Vehicles of The Golden Compass (2007)
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Although there’s no “cars” in The Golden Compass, there is a good diversity of vehicles set in a particular parallel past/future such as the Sky Ferry, the Carriage, balloons, ships, etc.
Potter, Narnia, Stardust… The Golden Compass is the latest in that long list of fantasy/family blockbusters to have been rolled out by the studios. It’s clean, polished even. It has a good cast: Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christopher Lee, Sam Elliott, and the adorable Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, the main character. It’s based on a good, controversial book by Philip Pullman, that gave the movie plenty of free publicity when several lobbies raised their voice in the US. It was just too easily forgettable.
The design of the vehicles was done in England, where the movie was shot, under the direction of production designer Dennis Gassner.
The three-wheeled carriage was interesting and so was the airship with two-balloons. We liked the Sky-Ferry (the zeppellin-like airship), but found it a little dry. Maybe those were too clean. A little dust and scratches would have helped. The overall mix between nineteenth century and sci-fi aesthetics was a nice touch.
Excerpt from the movie official website:
Oscar-winning production designer Dennis Gassner worked with Weitz to conceptualize everything from Oxford colleges to the vast snowy wastes of the far north, home of the armored bears; from the sophistication of Mrs. Coulter’s London to the bustle of the Northern port of Trollesund, and on to the ice palace of the King of the Bears, Ragnar Sturlusson, and Bolvangar, where Lyra finds the kidnapped children. The project would require hundreds of people to create a world with depth and scope from scratch, and bring the characters and their daemons to perfectly syncopated life utilizing a combination of practical and digital effects, as well as a working alethiometer – the golden compass of the title – and zeppelins, carriages, sky ferries, armored bears, spy flies, boats, barges and inconceivable machinery and artistry of a parallel age.
Master Replicas (newly merged with British toy manufacturer Corgi) has developped a toy line and you can easily find it in store such as Toys”R”US (at least that’s where we saw them). Their pictures are in the gallery.
We took some screenshots from the trailer, and added the toys and some concept art found on the official website.
Click on Full Screen to see them big!
Golden Compass trailer
The Fansite bridgetothestars.net as some good pictures of the toys.
Official website: http://www.goldencompassmovie.com/
To read more about the design process, go on the special section of the official website.