I wonder if it would work if the Vatican official came out and said it promoted Islamophobia. That would keep the audiences away. Or at least the movie away from audiences.

The Times – What all directors pray for<br/> Catholics are boycotting The Golden Compass because it promotes atheism. What a wonderful gift of publicity, by Melanie McDonagh

It must be tough being a Vatican frontman. On the one hand, you know that the movie version of Catholicism being peddled by most contemporary film-makers, from The Da Vinci Code to The Golden Compass, is almost certainly a lurid cocktail of old-style Protestant cliché and a very modern willingness to shock religious sensibilities – apart from Islamic ones, obviously. On the other, you are conscious that the epithet “controversial” is what every film distributor longs for.

Well, I’m going to see it. Mostly because it has Nicole Kidman in a slinky gold frock. But also because it’s a kids movie with a little something more to stroke the imagination than computer-animated anatomically incorrect penguins or Eddie Murphy in a fat suit. I even have the atheism-encouraging books, which I plan on starting as soon as I get through the last fifty pages or so of what I’m reading now.