/ 19 December 2007

Vatican paper criticises Golden Compass

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano has criticised the children’s film The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman, calling it “anti-Christmas”.

Co-starring British actor Daniel Craig, the film is a “fantasy saga with 1960s sauce,” the paper said in its Tuesday evening edition.

“The fact that the film earned only $25-million in box office on the first weekend is a consolation,” L’Osservatore Romano said.

The movie, an adaptation of The Northern Lights, the first book in British author Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, has been criticised by Christian groups as being anti-religious.

It led the United States box office on its opening weekend on December 8 and 9, garnering $26,1-million, but fell short of expectations for such a high-budget production.

The film, packed with special effects, cost $150-million to make.

L’Osservatore Romano said Pullman advocates “a totally atheist ideology, the enemy of all religions, traditional and institutional, and of Christianity and Catholicism in particular”.

The film tells the story of an orphan living in a parallel universe in which a dogmatic dictatorship — the Magisterium, which also refers to the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church — threatens to dominate the world.

Criticism from some religious groups led to a watering down of religious elements in the film, to the dismay of secular organisations and fans of the book trilogy. – AFP