battle of the bears

...that would be the highlight of the movie "the golden compass", this holiday's offering for your fantasy flick fix. (warning: spoilers ahead!)

in a parallel universe far, far away, where witches fly without brooms and polar bears can talk and do mortal combat, lived an orphan girl named lyra who was prophesized to lead a war using a fancy gadget called an "alethiometer", or simply, the golden compass. this device is akin to a magic 8 ball, only your answer is told by three symbols, which only lyra can interpret. her adventure to find the mysterious "dust" and her father who all along happens to be her uncle, lord asriel (the new james bond, daniel craig), begins when she is swept away into a strange place in a futuristic-looking blimp by the sultry yet evil mrs. coulter (nicole kidman).

in this alternate world, people's souls are visible to the eye and are called "daemons." they take the form of an animal in the opposite sex and are symbolic of the individual's personality. they accompany you until death, like a faithful pet. lyra's daemon is a cute little meerkat.

i wonder what my college professor in philosophy would have said about this idea. i went to the movie's website and clicked on the tab that invites you to "meet your daemon." after answering 20 questions about my personality traits, the site revealed my animal alter-ego to be a mouse named thalius, who is described as "solitary, responsible, shy, passive and clever." the first four adjectives seemed to be accurate, but i don't know about the last one. hehe.

there were scenes in the movie which resembled hogwarts castle and an other-worldly london. the movie's ending begged for a sequel, which did not surprise me. and so continues the chronicles of the compass.

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