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Author Topic: His Dark Materials (HBO)  (Read 4192 times)
Khaldun
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on: November 04, 2019, 05:14:36 PM

I think this is going to be pretty good. Honestly the film version of "The Golden Compass" wasn't awful until it absolutely chickened out on the harshness of the ending arc of the first book. I don't think that's happening this time.

What it's like when it gets to The Amber Spyglass, I'm not so sure. We will see.
Chimpy
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Reply #1 on: November 04, 2019, 10:30:03 PM

I guess this aired tonight, it was on HBONow when I went to look for something to watch.

Watched it, was not bad. I never read the books so I am semi lost but whatever.

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Reply #2 on: November 05, 2019, 12:00:49 AM

If you've never read the books, stop watching this and read them. It's my favorite book series, period. I put it up against LotR; in many ways it is the epic modern fantasy trilogy.

Book 1 is a nice intro.
Book 2 is a nice deviation and expansion of Book 1.
Book 3 turns Books 1 and 2 up to 11 plus more.

If you're a devout Catholic, it's likely you won't like this series. My dad was super pissed at me for recommending it to him.
Abagadro
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Reply #3 on: November 05, 2019, 12:10:11 AM

There are 5 books now.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

-H.L. Mencken
Hawkbit
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Reply #4 on: November 05, 2019, 12:32:28 AM

I didn’t include the second trilogy because it’s not completely published yet. :)
Khaldun
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Reply #5 on: November 05, 2019, 07:14:18 AM

I thought it was very good. My wife felt a bit lost at times--I did think that oddly the dialogue was actually hard to hear in the first 1/3 of the episode, sort of rushed or not clearly enunciated. The gyptians could have used a mild bit of exposition in the first scene they appear in, though I think everyone will pick up quickly that they're gypsies (esp. once the houseboats appear).
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Reply #6 on: November 05, 2019, 11:35:28 AM

If you've never read the books, stop watching this and read them. It's my favorite book series, period. I put it up against LotR; in many ways it is the epic modern fantasy trilogy.

Book 1 is a nice intro.
Book 2 is a nice deviation and expansion of Book 1.
Book 3 turns Books 1 and 2 up to 11 plus more.

If you're a devout Catholic, it's likely you won't like this series. My dad was super pissed at me for recommending it to him.

Some of the more religious members of my family ranted about this series when the movie came out a few years ago. I heard stuff like "It's very anti-religious. I don't think you should take your daughter to see it." That, of course, only made me more interested in it.

"We live in a country, where John Lennon takes six bullets in the chest, Yoko Ono was standing right next to him and not one fucking bullet! Explain that to me! Explain that to me, God! Explain it to me, God!" - Denis Leary summing up my feelings about the nature of the universe.
Khaldun
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Reply #7 on: November 05, 2019, 11:55:18 AM

The film was actually pretty good for the first half or so, then it completely pussies out and abandons the central narrative direction that the series absolutely requires. And it soft-pedals the anti-religious theme.

It's funny--until The Amber Spyglass, the main content of the books that concerns religion is completely standard anti-organized religion, pretty nearly specifically anti-Catholicism. It's only in the third book that the dam breaks and the larger inversion of Paradise Lost steps into view (which I think is actually where the books falter a bit simply because it becomes abstract and a bit too 'cosmic').
Mandella
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Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 12:11:45 PM

Speaking of the original books, I bogged down hard in the third. The author completely, to my mind, lost all interesting narrative and just started lecturing. It was a shame, and I'd be interested to know if folks feel he got back on track later.

As to the anti-religious theme, well yeah! If that's going to offend you, I definitely recommend the books!

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Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 12:15:51 PM

Speaking of the original books, I bogged down hard in the third. The author completely, to my mind, lost all interesting narrative and just started lecturing. It was a shame, and I'd be interested to know if folks feel he got back on track later.

It's been years, but I thought the third book was the greatest conclusion to a trilogy I've ever experienced. I am another who considers them among the best books written.

The anti-religious theme is, as Hawkbit said, dialed up to 11 in that book, but in a fearless thing of beauty rather than a diatribe.

I couldn't not watch this show (though I haven't yet).
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 12:19:48 PM by Tale »
Khaldun
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Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 02:05:32 PM

The third book definitely has one of the most devastating, heart-breaking scenes I've read in a book.

