User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 328 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 93 out of 328
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  1. SimonR.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    My favorite of the year. After reading the book, I couldn't wait to see how the movie would turn out. The action was amazing and the acting was incredible.
  2. DavidH.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    A wonderful Family movie, but it might not be good for under 10, but it's the best fantasy film of the year! Wow!
  3. StephenP.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Excellent film. Surprisingly little was cut, and one of the most faithful book-movies I've ever seen.
  4. ArtyS.
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Great film. Excellent. A superb adaptation. Performances are really good. The bad thing is that New Line has rushed the film, all goes too fast, but it's really a great film, deep and really fun. Go and watch this, you will be very pleased.
  5. LasseS.
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    How Chris Weitz managed to bring dramatic tension and build-up to such a short movie is beyond me. But I loved every minute of it, save for at few scenes that were just a bit too short. I will be seeing this in the cinemas for the third time too.
  6. WarrenE.
    Jan 4, 2008
    10
    I think the reason for low US gross is number one it stars a GIRL (Most male reviewers panned it and female reviewers loved it) and it requires you to think which is something of a lost art here (we keep electing crooks who are stealing us blind). I do not think the Christian Nazis are the problem as they do not go to Hollywood movies anyway. The only reason I went to see it was that the I think the reason for low US gross is number one it stars a GIRL (Most male reviewers panned it and female reviewers loved it) and it requires you to think which is something of a lost art here (we keep electing crooks who are stealing us blind). I do not think the Christian Nazis are the problem as they do not go to Hollywood movies anyway. The only reason I went to see it was that the Pope said that I should not. Until then I thought that it was just another mind numbing fantasy for children like Lord (Bored) of the Ring. I fell asleep during the first LOFR movie and have not watched any of the sequels. GC was two hours long but only seemed like an hour. I have gone back and seem it twice more. Once to catch the details I missed the first time and again to analyze the story. I hope the sequels will not have to be dumbed down even more for the US audience just to get a higher box office. Expand
  7. AmberS
    May 3, 2008
    10
    This movie was incredible. Although it was made family-friendly it was still unexpected when the jaw went flying off of the enemy ice bear. Nicole Kidman was fantastic and I would recommend it.
  8. DominicK
    Jun 13, 2008
    10
    The secenary and the whole movie is done perfectly.
  9. LorriW.
    May 2, 2009
    10
    I love watching this movie with my 6 year old, she's just as amazed by it each time, it's wonderful to watch her reaction's.
  10. AdamP.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Slow at first but picks up speed and leaves you really thinking.
  11. ArmonMichaeliilli
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    The Golden Compass is possibly the best fantasy film of all time. There is no sign or language what so ever of atheism!
  12. JoshF.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    A generally good film throughout, but unfortunately fell a little short of my expectations which I looked at and thought were very high. Nonetheless, a good start to a promising series.
  13. JoeH.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Best movie of the year. I cannot wait for the sequels. Wow. What a movie. The special effects should be the frontrunner this February at the Oscars!
  14. ClareC.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie! Fantastic. Funny. Touching.
  15. JoannaK.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Nicole Kidman at her best! It was smart and funny and the special effects were amazing.
  16. MichaelF.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    One of the wonders of the holiday season.
  17. JanL.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Here is the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping movie epic we've been waiting for all year.
  18. JamieR.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    What a movie! This is how the medium seduced us originally.
  19. MichaelA.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Break out the popcorn and prepare to be blown away. The Golden Compass is the most pulse- pounding fantasy movie of all time. Nicole Kidman and Dakota Blue Richards were amazing. Kidman was Academy Award Worthy.
  20. Washere
    Dec 4, 2007
    10
    Saw a preview of it. Very good film and as close an adaptation as one can get with such a dense and complicated fantasy novel.
  21. JoyceC.
    Dec 6, 2007
    10
    The Golden Compass is a clunky and flawless concept, through a Christian perspective this film is not worth it, the threequel of this "trilogy" is about killing God, and the first few develop to get to that. I wouldn't see this for that purpose, but from a movie going perspective I would love to see a big-budget popular fantasy movie that is nothing but entertainment like this. I for The Golden Compass is a clunky and flawless concept, through a Christian perspective this film is not worth it, the threequel of this "trilogy" is about killing God, and the first few develop to get to that. I wouldn't see this for that purpose, but from a movie going perspective I would love to see a big-budget popular fantasy movie that is nothing but entertainment like this. I for sure loved this movie, the script is surprisingly not clunky or flawless, it is a perfect fantasy design. A great story, thorough, and a perfect length, all performances play a great performance for each scene their in. I'm so happy it didn't suck like "Eragon". Expand
  22. TerryC.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Ultimately there is no complex concepts to this, users say its a boring clunky execution, I say wrong, this is nearly perfect, the effects are astounding, the sound is stunning, it is an entertaining and totally great family fun.
  23. GeorgeC.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    I loved, the audience loved it, my family loved it, everyone said it was good as everyone trudged out of the theatre thinking wow look at me, i just saw a really awesome movie. Never heard any bad remarks, I thought it was really good, I don't know where any of these negative reviews are personally coming from. As far as I'm concerned this may be the next lord of the rings.
