his dark materials lyra's jordan review

His Dark Materials wants you to take it seriously now. And with the first episode of HBO and BBC’s TV series adaptation of Philip Pullman‘s beloved fantasy adventure novels, it achieves just that — albeit to both positive and negative effects.

Long tucked away in the children’s sections of libraries and bookstores, the His Dark Materials novels have legions of fans who have desperately wished for Pullman’s twist on Milton’s Paradise Lost to be taken seriously as a smart, even times philosophical, fantasy adventure story. In its first episode, “Lyra’s Jordan,” it’s clear that His Dark Materials TV series is most definitely “made for adults.” Prestige director Tom Hooper bestows upon the series a muted color palette and lots of shadowy corners for the whispered schemes to take place, while Jack Thorne‘s script crafts a vast web of intersecting storylines that are much more complicated than that of the book’s original adventure story revolving around the bull-headed orphan Lyra Belacqua (Dafne Keen) on a quest to rescue her friend. But by shifting the focus away from Keen’s fiery little heroine, we never get to really know “Lyra’s Jordan” or the rich, vibrant world that Pullman created — the first episode is a little too heavy on table-setting and a little too fixated on those shadowy corners.

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his dark materials review

We do not speak of the 2007 feature film The Golden Compass. Chris Weitz’s botched adaptation of the acclaimed Philip Pullman fantasy novel came at the tail end of a string of Harry Potter knock-offs, and suffered from being reduced into a typical children’s fantasy adventure without all the religious themes and dark undertones that made Pullman’s epic inversion of Milton’s Paradise Lost so great. But I’m inevitably going to draw comparisons to that nonsensical disaster of a film in this review of His Dark Materials, HBO and BBC’s lavish, enthralling, and infinitely more successful adaptation.

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IT Chapter 2 Scene Breakdown

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, a helpful new video explores just how deep the interconnected literary and cinematic universe of Stephen King goes. Plus, the cast of IT: Chapter 2 recaps the first movie in case you need to catch up before you see the sequel, and director Andy Muschietti breaks down a scene from the movie where James MvAvoy takes a trip down memory lane. Read More »

Dark Phoenix Clip

This week, the X-Men franchise as we know it is coming to an end. Dark Phoenix will be the final installment of the comic book movie series that started all the way back in 2000. While the franchise was essentially rebooted in 2011 with X-Men: First Class, it ended up getting a deeper connection to the original trilogy of movies thanks to X-Men: Days of Future Past, making the original X-Men and the new, younger mutants intertwined in a confusing timeline of superhero spectacle.

With one last push to get audiences to witness the end of the X-Men on the big screen, a new Dark Phoenix clip gives us ample tension between Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and his surrogate sister Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) after their space mission to help NASA astronauts almost took a deadly turn. Plus, a new featurette leans heavy on nostalgia by having the cast of the movie reflect on their experience with the original X-Men movies and their work on the more recent films. Read More »

it chapter two trailer breakdown

The Losers’ Club is back, and so is Pennywise the Clown in It Chapter Two. The long-awaited trailer for the horror sequel just arrived, and it does not disappoint. Rather than a traditional trailer, we get an extended (although clearly trimmed-down) scene, followed by a few quick, exciting, creepy shots. The marketing department doesn’t have to give away too much – they know the hype is real, and that audiences will happily return to the haunted town of Derry, Maine. Still, there’s plenty to latch onto here, and that’s where our It Chapter Two trailer breakdown comes in handy.

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it chapter 2 trailer viral marketing

Our patience is about to be rewarded: the It Chapter 2 trailer is dropping this week. The long-awaited return of Pennywise and the Losers’ Club got some simple yet clever viral marketing, as the cast of the upcoming horror sequel took to Instagram to share some seemingly innocuous photos featuring hidden (and not-so-hidden) red balloons.

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it chapter 2 first look

Behold! The first official look at It Chapter 2! Featuring James McAvoy as…James McAvoy. Okay, the actor is actually playing the adult version of Bill Denbrough, but when you boil this pic down, it’s pretty much James McAvoy, rocking a plaid shirt. And possibly on a bike. A silver bike, if you will. McAvoy is one of the many impressive cast members playing the adult Losers’ Club in the upcoming horror sequel, and while this isn’t a mind-blowing image, we’ll take what we can get. See the It Chapter 2 first look below.

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Dark Phoenix Trailer

Now that 20th Century Fox has been bought by Disney, the Marvel Comics mutants known as the X-Men are back home at Marvel Studios. But before that, the studio will finish the initial series nearly 20 years later with the final installment of the franchise: Dark Phoenix. The only problem is that it’s retelling a story that we’ve already heard before, and much like the recent reboot of Hellboy, it doesn’t seem to be doing much to improve it in any way. Watch the new Dark Phoenix trailer below. Read More »

Glass Blu-ray

Glass, the conclusion to M. Night Shyamalan‘s trilogy that started with Unbreakable and continued with Split, underwhelmed critics, but that didn’t keep audiences away. The movie was a huge hit, and now the Glass Blu-ray is headed our way. Glass will be available on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand in April, and the release will be loaded with over an hour of special features.

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his dark materials teaser trailer

BBC has released the first look at its big-budget adaptation of His Dark Materials. The teaser trailer gives audiences a glimpse at the star-studded cast of the fantasy miniseries, which is set to adapt all three novels of Philip Pullman‘s acclaimed fantasy series, led by James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ruth Wilson, and Dafne Keen.

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