There's also a kind of WTF plot element near the end that I am assuming they're going to avoid. At least I hope so. Best not to talk about it though in a thread that's mixed readers and non-readers.
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Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 02:14:04 PM

If you've never read the books, stop watching this and read them. It's my favorite book series, period. I put it up against LotR; in many ways it is the epic modern fantasy trilogy.

Book 1 is a nice intro.
Book 2 is a nice deviation and expansion of Book 1.
Book 3 turns Books 1 and 2 up to 11 plus more.

If you're a devout Catholic, it's likely you won't like this series. My dad was super pissed at me for recommending it to him.
It has been my almost universal experience that watching the film adaptation of something, then reading the book, is always better.  Watching the film Cold, you get to judge it on its own merits with no baggage, and enjoy it if its well made.  Then you get to read the even more finely crafted book and enjoy that.  Two enjoyable experiences in a row.  Other way around, you enjoy the book, but then can’t help but nitpick the film/series for all the things it left our or simplified (because that is something all adaptations have to do).  You may still love it, but it can often spoil a movie you might have otherwise blissfully enjoyed.

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Chimpy
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Reply #12 on: November 13, 2019, 08:41:04 PM

Second episode was pretty good. The facial expressions on the animal familiar things is pretty well done, I must say. Really helps give them personality rather than just “cgi animal that has a voiceover track.”

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Abagadro
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Reply #13 on: November 13, 2019, 09:01:29 PM

Eh, seems kinda stiff and they are moving reveals way up in the story in a way that not only doesn't make any sense but is also kinda boring.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

-H.L. Mencken
Khaldun
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Reply #14 on: November 14, 2019, 09:00:48 AM

I was a little surprised yeah by the very casual "Oh hai I am in your Earth now having coffee" thing. I presume that might be because they're going to slowly start preparing for The Subtle Knife material earlier than the big climax of Golden Compass.
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Reply #15 on: November 15, 2019, 12:28:04 PM

The Lyra / Ms Coulter interactions were just kind of weird, abrupt and stilted in this last episode. I haven't read the books, so maybe I'm missing something, but they didn't seem believable at all and the offhand "dust" comments were just came off as kind of stupid.

I didn't like this episode compared to the first. The first did some nice world building and establishing of characters. This one kind of ran with something that wasn't even there yet.

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Khaldun
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Reply #16 on: November 15, 2019, 01:13:30 PM

Mrs. Coulter is pretty weird with Lyra in the book too, right off the bat, both for the short-term reason visible right at that moment (she's in cahoots with the bad guys) and for other reasons that the books conceal for quite a long time but that the series has chosen to foreground right away. But in the books, it doesn't take long for Lyra to get out on the streets looking for her friend, and it's in keeping with the spiky independence that she's portrayed as having from the outset. About the only thing we didn't get in that regard was a few more scenes of her climbing on the roofs in Oxford and generally being a bit of a feral child (though as it turns out, the most closely watched and protected feral child imaginable).
Tale
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Reply #17 on: November 15, 2019, 02:59:03 PM

I just started the first episode and was startled by the immediate exposition. Just show me a world where people have daemons and I'll figure it out. Don't explain the situation to me before showing me the situation. It does look His Dark Materialsy though.
Salamok
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Reply #18 on: November 21, 2019, 11:21:46 PM

If you're a devout Catholic, it's likely you won't like this series. My dad was super pissed at me for recommending it to him.

Pretty sure this is the entire point of the series, book 1 is almost like a hook designed to get on school reading lists then book 3 is a total fuck you to the church.  Clan of the Cave Bear kind of did this too, first book was racy and maybe so long that whoever the fuck was putting it on the schools young adult recommended reading lists maybe didn't read it all, then each book after that proceeded to get more pornographic.
Khaldun
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Reply #19 on: November 26, 2019, 08:34:27 AM

Latest one feels more assured on the whole, though once again, even the earlier film was pretty solid up to this point (almost being shot-for-shot the same here and there). From here on it is where the show has to get it right.