  24. BillA.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Wild and fun, these dummy users are just rating this movie from its trailer, and I think the critics are too. Its like rating Lord of the ratings 5 or 4 out of 10.
  25. ChristopherG.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Amazing! Simply amazing! This is one of the best movie adaptations of anything ever in the fantasy genre. I was hesitant to see this movie at first because of the mixed reviews, but I'm so glad I did. The world depicted in the film is captivating and shines on the screen with life, depth, and adventure. It is a family movie that would be surprisingly enjoyable for most adults, at Amazing! Simply amazing! This is one of the best movie adaptations of anything ever in the fantasy genre. I was hesitant to see this movie at first because of the mixed reviews, but I'm so glad I did. The world depicted in the film is captivating and shines on the screen with life, depth, and adventure. It is a family movie that would be surprisingly enjoyable for most adults, at worst (depending on the individual) still quite tolerable, and also a lot of fun for kids. The kids in the movie are cute and precocious but not nauseatingly so like in most family movies - this is coming from a 22 year old adult male mind you. Even though there is violence in the film, none of it is graphic with the exception of 1 short part of a scene which just lasts a few seconds - just as a warning though parents should tell their younger children to cover their eyes towards the end of the bear-fight-bear scene. Some issues are still up in the air at the end of the movie, but at least one major issue is resolved before the credits roll. Personally, the bit of a cliff-hanger at the end just left me excited for the next 2 movies coming out rather than disappointed at some sort of lack of resolution - I guess this varies depending on the viewer though. If you haven't seen this movie yet and are a bit put off by the mixed reviews, don't be - at worst you might walk out of the movie thinking it was somewhat mediocre, at best you might absolutely love it. Expand
  26. AmyS.
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Loved every second, didn't want it to end!
  27. SuzannaW.
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie. I think some critics as well as the public are missing the adventurous plot and courage of a young girl seeking the "truth" and saving the children. It has all the parts of great plot with hero's, talking animals, beautiful destinations, superb acting and an ending leaving you wanting more. The film drew me in and I hope there will be a sequel. I certainly want to I loved this movie. I think some critics as well as the public are missing the adventurous plot and courage of a young girl seeking the "truth" and saving the children. It has all the parts of great plot with hero's, talking animals, beautiful destinations, superb acting and an ending leaving you wanting more. The film drew me in and I hope there will be a sequel. I certainly want to see more! Expand
  28. equality7-2521
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    I loved it. The cast was first rate. I was nervous about the director on this film, but he did a fantastic job. I hope he was signed for the sequels. This movie will probably make a total of $100 million domestically. The media will try to say it was a disappointment (considering the film's budget). BUT it will more than make up for it in foreign receipts and big time on DVD where it I loved it. The cast was first rate. I was nervous about the director on this film, but he did a fantastic job. I hope he was signed for the sequels. This movie will probably make a total of $100 million domestically. The media will try to say it was a disappointment (considering the film's budget). BUT it will more than make up for it in foreign receipts and big time on DVD where it will gain in popularity by word of mouth. There WILL be a sequel. This film was awesome. I bought the novel and will read it this week.... Then I'll watch the movie again in a couple weeks. Highly recommended. Expand
  29. SarahP.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Nicole was amazing and Blue Richards was a find. Best of the year!
  30. MichaelK.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    The special effects were amazing. One of the best movies of the year, if not that best. The direction and writing was magnificent! Kidman for the Oscar!
  31. ErikaF.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Loved this movie because it was not only smart and great, but it wasn't like 3 hours. Short and quick was the best way to go!
  32. BijanN.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Nicole Kidman's best performance in years. Oscar worthy. Really it was.
  33. AkivaL.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Fantastic. The most engaging and entertaining film of the year.
  34. PauW.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    GC is my favorite fantasy film of all time! Kidman should win awards with this performance. And I can't wait for the Other 2! Oscars for FX.
  35. ColinRobertson
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    A poignant film that is fantastic. Explosive non-stop action.
  36. JesicaE.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    My favorite fantasy movie ever. I loved the Potters to death, but this sits on them forever!
  37. FranB.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    This movie should have no problem in breaking box office records. If there is any justice, this should be the highest grossing movie of the year.
  38. SarahC.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Not as good as The Lord of the Rings, but who would think it could win 11 Oscars like Rings, but this was almost as good. So close. Okay, I loved them as much as the Rings.
  39. g
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Very enjoyable, even though there were changes from the book. Great SFX, good acting, compelling story. Favorite movie of this year.
