As Christians, it can sometimes seem as if God doesn’t take revenge near often enough. We are glad He provides mercy to us, but we sure relish a good Holy butt kicking when we hear about it.
I am sure by now everyone has heard of, or seen, the movie adapted from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. The first film installment of the series was entitled The Golden Compass.
The movie was released by New Line Cinema as the new Chronicles of Narnia without all the excessive religious overtones. Both movies were adapted from children’s books that use religious allegory to tell a story.
The Chronicles of Narnia took the position as telling a story of redemption, forgiveness, and good overcoming evil. The Golden Compass did not. The truth is that Philip Pullman is a devote atheist, who told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2003, “My books are about killing God.”
In his books, every child is spiritually connected to a ‘demon’ that follows them through life as a guide, mentor, and protector. These ‘demons’ are in the form of animals and have the ability, for at least a time, to change shape at will. The world is ruled by a power lustful organization called the Magisterium which bears remarkable resemblance to a wayward church. The series centers on the destruction of the Magisterium and the return of ‘freedom’ through the rebellion of children.
Both movies, Disney’s Narnia and New Line’s Compass, cost in the ball park of $180 million to produce. The nice warm fuzzy part is that The Golden Compass only earned $70 million when released in the U.S. box office. Disney’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe earned a staggering $291.7 million before going into the global market where it exceeded $453.1 million. Needless to say, the Christian allegory was a smashing success and its hedonistic predecessor was not.
Golden Compass was such a dismal failure, and such a tremendous loss of profit to New Line Cinema, that the company had to fold and be swallowed up by its parent company, Warner Bros.
Now, I am suggesting that God cared so much about U.S. box office returns that He allowed Golden Compass to flop due to its content? Not at all; however, it sure was the sort of news that made me smile with some small part of me down deep inside say, “That’s what you get, stupid!”