Lin-Manuel Miranda was maybe not the best bit of stunt casting, though. (Especially compared to Sam Elliott.) I love Lin-Manuel but he occasionally dropped into a vague attempt to do a Texan drawl and it was not not not working.
Khaldun
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Reply #20 on: December 05, 2019, 07:54:10 PM

They seem to have fully committed to getting the first quarter or so of The Subtle Knife off and running by the end of the season, which is an interesting move. Makes me think they're going for no more than a three season conclusion to this; arguably even a two season one if they dropped a lot of the slog of the last third of the Amber Spyglass?
Khaldun
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Reply #21 on: December 05, 2019, 08:40:15 PM

Re-reading. I'm guessing this season doesn't end with the spectacular and distressing ending of the first book but instead with the second book after Will arrives in Cittagaze.
Cyrrex
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Reply #22 on: December 13, 2019, 01:55:57 AM

Finally got around to this.  I have never seen or read anything from this work, so I had no expectations going in.  Liking it rather a lot so far, and now I might have to figure out which books to read and in what order.

Also, the CGI on the animals is getting close to perfect.  Quite some times we live in.

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Khaldun
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Reply #23 on: December 14, 2019, 06:57:22 AM

I've decided that the only thing I really don't like is actually Dafne Keen's performance as Lyra. I had thought she'd be perfect but she feels inconsistent to me.
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Reply #24 on: December 14, 2019, 10:35:17 PM

I agree. It's a lot to ask a young actor to carry an entire show.

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

-H.L. Mencken
Khaldun
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Reply #25 on: December 15, 2019, 07:25:23 AM

Yeah, it's a huge burden and Lyra is kind of a complicated character--a bit sullen, a bit madcap, a lot angry, some sensitive.
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Reply #26 on: December 19, 2019, 09:37:10 PM

I have not read the books so I can’t comment on casting as it pertains to book things.

But man, Alice Morgan Ruth Wilson plays a perfect psychopath.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Cyrrex
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Reply #27 on: December 20, 2019, 01:43:17 AM

I like Lyra quite a bit, but having not read the books I have nothing to compare it to.

"...maybe if you cleaned the piss out of the sunny d bottles under your desks and returned em, you could upgrade you vid cards, fucken lusers.." - Grunk
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Reply #28 on: December 27, 2019, 07:23:58 PM

I liked the way the last episode of the season went. They didn’t have season 2 in the “coming to HBO in 2020” trailer :(

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Reply #29 on: December 27, 2019, 11:19:18 PM

I quit around episode 3. Should I try again?

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Cyrrex
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Reply #30 on: December 28, 2019, 10:02:33 AM

I quit around episode 3. Should I try again?

--Dave

I don’t what made you quit it, but I would guess that if you did not like it after 3, then you just don’t like it. 

"...maybe if you cleaned the piss out of the sunny d bottles under your desks and returned em, you could upgrade you vid cards, fucken lusers.." - Grunk
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Reply #31 on: December 28, 2019, 04:24:43 PM

IMHO it's just not that great, compared with the heights hit by contemporary series such as Watchmen, The Witcher even, or the source material. It's perfectly fine though. I will finish watching it sometime soon.
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Reply #32 on: November 16, 2020, 06:45:08 PM

I still haven't finished season 1, despite picking it up at least 3 times intending to get through it. There's something inexplicably unappealing about it, despite it keeping up appearances of appeal. I note season 2 is now underway.
Khaldun
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Reply #33 on: November 16, 2020, 10:42:22 PM

Huh, did it start?

We kept scratching our head about why it didn't really work for us either.

I think it adds up to, "I wish they had some of the cast from the film with a slightly more lively script and this art direction and general staging". Daphne Keen seems like perfect casting but she's just not. I don't know quite why. Part of it may be the whole bit where Lyra is supposed to win the day with the bears with her eloquence and Keen just does not sell it at all. The script doesn't help, but it doesn't work at all. Just in general, her Lyra falls flat, and that's a bunch of complicated things not working that aren't just her but she's a big part of the problem.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, I love the guy, but he fucking sucks in this role. Sam Elliott was pretty much the Platonic ideal of that character and Miranda needed to make a decision to play way way against him and instead he comes off like an art major from Austin who is told he has to act like a Texan.

I understand the decision to intercut The Subtle Knife into this but I'm not sure that worked either.

I'm not sure McAvoy is great either as Asriel. Craig kind of nailed that even though he was denied the big pay-off because the filmmakers chickened out.

Also, having read the prequels and recently re-read the first two books in the original trilogy? I'm not sure the source material is as great as it seemed to me the first time I read it.

Anyway, the first season was not bad. But it also didn't have the emotional punch I expected, including what happens to Roger. I wish I understood better why not but it just doesn't.
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Reply #34 on: November 17, 2020, 11:32:44 AM

The child abuse makes this challenging to watch.
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