  40. JohnP.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Phenomenal movie. A great teenage coming of age movie. Obviously parents that cannot read should not attempt to take little children to the movie (as suggested by Liz T)..... it's rated PG-13.... not G, not even PG . Whats with US parents not getting it.... PG-13 means Parental Guidance under age 13 or in countries like the UK which use real movie ratings... such movies are rated 12 Phenomenal movie. A great teenage coming of age movie. Obviously parents that cannot read should not attempt to take little children to the movie (as suggested by Liz T)..... it's rated PG-13.... not G, not even PG . Whats with US parents not getting it.... PG-13 means Parental Guidance under age 13 or in countries like the UK which use real movie ratings... such movies are rated 12 or 15 and above. So quit the bitching about movie marketing and demand that movies are rated appropriately in the US i.e. abolish the useless Pg, PG-13 and R rated system and go to the U, 12A, 15 and 18 ratings. On another note this is a perfect movie for any teenager or adult (other than those lost in a religious delirium with thoughts of the second coming as a daily obsession). Hope the following books make it into production with less of the message of enlightenment removed for fear of a Christian intifada or crusade against the movie company. Expand
  41. GrantH.
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Terrific entertainment. Hugely enjoyable. Brilliant young lead. Astounding special effects. What more can i say. Just go and see it!!!!
  42. ShawnL
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    A fantastic ride of adventure and excitement. Never having read the books I found the characters solid, each adding to the story, and the story exciting and engrossing. While I was a little disappointed in the ending being some what abrupt (a nice build up for part 2 I am sure) the over all movie is one that is definitely worth watching again. For everyone trying to make a religious A fantastic ride of adventure and excitement. Never having read the books I found the characters solid, each adding to the story, and the story exciting and engrossing. While I was a little disappointed in the ending being some what abrupt (a nice build up for part 2 I am sure) the over all movie is one that is definitely worth watching again. For everyone trying to make a religious controversy out of this simply remember it is a movie. You don't have to watch it or even believe it. But it beats most of the drivel that Hollywood tries to push on us so enjoy it. Expand
  43. CoryG
    Dec 11, 2007
    10
    Absolutely outstanding in every way possible. I don't know what these other people saw...
  44. GeorgeG.
    Dec 25, 2007
    10
    If you didn't read the trilogy you would feel a litle lost, except that the movie is fabulous the effects the voices the cast everything..I can't wait for the second movie.
  45. ALF
    Aug 28, 2011
    10
    Amazing! Roger Ebert and I agree for a change. If a film inspires people to go out and read the books (His Dark Materials) then it is has done its job. I am currently reading the books again because thanks to a group of silly devolved organizations based in the USA, the rest of the story will not be made into film despite the Golden Compass doubling its money at the box office. There isAmazing! Roger Ebert and I agree for a change. If a film inspires people to go out and read the books (His Dark Materials) then it is has done its job. I am currently reading the books again because thanks to a group of silly devolved organizations based in the USA, the rest of the story will not be made into film despite the Golden Compass doubling its money at the box office. There is always going to be the book versus the film arguments "oh, the film is not like the book." Perhaps people who say things like that should read a single chapter out loud and time themselves. When they figure out an average chapter will take around 10 - 15 minutes to read properly, then perhaps they will understand a scriptwriters job better. Yes, the film is not like the book, but it has taken the essence of the story and made the Golden Compass into something different from the usual film fare. I very much hope the cowardly filmmakers in Hollywood lift a suitable digit at the silly organizations attempting to censor what the masses can see and hear. Expand
  46. KenT.
    Jan 1, 2008
    9
    A wonderful film. Where did these low scores come from? Is the Bible Belt trying to suppress dissenting views?
  47. PaulK.
    Dec 10, 2007
    9
    I've read the trilogy and granted, it's difficult for most film adaptations to equal or even surpass the source novel, but this movie adaptation is NOT BAD as many critics and viewers are making it out to be. Granted it's been awhile since I've read the golden compass, so i can't remember the "cliffhanger" that everyone was upset about not seeing on the I've read the trilogy and granted, it's difficult for most film adaptations to equal or even surpass the source novel, but this movie adaptation is NOT BAD as many critics and viewers are making it out to be. Granted it's been awhile since I've read the golden compass, so i can't remember the "cliffhanger" that everyone was upset about not seeing on the screen...and it may feel rushed in places, but i thought the character development was really good...and the point about Daniel Craig not being in the movie "more than 10 minutes" is silly because he's a supporting character throughout the series and his role becomes more substantial in the last two books. I just hope the box office take is able to justify having the next two films made, because that is where the meat of the story lies. Expand
  48. JamieJamie
    Dec 7, 2007
    9
    Cuts a lot out of the books, but is generally very good.
  49. JohnS.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    The storyline is rushed, which is typical with films made from books, but it still a great story. This is the type of film that Hollywood needs to make more of, it is intelligent and challenging. I wouldn't call it a "kid's movie" or a "family movie" though, which is how it is billed. Marketing mistake IMO. If you want to see an intelligent and thought provoking allegorical The storyline is rushed, which is typical with films made from books, but it still a great story. This is the type of film that Hollywood needs to make more of, it is intelligent and challenging. I wouldn't call it a "kid's movie" or a "family movie" though, which is how it is billed. Marketing mistake IMO. If you want to see an intelligent and thought provoking allegorical tale, with good actors and special effects, then this is a movie for you. Expand
  50. JeffS
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    I have been waiting for this movie to come out since the moment I saw the first teaser. I was not disappointed. With my children at my side we, watched, and enjoyed. This was one of the first movies I have seen that the children erupted in applause as the credits came to roll. Not the adults, not the Harry Potter or Star Wars geeks that stand in line for days, the CHILDREN! The story I have been waiting for this movie to come out since the moment I saw the first teaser. I was not disappointed. With my children at my side we, watched, and enjoyed. This was one of the first movies I have seen that the children erupted in applause as the credits came to roll. Not the adults, not the Harry Potter or Star Wars geeks that stand in line for days, the CHILDREN! The story touched them. I was not aware of the books before I saw the title in the credits, and was only slightly aware that the Christian Expand
  51. RobertT.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    An awesome depiction of an alternate steampunk universe.
