DOES THE PRODUCTION VALUE HOLD UP?The director, Tom Hooper, [has] free rein to imagine what Pullman’s worlds look like, and most of what he imagines works well. Cittàgazze, for instance, the city where Lyra flees and meets Will, who is also on the run from grownups to this other world, becomes a CGI mash-up of a Tuscan hill town and Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. — Stuart Jeffries, The GuardianHis Dark Materials looks great, it’s robustly made, and there are great actors everywhere, occupying well-built universes. — Ed Cumming, Independent (UK)Most of the scenes were clearly shot in a studio. All that expensive CGI simply gives us a better quality of cardboard backdrops. — Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail (UK)HOW DOES HIS DARK MATERIALS SEASON 2 HANDLE THE PHILOSOPHICAL THEMES FROM THE BOOKS?(Photo by HBO)The second season builds on the heady mix of philosophy and theology, and more than a touch of environmentalism, all delivered as a thrilling adventure yarn in the mould of C S Lewis but with a very different attitude towards religion. The main thrust remains sure-footed in teaching young and old that speaking truth to power is no bad thing when the power is authoritarian in nature. — Joseph Walsh, The Arts Desk The BBC also deals with the anti-religious elements of the franchise with a light touch by turning the central conflict into a story about the disempowered struggling against the authorities – the Gyptians, the witches and the orphan Lyra versus the Magisterium and, literally, The Authority. It works, mostly, and sidesteps Pullman’s slightly difficult message – for a public service broadcaster, at least – of “God bad”. — Thomas Barrie, GQ Magazine [UK]Screenwriter Jack Thorne s adaptation tries slavishly to cram in all the books philosophising, which can only be done if characters talk endlessly. There s almost no action in this adventure. — Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail (UK) As much as I wish Season 2 found a way to narratively pull through, it s still as dark, mystical, and philosophically intriguing as Season 1 so if you re a returning viewer, you ll probably like it. You just won t be wowed by it. — Brooke Bajgrowicz, MashableANY FINAL THOUGHTS?(Photo by HBO)It was divisive in its first go-around and it’ll likely remain so, but the space in the television landscape for a reality-hopping fantasy adventure is always better filled than left vacant. — Jonathan Wilson, Ready Steady CutViewers who’ve invested in the series won’t stop now. For a series about magical worlds, aimed at younger viewers, however, there’s not quite enough magic. — Ed Cumming, Independent (UK)For avid Pullman fans, the series might be a treat. The problem for the rest of us is that it lacks both the novelty of series one and the exciting narrative it now feels very dense, which works well in a novel but less so in a TV series. — Anita Singh, Daily TelegraphHis Dark Materials feels grander and less cramped than before finally living up to its epic fantasy ambitions it had from the beginning. — Hoai-Tran Bui, SlashfilmFor a story centered on the exploits of a frightened, isolated teenager, the show remains remarkably devoid of any sense of fear, excitement, or passion. — Tim Stevens,The SpoolHis Dark Materials finally feels as though it has found its groove in its second season. The series feels more lush, propulsive, and epic than it ever has before, with a tightly paced plot and characters we can actually care about. — Lacy Baugher, Paste MagazineIn its second season, His Dark Materials is a thrilling adventure. Not only does it improve and expand upon Season 1, it delves into new ideas and realities that make for a tauter, more exciting story. — Cynthia Vinney, CBRThis is the epic adventure we all needed during 2020. If you missed the first season, go back and binge it now because His Dark Materials second season is ready to blow you away. — Alex Maidy, JoBlo s Movie NetworkHis Dark Materials season 2 premieres on HBO on November 16.
Wrapping up 2020 will be Paul W.S. Anderson s adaptation of popular video game franchise Monster Hunter, which will see the director re-teaming with his wife Milla Jovovich. Jovovich will co-star with martial arts icon Tony Jaa, as well as Meagan Good, Ron Perlman, and T.I., among others, and center on a group of soldiers who are transported to a world ruled by giant, deadly monsters.