The first instalment of Philip Pullman's hugely successful trilogy of fantasy books, His Dark Materials, has had a troubled transition to the screen. The adaptation has managed to upset both Christians and atheists, the former because of the book's anti-religious themes and the latter because those very themes have been watered down and virtually excised from the film. ............
Why can't people just lighten up a bit? After all this is a movie in which the ever reliable Sam Elliot "shines as the gun-toting Texan aeronaut who joins forces with Lyra and a whisky-drinking polar bear (with a voice supplied by Ian McKellen) on their quest to save Roger and the other kidnapped children".
Agreeable as it might be to have a five minute adolescent fantasy chat about how odd it is that - say - the militantly atheistic Pullman's magnum opus is steeped in theology, while religion is absent from the devoutly Catholic JRR Tolkein's Middle Earth, it is scarcely serious.
Anyway, break out the popcorn because here is the bit where true bear king Iorek Byrnison and pretender to his throne Ragnar Sturlusson have a big fight because one said the other's momma was so fat or something (while simultaneously superseding the ephemeral reach of ideology by slipping the facade of allegory).