  52. BrandonB
    May 2, 2008
    9
    A spectacular rendering of Philip Pullman's magnificent world(s); this is the closest that a movie has been able to match the imagery that the author's words created in my mind. The graphics and special effects were absolutely spectacular, to say the least, and the casting was perfect. Sadly though, the main meaning of the book was stripped down to it's bare minimum and the A spectacular rendering of Philip Pullman's magnificent world(s); this is the closest that a movie has been able to match the imagery that the author's words created in my mind. The graphics and special effects were absolutely spectacular, to say the least, and the casting was perfect. Sadly though, the main meaning of the book was stripped down to it's bare minimum and the complex story was chopped up and dumbed down. I give it 5 out of 5 stars simply for the experience of seeing what I imagined on the silver screen. I recommend this to any one who enjoys a good piece of eye candy every now and again but I must compel anyone who seriously wants the intellectual experience of this tale to READ THE BOOK FIRST. I simply can not wait for the Subtle Knife... Expand
  53. DevynS
    Dec 10, 2007
    9
    The beginning may be a bit confusing if you have not read any of the books - it seemed a bit disjointed, like too much had been left out. About a third of the way in, it picked up and didn't seem like there were any more gaps. On an unrelated note, my friends and I unanimously decided that Iorek Byrnison is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
  54. NerexT.
    Dec 26, 2007
    9
    A great adaption, if you look deep the original themes are still present and it does not fail to promote an open mind and retake a look at our own world in a different perspective. The ending seems aprubt but leaves with a very good hint on not only what is to come, but also what to look into and analyze deeper until the sequel is released. All in all I can only recommend it.
  55. AaronS.
    Dec 29, 2007
    9
    I really enjoyed this film, which was a fairly faithful adaptation of the book (except for the ending). Having read the books and enjoyed them, I found the movie built on my visualizations of Pullman's original creation. The armoured bears and witches were stunning, and I found Mrs Coulter and Lyra to be engaging characters in the film adaptation. I recall thinking after seeing the I really enjoyed this film, which was a fairly faithful adaptation of the book (except for the ending). Having read the books and enjoyed them, I found the movie built on my visualizations of Pullman's original creation. The armoured bears and witches were stunning, and I found Mrs Coulter and Lyra to be engaging characters in the film adaptation. I recall thinking after seeing the changed ending of Jackson's Fellowship of the Rings from the books and being shocked, but later after seeing the context of the 3 movies, I appreciated the deviation from the source material. Similarly, having the ideology of the book presented more subtly in the film probably kept it from feeling too "preachy". All in all, I hope to see a sequel. (Finally, how can people give this film a zero? Even if you found it lacking, it wasn't Daredevil or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). Expand
  56. RonB.
    Dec 6, 2007
    9
    Stunning visuals, great bears, and fascinating ideas. Marred only by the unnecessary exposition at the beginning, the watered-down dialogue, and the early ending (compared with the book).
  57. HardyC.
    Dec 6, 2007
    9
    A fun time at the movies, with all the works.
  58. KennyS.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    The movie was visually stunning and followed the plot of the book fairly well. However the ending was nothing like in the book and leaves me hoping that they will release a version of the DVD with the ending they filmed and had originally intended.
  59. NicholasJ.
    Dec 12, 2007
    9
    Rated high for magical special effects.
  60. GeneJ.
    Dec 28, 2007
    9
    Beautifully shot and ornamented with some of the best CGI I've ever seen. I found the story line a little obscure and the church / soul metaphors a bit heavy-handed, but not objectionable. It was a delightful film that should entertain any from 12-80 yrs old. I think it has been very under-rated!
  61. Jan 31, 2014
    9
    This movie was breathtaking and beautiful. It was supposed to be a trilogy but unfortunately due to the economic crisis in 2008, the sequel was eventually cancelled. Moreover, the church went against the movie for an invalid reason. Overall, it was a good movie no matter what you haters claim... just go look at its Box Office rate. Us, the fans, are gloating over the haters because thisThis movie was breathtaking and beautiful. It was supposed to be a trilogy but unfortunately due to the economic crisis in 2008, the sequel was eventually cancelled. Moreover, the church went against the movie for an invalid reason. Overall, it was a good movie no matter what you haters claim... just go look at its Box Office rate. Us, the fans, are gloating over the haters because this movie was such a success financially. Expand
  62. CourtneyW
    Jun 3, 2008
    8
    I really liked this movie. Visually, it was stunning. The effects were wonderful and I loved watching all the animals! The only problem I had was that, not having read the books, I didn't realize it ended kind of in the middle of the story, a la Lord of the Rings. But very good movie!
