SF elements: familiar animals
This is a film adaptation of Pullman's book His Dark Materials.
Orphan Lyra's strange life in Jordan College is upset when her best friend disappears, feared abducted by the Gobblers, and the dazzling Mrs Coulter demands the she accompany her to steampunk London. Before she goes, the Master entrusts the last alethiometer to her keeping, and she discovers that she can use it. Her adventures compound, until she finds herself in the Northern wilds, teaming up with one of the intelligent armoured polar bears, to rescue her friends.
The action-adventure overwhelms the deeper metaphysics in this film version, but that's what you'd expect, really. Everything crackles along, and the talking bears are great. But read the book first, so that you can fill in the gaps while watching the film.
reviewed 6 January 2012