December 2007 Forecast
By David Mumpower
December 8, 2007
3) The Golden Compass
A series of unengaging, dare I say dull, trailers has finally been replaced by a white hot ad that plays up the strongest selling point of the book. Armor clad polar bears want to beat ass. It just doesn't get any more hardcore than that. If Fox wants to run this reality show during the writers' strike, I'll watch. You put a gigantic white bear in some golden armor, starve him for a few days then point him in the direction of some potential meat and that's a sight to behold. Of course, it's also a theological cousin to the type of activities that got Michael Vick in trouble, but I think I can suppress my liberal guilt long enough to enjoy a few good maulings.
The problem with The Golden Compass as a movie is that I get the feeling the polar bear royal rumble won't come until I am already bored to sleep by the proceedings. I have read this book and it was as big a snooze fest as there is outside of the Thomas Pynchon collection. The first few trailers seem much more in tone with the novel than the recent spot that socks-rocks. In talking to others about the film, this feeling is confirmed and the early tracking, while not alarming, certainly does little to indicate that Aslan should be shaking in his paw-booties. The Golden Compass is intended to be a family film that will entice children, but I cannot shake the notion that there are going to be an unusually high percentage of snoozing kids during those first few screenings. And parents talk. Word-of-mouth on this is not going to be pretty.
4) Charlie Wilson's War
My love of Aaron Sorkin is well documented, which means two things. I legally cannot get with 50 yards of him and these comments should be construed as those of someone who has a bias on the topic. Those of you who are more casual movie fans as well as BOP readers probably don't understand what any of this means. The short answer is that Aaron Sorkin is the writer of A Few Good Men as well as Charlie Wilson's War. He also did three television shows, two of which you may know. Those are The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also did a show called Sports Night that it hurts me to acknowledge you probably don't know. Please be a dear and add it to your Netflix queue. I promise not to spit on your family's graves if you do....unless you piss me off at a later date. But I digress.
The point is that Aaron Sorkin has not done a movie in a while. The last time he did one, arguably the biggest male and female leads in Hollywood, Tom Cruise and Demi Moore, frontlined the project. Amazingly enough, the same could be said of Charlie Wilson's War as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are the stars. This immediately guarantees at least a solid amount of box office. I would like to predict more. Really, I would. Unfortunately, I did something I almost never do. I cheated and read the script. While I loved it, the reality is that there is an aspect of this movie I expect to alienate some viewers. Without going into spoileriffic details, suffice it to say that I believe that unless the reviews are orgasmic, word-of-mouth on this will not be strong enough to make it the type of hit Tom Hanks usually does. I would love to be wrong, though.