  63. SophieM
    Dec 7, 2007
    8
    This was a good start to the trilogy and should not be a serious disappointment to any fans of Pullman's trilogy. The last 3 chapters of the book were not included in this first of the three movies but will be at the start of the next one. A bit of a shock to anyone who knows the story, but hopefully it will be worth the wait until The Subtle Knife comes out in a couple of years! This was a good start to the trilogy and should not be a serious disappointment to any fans of Pullman's trilogy. The last 3 chapters of the book were not included in this first of the three movies but will be at the start of the next one. A bit of a shock to anyone who knows the story, but hopefully it will be worth the wait until The Subtle Knife comes out in a couple of years! Dakota Blue Richards does a great job as Lyra- in fact, most of the characters are really well cast. I recommend seeing the movie and, even more so, reading the books! Expand
  64. TylerD.
    Dec 7, 2007
    8
    A fantastic movie. Wonderful execution, great acting, and breathtaking visuals (seriously, the polar bears look insane.) The ending, however, lacked.
  65. JosephC.
    Dec 8, 2007
    8
    Movie was quite excellent. However, as everyone mentioned previously, the plot indeed felt a bit rushed. Numerous scenes from the book were left out, but then again, it's only natural for a film to do that, due to the limited time frame a movie can hold. What I found the most amusing is the complaints of numerous parents who bring their children (5-11 years old) to watch the movie. Movie was quite excellent. However, as everyone mentioned previously, the plot indeed felt a bit rushed. Numerous scenes from the book were left out, but then again, it's only natural for a film to do that, due to the limited time frame a movie can hold. What I found the most amusing is the complaints of numerous parents who bring their children (5-11 years old) to watch the movie. From what I can see on their faces, they were appalled at many of the scenes which they redeemed as "inappropriate (ex: bears lower muzzle gets ripped off)." However, just as John P. states, this movie is rather for teenagers and adults, and not for kids. Overall, the movie was satisfactory, but only probably due to the fact that I re-read the book to refresh my memory. My friend who never read the book often needed explanations on what was going on... So before watching the movie, people should remember some things: 1. It's not really kid-friendly 2. It's only the first part of a trilogy, so don't be disappointed at the cliff-hanger ending 3. Best to read the book before watching. Expand
  66. Elina
    Dec 8, 2007
    8
    A brave and mostly successful attempt at adapting a challenging and intellectual fantasy book for the screen. The film has pacing problems, but the visuals and acting are great -- Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra is marvelous. Well worth seeing!
  67. MickD.
    Dec 9, 2007
    8
    As an adaptation of the brilliant novels it's not very good, but it's a great kids fantasy film nonetheless.
  68. RyanD.
    Dec 13, 2007
    8
    I thought was pretty good, it didn't follow the story very well, but it's a movie.
  69. DanH.
    Dec 13, 2007
    8
    Unfortunately this film starts with a massive handicap: trying to live up to people's expectation. The book was brilliant, probably the best of the trilogy and very dark for a "children's" book. People expected the film to follow suit and follow Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings with it's careful character development and deliberately slow pacing. People expected a Unfortunately this film starts with a massive handicap: trying to live up to people's expectation. The book was brilliant, probably the best of the trilogy and very dark for a "children's" book. People expected the film to follow suit and follow Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings with it's careful character development and deliberately slow pacing. People expected a dark fable with a 12a rating that asked as many questions as the book did about religion, life, death and everything in between. What we have is film which seems to have achieved the impossible, to actually be entertaining universally. As a parent these types of films are like goldust, I have fallen asleep through so many disney/dreamworks productions recently and been ripped off by their merchandise. My 5 yr old daughter loved it and I thought even without the appropriate amount of character development and rushed scenes it encapsulated enough of the book's magic to make it one of the finest fantasy films in recent years. Ignore the critics who are all in their mid-40s, single and voice a demographic rather than a universal opinion. Expand
  70. JohnR.
    Dec 7, 2007
    8
    It really isn't that bad, but the movie was too hollywoodized. If you read the books this can be a frustrating movie
  71. KevO
    Dec 9, 2007
    8
    I liked it, the acting was good but I wish it was longer. That's just a limitation of the medium used though.
  72. CocoaF.
    Jan 5, 2008
    8
    I loved the Golden Compass, it was action filled in every scene, I loved the Golden Compass.
  73. DJIm
    Dec 10, 2007
    8
    This is a good movie. the lower ratings are irate hard core religious who object to the atheist subtext and probably didn't see the movie.
  74. DustinM.
    Dec 12, 2007
    8
    This should have been a three hour movie. Deeper plot/character development and a real ending would have made this so much better.
  75. MeganP.
    Dec 4, 2007
    8
    Due to spot-on casting and stunning visual effects, this is one extremely satisfied fan of the books.
