The promoters of the controversial movie, The Golden Compass, are making an effort to diminish the boycott being threatened by Catholics and other Christian groups. The advertising agency for the movie has sent an email to the top 50 weekly Catholic newspapers asking that they consider running an ad promoting the movie.
Advertising Media Plus, the agency promoting The Golden Compass, is trying to use a review by Harry Forbes, the director of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Office for Film & Broadcasting, as leverage against the boycott being called for by Catholics and Evangelicals.
National Account Manager for Advertising Media Plus, Bob Bugle sent an email to the top 50 Catholic newspapers saying that New Line Cinema is interested “in possibly advertising The Golden Compass in the Catholic press.”
His email goes on to mention that the movie has caused some controversy and then attempts to ease any concerns by citing a positive review from Harry Forbes, the Director of the USCCB’s Office of Film and Broadcasting.
In his review, Mr. Forbes writes that the film “taken purely on its own cinematic terms, can be viewed as an exciting adventure story with, at its core, a traditional struggle between good and evil, and a generalized rejection of authoritarianism”. The Golden Compass was given an A II classification-Adults & Adolescents.
Starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, "The Golden Compass" traces a 12-year-old girl named Lyra from Oxford, England to the Arctic and then to the edge of another universe, where she becomes locked in a battle between good and evil. The characters are shadowed by their own "daemons," talking animal companions that take on soul-like qualities.
This past October, the Catholic League launched a boycott of the film, calling it "selling atheism to kids" in stealth fashion. The Catholic League’s boycott, although it objects to some parts of the film, is more focused on the atheistic agenda that author Philip Pullman’s trilogy of books promotes. The Golden Compass comes from Pullman’s first book in his trilogy.
Among the objectionable content mentioned by protestors is the use of the term the “Magisterium”, (the central “Magisterium” is located in Geneva) which attempts to control thought and happily crushes heresy, sometimes murderous intent.
Also of note is the character “Father Gomez,” who is given absolution in advance before being sent out by the Magisterium to kill Dr. Mary Malone, an ex-nun, now physicist, who’s posed to play the part of Lyra’s tempting serpent.
In the books following Pullman’s first work, The Golden Compass, his rhetoric against religion and Christianity increases to the point that English Professor Alan Jacobs of Wheaton College says, “A writer who tells adolescents that good folks are distinguished from evil ones on the single criterion of religious belief is not doing them any favors.”
Interestingly, according to Mr. Forbes, “the religious themes of the later books may be more prominent in the follow-up films which Weitz (the producer of The Golden Compass) has vowed will be less watered down.”