a bit.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:52 AM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Casting was SO GOOD for that mediocre movie version that I retain real affection for it. But this year has been surprisingly solid for adaptations (What We Do in the Shadows, Good Omens, Catch-22) on TV. It makes me think that we might not be squandering the opportunity of peak TV... adaptations are tricky, but the money and talent are where they need to be right now.

(also hoping this will send more Ms Coulter fic into the world, which is almost always so much better than it ought to be)
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


> And I really don’t mind LMM as Scoresby, except he doesn’t SOUND like a Texican to me...

In the novels, Texas is part of New Denmark, so they can explain away pretty much any accent they want, though LMM doing an imperfect imitation of a Danish accent would work perfectly with the alternate history.
posted by nangar at 8:42 AM on July 20, 2019


was wonderful, if it wasn't for the Catholic Church intervening with it.

Wait, what?

Review of the 2007 theatrical film from America, a Jesuit magazine


Hmm. I guess I just kind of mis-read the original comment - "was wonderful, if it wasn't for the Catholic Church intervening" I took as meaning something like intervening with the script or shooting or production to reduce the atheist themes before the film was finished. A certain amount of my own web-searching suggests that while there was certainly some outcry and boycotting of the flick after its release, often spearheaded by Catholic organizations, opinions definitely differ about how much effect it had - even the linked Jesuit article has strong doubts about the influence of the boycotts. General consensus seems to be more that the film just wasn't good enough to overcome some strong competition, so the money just wasn't there to convince the studio to make more.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:54 AM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


Is it weird that I always pictured Tim Blake Nelson in the Lee Scoresby role?
posted by tclark at 8:58 AM on July 20, 2019 [5 favorites]


Oh my god. I love that.
posted by bleep at 9:38 AM on July 20, 2019


really don’t mind LMM as Scoresby, except he doesn’t SOUND like a Texican

Not Grizzled.

Not a fan but incredibly impressed by LMM in what I've seen thrilled for future works, and ok, go for cockney accent or jut about anything but even in 50-60 years in the future gruff grizzled just isn't going to play.
posted by sammyo at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2019


Is this a series, what I'd like personally is compressing the second two books into the last episode and the school/city/religion into the first and all the middle episodes just puttering along doing fun adventures on the long riverboats and pirates and more boats.
posted by sammyo at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


@soundguy99: That was a little unclear of me and needed more elaboration, the Catholic Church didn't directly intervene with the film, but the studio execs were so fearful of the backlash that they already gutted the original movie before it was even released, and there are huge amounts of the film that are not shown or recovered. A lot of fans wish that there was a proper Director's Cut that was sitting around to see what the actual movie would have been in its full glory, because they had to remove a lot of pivotal scenes that were very clearly critical of institutionalized religion.


'Golden Compass' film points to controversy

posted by yueliang at 11:22 AM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


I recall spending pretty much a day in a theatre watching Nicholas Hytner’s HDM adaptation. - notably the daemons who were brought to life by the same Handspring Theatre Company that went on to do Warhorse. I hope this comes close. HDM draws upon some pretty heavy duty inspirations in art literature and science - it would be nice to see an adaptation that somehow conveys this.
posted by rongorongo at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


The film was awful but the trailer looks like the series may be watchable. So, asking as someone in the USA who loves the books (including the third), has read them to my kids and all, but who's ignorant and doesn't yet use TV, does it mean I'll have to subscribe to HBO to watch the series?
posted by anadem at 11:56 AM on July 20, 2019




I think I may have said this elsewhere on MeFi, but I have an actor pal who's bezzies with someone in the HDM cast. The buzz on set was tremendous - crew opinion was that it's got a good chance of getting as much critical and audience buy-in as GoT.

I know. Actors, eh? But I've never seen my pal (a big Pullman fan) so excited about a production, so I am going out on a limb, abandoning caution and going for solidly optimistic.
posted by Devonian at 1:06 PM on July 20, 2019 [6 favorites]


the Alethiometer*
*which I spelled correctly on the first try, thank you very much.


Yeah, me too.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:12 PM on July 20, 2019 [10 favorites]


I was always baffled by the Catholic outrage, given that the whole point was that in a universe where dæmons were plaintly visible, Calvinism had won.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also I will say that LMM is closer in my headcanon to Scoresby than Sam Elliott. But that's only because of the bit in the second book where you learn that the Mark Twain dialogue was distracting you from the fact that he was Navajo (or possibly even Anasazi? I forget if it's even that clear.)
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:56 PM on July 20, 2019 [4 favorites]


HDM draws upon some pretty heavy duty inspirations in art literature and science - it would be nice to see an adaptation that somehow conveys this.
(Back in 2008 I made a post listing all of the influences that Pullman had talked about - I had forgotten just how many of them there are.) The original links to the South Bank Show interview with Pullman appear to have vanished - but here is a more recent interview from 2018 where he was launching The Book of Dust.
posted by rongorongo at 11:36 PM on July 20, 2019 [2 favorites]


The third book veers off the rails in so many ways, but there's also so much in that book that I can't dismiss it out of hand. The land of the dead and the Adventures of Lady Field Linguist In Another Dimension were so memorable and so very much my jam.

This looks really good. But LMM... I hope he does Lee justice, I really do. But when he says "I can fight"... Oh honey. I don't believe that for a second.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:49 AM on July 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


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