  76. Jane
    Dec 7, 2007
    8
    Thought it was aesthetically in keeping with the book. Beautiful at moments. Hardly "shockingly violent" -- there's no blood at any point whatsoever.
  77. kalli
    Dec 8, 2007
    8
    Read the Roger Ebert review -- he captures what my experience was of the movie. I'm really surprised it's receiving so many so-so reviews.
  78. JonK
    May 11, 2008
    8
    I personally think Kidman was perfectly cast as Ms. Coulter. The show went by quickly and was very enjoyable. I liked that the goal was to get to the truth and how knowing it changes the situation. My wife and 10-year-old also enjoyed it a lot. And, sound on the DVD was in 6.1 DTS, very good. The massive amounts of CGI slipped here and there and the dialogue did seem forced a bit but I I personally think Kidman was perfectly cast as Ms. Coulter. The show went by quickly and was very enjoyable. I liked that the goal was to get to the truth and how knowing it changes the situation. My wife and 10-year-old also enjoyed it a lot. And, sound on the DVD was in 6.1 DTS, very good. The massive amounts of CGI slipped here and there and the dialogue did seem forced a bit but I really liked it and want to see more of it as well as read the books. Expand
  79. MrToad
    Dec 23, 2007
    8
    I suppose my view's a bit clouded on this one, as i'm such a fan of the books, but i'll tell you what i could see. The film tries to be faithful to the books, using many scenes verbatim and actually to the point where the speed of the plot and exposition is too fast. However, the characters are strong (although Lyra's not as urchin-y as Pullman's), and the film I suppose my view's a bit clouded on this one, as i'm such a fan of the books, but i'll tell you what i could see. The film tries to be faithful to the books, using many scenes verbatim and actually to the point where the speed of the plot and exposition is too fast. However, the characters are strong (although Lyra's not as urchin-y as Pullman's), and the film retains much of the charm of the book. I only complain of the parts Chris Weitz deviates from the story at the expense of realism or plot aesthetics. Specifically, three of the best chapters in the book are removed, for no good reason. The film is even rather short, post-climax-ectomy. Expand
  80. Jul 6, 2011
    8
    Prepare to enter another world of the fantasy genre as New Line Cinema (the producer of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) presents Chris Wietz's "The Golden Compass". It revolves around Lyra Belaqua, a young girl living among scholars in Oxford's Jordan College. Her world may seem diverse, from physical embodiments of souls that take the shape of an animal, but similar with people around youPrepare to enter another world of the fantasy genre as New Line Cinema (the producer of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) presents Chris Wietz's "The Golden Compass". It revolves around Lyra Belaqua, a young girl living among scholars in Oxford's Jordan College. Her world may seem diverse, from physical embodiments of souls that take the shape of an animal, but similar with people around you to become friends and enemies. She is thrown into a perilous adventure when she overhears a conversation of an extraordinary microscopic particle, Dust. This particle is said to unite different worlds, and is feared by many who want to destroy it forever. As Lyra is flung into the middle of this horrible struggle, she meets wondrous creatures both big and small, and villains who are not what they seem. Gobblers, that kidnap children, will turn out in the most unexpected places. And a magical compass of gold that will answer any question if one is skilled enough to read it. Lyra's adventure continues throughout these three books, and the first is about to be told. The only problem that I had with this movie was the Anti-Christian overtones of the Magisterium during the film. I'm not with the Catholic Church, but I agree that the word "Heresy" was the only reason why the second and third movies would not be adapted into screen. That's it for my problem. The casting was great and the actors were very decent. Daniel Craig was solid as Lord Asriel despite the fact that he wasn't given enough screentime. Nicole Kidman was decent as Mrs. Coulter, but her hair is very different from the book counterpart as it describes her hair as blond. Ian Mckellen was amazing as the great armoured ice bear (also known as a Pansjorborne) Iorek Byrnison, and Dakota Blue Richards was very convincing and compelling as Lyra when it comes to actresses in movie adaptations and the rest of the actors turned out good. The sets were very creative, but at most times, they were quite dark due to the Svalbard place. The CGI on the animals are very damn impressive. The daemons (just like in the book despite the fact that it was mispronounced) were very visualized and the polar bears are also visualized. The action scenes were very epic and the direction from Chris Wietz was well-paced. The Golden Compass lacks in any depth, but it is a darker, deeper, and fantastic adaptation of Phillip Pullman's greatest fantasy series. 8/10 Expand
  81. Jul 14, 2013
    8
    While it is not perfect, it is still a fun filled fantasy that boasts of grand visuals, a cool and interesting story, awesome music (Alexandre Desplat, again he is amazing) and great direction. I enjoyed this film, and oh, it is not anit-Christ. If the novel was, this film is not. It is a pretty and interestingly great film.
