The Golden Child
The Golden Child is a 1986 American fantasy comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Eddie Murphy as Chandler Jarrell, who is informed that he is "The Chosen One" and is destined to save "The Golden Child", the savior of all humankind.
|The Golden Child|
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
|Directed by||Michael Ritchie|
Edward S. Feldman|
Robert D. Wachs
|Written by||Dennis Feldman|
|Cinematography||Donald E. Thorin|
|Edited by||Richard A. Harris|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$79.8 million (domestic)|
In a remote temple in Tibet, a young boy with mystical abilities – the Golden Child – receives badges of station and demonstrates his power to the monks of the temple by reviving a dead eastern rosella, which becomes a constant companion and familiar. A mysterious man, Sardo Numspa, has his men break into the temple, slaughter the monks and abduct the boy.
A young woman, Kee Nang, watches a Los Angeles TV show in which social worker Chandler Jarrell talks about his latest case, a missing girl named Cheryll Mosley. Kee seeks him out and informs him of the kidnapping of the Golden Child and that he is the "chosen one" who would save the Child. Chandler does not take this seriously, even after the bird begins following him and seeing an astral projection of the Child.
Cheryll Mosley is found dead near an abandoned house smeared with Tibetan graffiti and a pot full of blood-soaked oatmeal. Kee reveals to Chandler that this house was a holding place for the Child and introduces him to Doctor Hong, a mystic expert, and Kala (a creature half dragon, half woman, who remains hidden behind a screen).
The three track down a motorcycle gang, the Yellow Dragons, which Cheryll had joined, and Chinese restaurant owner Tommy Tong, a henchman of Numspa, to whom Cheryll had been "sold" for her blood, a way to make the Child vulnerable to earthly harm. Tong, however, is killed by Numspa as a potential traitor. Still not taking the case too seriously, Chandler is drawn by Numspa into a controlled dream, where he receives a burn mark on his arm. Numspa presents his demands: the Ajanti Dagger (a mystic weapon capable of killing the Child) in exchange for the boy. Chandler finally agrees to help, and he and Kee spend the night together.
Chandler and Kee travel to Tibet, where Chandler is swindled by an old amulet seller (revealed to be the High Priest of the temple where the dagger is kept hidden and, subsequently, Kee's father). In order to obtain the blade, Chandler has to pass a test: an obstacle course in a bottomless cavern whilst carrying a glass of water without spilling a drop. With luck and wits, Chandler recovers the blade and even manages to bring it past customs into the United States.
That night, Numspa and his henchmen attack Chandler and Kee. The Ajanti Dagger is lost to the villains, and Kee takes a crossbow bolt meant for Chandler, dying in his arms while confessing her love for him. Doctor Hong and Kala offer him hope: as long as the sun shines upon Kee, the Child might be able to save her.
Chandler, with the help of the Child's familiar, locates Numspa's hideout and retrieves the dagger with the help of Til, one of Numspa's men converted to good by the Child, and frees the boy. When Chandler confronts Numspa, he reveals himself as a demon. Chandler and the Child escape, only to be tracked down in a warehouse. Chandler loses the dagger when the warehouse collapses, with Numspa buried under falling masonry. Chandler and the Child head to Doctor Hong's shop where Kee is being kept.
As the two approach Kee's body, a badly injured but berserk Numspa attacks Chandler, but the amulet the Old Man sold Chandler blasts the dagger from Numspa's hand. The Child uses his magic to place the dagger back into Chandler's hands, and Chandler stabs Numspa through the heart, destroying him. The Child then uses the last rays of sunlight and his powers to bring Kee back from the dead. Later, the three take a walk discussing the Child's return to Tibet.
Dennis Feldman, a professional photographer whose only writing credit was Just One of the Guys, wrote a script called The Rose of Tibet, which he planned as "a Raymond Chandler movie with supernatural elements." It attracted Hollywood's attention and after a bidding war Paramount Pictures purchased the script for $300,000.
|The Golden Child: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Film score by John Barry, Michel Colombier, and others|
|Released||July 12, 2011|
|Genre||Symphonic score, synthpop, R&B, soft rock, classic rock|
|Label||La-La Land Records/Capitol Records|
Alan Silvestri (Back to the Future) was originally set to provide the film score but turned the project down. Paramount then turned to John Barry, who had just come off his award-winning score for Out of Africa. However, during post-production, Barry also left the project when both differences with the producers and test screening feedback presented considerable challenges for the composer. The test audience reaction had led the producers to consider replacing Barry's score with new music by Michel Colombier that, in contrast to Barry's work, was mostly "synthpop" (although there were some brief orchestral passages throughout). However, whilst Barry was ultimately superseded, some of his musical cues remain in the final cut of the film and one track, "Wisdom of the Ages", appeared on the first soundtrack release issued by Capitol Records.
In 2011, La-La Land Records released a limited edition 3-CD soundtrack set containing the entirety of both Barry's mostly unused score (on disc one), and Colombier's final theatrical score (on disc two), in addition to an exclusive Barry-composed song, sung by emerging composer Randy Edelman. The songs that had been released on Capitol's first soundtrack in 1986 were also featured in the set.
The following pieces of music appear in the film alongside Colombier's score:
- Ann Wilson - "The Best Man in the World" (Music by John Barry; lyrics by Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson and Sue Ennis)
- Ratt - "Body Talk" (Composed by Stephen Pearcy, Warren DeMartini and Juan Croucier)
- "Wisdom of the Ages" (Composed and conducted by John Barry)
- "The Chosen One" (Composed by Michel Colombier and performed by Robbie Buchanan)
- "Puttin' on the Ritz" (Composed by Irving Berlin)
- "Another Day's Life" (Composed by David Wheatley)
Released in December 1986, The Golden Child was a box office success. It earned USD$79,817,937 in the US alone, making it the eighth biggest film of the year. "My pictures make their money back," Murphy remarked. "No matter how I feel, for instance, about The Golden Child – which was a piece of shit – the movie made more than $100 million. So who am I to say it sucks?"
However, the film was considered a disappointment by the studio when compared to Murphy's previous film, Beverly Hills Cop (1984), which garnered USD$234,760,478 at the US box office.
The film received negative reviews from critics, and it holds a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Maslin, Janet (February 15, 1987). "COMEDIES WITHOUT LAUGHS MERIT CRIES OF PROTEST". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
- "Box office / business for The Golden Child (1986)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- The Starlog Group (1 September 1995). "Starlog Magazine Issue 218" – via Internet Archive.
- FRIENDLY, DAVID T. (15 June 1985). "Action-comedy Is Next For Murphy". Retrieved 23 September 2017 – via LA Times.
- "'Kong Lives' Dies At Box Office". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- Box Office Mojo (7 May 2012). "The Golden Child". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
- Zehme, Bill (August 24, 1989). "The Rolling Stone interview: Eddie Murphy". Rolling Stone. p. 130.
- Box Office Mojo (7 May 2012). "Beverly Hills Cop". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 8 May 2012.