  82. MaxW.
    Jan 3, 2008
    7
    A visually beautiful film, that unfortunately tried to do too much in too short a space of time. Obviously elements of the book had to be left out, otherwise the film would be too long, but the director failed to capture the suspense in the book. This left the brilliant actors very little to work with and develop their characters, despite many strong performances on their part. The ending A visually beautiful film, that unfortunately tried to do too much in too short a space of time. Obviously elements of the book had to be left out, otherwise the film would be too long, but the director failed to capture the suspense in the book. This left the brilliant actors very little to work with and develop their characters, despite many strong performances on their part. The ending was typical Hollywood, in that the sad ending in the book is completely missing. An enjoyable film, but could've have been great. Expand
  83. DaveS
    Dec 3, 2007
    7
    Worth seeing but a lot was cut out from the books. See it if you didn't read it or did, its good either way.
  84. PaulF.
    Dec 7, 2007
    7
    It's strange the twists life can take. I intended to see the movie "Awake" but the Golden Compass one was playing in its place. My friends quickly influenced me to see this one in its stead. Another surprise quickly followed. I thought this must be some sequel to the Lion Witch and the Wardrome and spent the first 15 minutes of the movie in confusion. Once I figured this out I came It's strange the twists life can take. I intended to see the movie "Awake" but the Golden Compass one was playing in its place. My friends quickly influenced me to see this one in its stead. Another surprise quickly followed. I thought this must be some sequel to the Lion Witch and the Wardrome and spent the first 15 minutes of the movie in confusion. Once I figured this out I came to some conclusions about this movie. First, the special effects were first rate. The acting was actually decent but nothing earth shattering. The lead who played the little girl, Blue Richards, was my favorite. Nicole Kidman, another surprise, was pretty good too. But actually I really liked the animated warrior bear. I don't know how they achieved showing the emotion that they did but it was a good job worth mentioning. What else I can say but that if I were in my early teens I would have really loved this movie and maybe even given it a 9 or 10. Since then after seeing a gizzilion fantasy and Sci-Fi movies I have become a bit more discriminating or maybe just plan old jaded. It's really hard to top the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So in conclusion depending on your age and experience the Golden Compass will in the least entertain to possibly excite the imagination. The story line, acting, and special effects are all there for this potential. Some movies just have that shen or spirit and this one has at least has the glimmerings of one. ***Warning Potential Spoiler*** Be aware that this movie ends unexpectedly. The whole theater about groaned. The Golden Compass is definitely set up to be a series. Expand
  85. AldenL.
    Dec 8, 2007
    7
    Solid movie, with weak parts saved by Kidman and spectacular visuals. Story is streamlined from book, but mostly with success. Magisterium is a perfect 'alternative' to the Church; it's clear to any educated person what it's referring to and drives the plot nicely. Major downfall of movie, if there is one: the ending is completely botched, and without a reason for Solid movie, with weak parts saved by Kidman and spectacular visuals. Story is streamlined from book, but mostly with success. Magisterium is a perfect 'alternative' to the Church; it's clear to any educated person what it's referring to and drives the plot nicely. Major downfall of movie, if there is one: the ending is completely botched, and without a reason for doing so. The story is already violent and tragic, so why do away with that last pivotal scene. Who are they protecting? Either way, strong film. Expand
  86. MichaelT.
    Dec 9, 2007
    7
    Meh, it was a nice movie, certainly entertaining, but it could have been better... Some plotholes and rush-rush editing.... But on the whole a nice movie.
  87. Jan 3, 2015
    7
    I have not read the books this story is based on, which means I am reviewing this film completely based on the story I saw on screen. Let's put it this way: I had been reading so much negative feedback about this film that I was positively surprised after watching it. The movie looked good, sounded good, and all in all, it was pretty great! The plot, the story; actors and acting. EvenI have not read the books this story is based on, which means I am reviewing this film completely based on the story I saw on screen. Let's put it this way: I had been reading so much negative feedback about this film that I was positively surprised after watching it. The movie looked good, sounded good, and all in all, it was pretty great! The plot, the story; actors and acting. Even Lyra, the "little girl who will change the course of the world forever" (yes, we have seen those before...) was annoyingly realistic with her immaturity. But as with every movie, there were some things that just didn't click, and therefore I won't give this four stars: as good as the plot of the movie was, it left me feeling as if everything wasn't told, explained, or shown well enough. Once again, perhaps those who have read the books know some facts in advance. To me, it was a bit frustrating at points. Confusing, even. And once again in a vast battlefield it is amazingly easy to launch a "surprise" attack on your enemies... wow. That never ceases to amaze me. ;) Also, Serafina Pekkala (and her daemon Kaisa) make me crack up every time! Finnish names in an otherwise English film? Not good. Not good at all! Expand
  88. KelvinL
    Jan 9, 2008
    6
    My 10 year old nephew loved it but I wasn't so blown away. Whilst the sets were impressive and the cast gave the film some gravitas I couldn't help feeling disappointed at the ending. Indeed I didn't actually expect the film to end when it did, I was expecting another showdown at least. I suppose the unresolved story lines were designed to open the way for a sequel, only I My 10 year old nephew loved it but I wasn't so blown away. Whilst the sets were impressive and the cast gave the film some gravitas I couldn't help feeling disappointed at the ending. Indeed I didn't actually expect the film to end when it did, I was expecting another showdown at least. I suppose the unresolved story lines were designed to open the way for a sequel, only I don't get a sense of completion of the first film. Can I really wait till 2009 at the earliest to see the next installment? Well the film needed to be much more rounded for me but having said that no doubt I'll be viewing the sequel whenever it may come. Expand
  89. JaredM
    Dec 10, 2007
    6
    For those that have read the books, this movie tries too hard to encompass everything and thusly spends no time on creating character bonds. The story is there but the progression of the story is lacking. Too busy, not enough time spent on making me care.
  90. JayH.
    Apr 24, 2008
    6
    Too complex for it's own good, rather than to flow steadily, it comes off more muddled than anything else. However, the art direction and sets are wonderful, and even though the special effects are computer generated, I thought they were terrific and imaginative. Family film? I can't see most kids sitting through the whole film. It sure is pretty to look at though.
  91. GregA
    May 25, 2008
    6
    Not realising this was part of a trilogy I was disappointed to see it end so abruptly, but at least it was plainly obvious that another installment is coming. I thought the concepts of this movie were bizarre but it made me interested and I am keen to watch the upcoming movies and see what the big deal about "dust" is all about! However it is not a tidy movie and there is too much Not realising this was part of a trilogy I was disappointed to see it end so abruptly, but at least it was plainly obvious that another installment is coming. I thought the concepts of this movie were bizarre but it made me interested and I am keen to watch the upcoming movies and see what the big deal about "dust" is all about! However it is not a tidy movie and there is too much information and stuff happening that leaves you disconnected from the film and sort of wondering what the hell was that all about? Worth a DVD look, it has interest. Expand
  92. MorganF
    Jul 20, 2008
    6
    A great visual experience, but it failed to convey Pullmans sense of mystery. The ending was also at the wrong time, and you could tell they were rushing in some parts.
  93. HollyC.
    Dec 10, 2007
    6
    I'm a big fan of the first novel in this trilogy, however I went in w/ lower expectations for the film after reading some initial reviews. I would have to agree w/ a majority of the criticisms --they should have used some of the loads of CG money and funneled it towards a better script, director, editor and score (but really, writing and direction). I was, in the end, entertained I I'm a big fan of the first novel in this trilogy, however I went in w/ lower expectations for the film after reading some initial reviews. I would have to agree w/ a majority of the criticisms --they should have used some of the loads of CG money and funneled it towards a better script, director, editor and score (but really, writing and direction). I was, in the end, entertained I guess--and it held my interest throughout most of the 2+ hrs--but it's definitely a mess as a whole. Pacing is pretty bad as is the story itself how its adapted. It's definitely going for a Lord of the Rings type adaptation, but falls way, way too short. The acting is quite good though (compared to say Narnia where the kid actors were wencingly bad) so at least that works. And the momentous Bear-Fight is awesome. But overall, without great writing (er script adaptation) and direction, there's something missing--a little too much eye candy and short on heart I guess. Expand
  94. [Anonymous]
    Dec 7, 2007
    6
    Dumbed down beyond belief.
  95. KevinM
    Dec 7, 2007
    6
    I believe that the director never read the book, opting instead to read the Cliff Notes while crossing off all the themes and replacing them with things like "generic friendship theme" and "generic courage theme". If you never read the books, it's a solid movie. If you wanted a more accurate transferal from book to screen, you will be thoroughly disappointed.
  96. RyanK.
    Dec 7, 2007
    6
    Having seen this movie without reading the source first, I can say that the book must be a terrifically interesting read. It was obvious that the director thought so too; it seemed he tried to incorporate as many elements from the source as possible. Unfortunately that made for a story that jumped from place to place without lingering on the interesting part, the connections between the Having seen this movie without reading the source first, I can say that the book must be a terrifically interesting read. It was obvious that the director thought so too; it seemed he tried to incorporate as many elements from the source as possible. Unfortunately that made for a story that jumped from place to place without lingering on the interesting part, the connections between the events. The Victorian world of steeples and airships was sufficiently interesting that I wanted to be immersed in it, but this movie did not let me do so. Expand
  97. TonyS.
    Dec 9, 2007
    6
    Good, but I was expecting much more. I would have been happier if this movie had been rated (PG). This is a PG-13 movie right? I should figured something was a miss when the movie theater was flooded with kids....but I didn't. Parents just drop your kids off and pick them up when its over (cause there ain't much there for you).
  98. LuisG.
    Feb 27, 2008
    6
    It's hard not to feel like your being sold repetiveness after harry potter takes the crown and narnia steps down as well... compass is a good film .... visually stunning ... hope thers a sequel.
  99. JoeyK
    May 25, 2008
    6
    Decent. The visuals were great, across the board. The acting was solid. The message was good. The problem is, the movie watches like a detailed synopsis of the book, not a new portrayal of it. During the translation, they failed to turn the book into something cinematically functional. Overall, the movie is decent, regardless, but it certainly feels like an ad for a much better book.
  100. DaveF
    Dec 11, 2007
    6
    Watered-down, heavily-censored version of a dark and subtle story. Has its moments--most are eye-rolling, not heart-stopping. I was half-expecting the polar bears to whip out bottles of Coke.
Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 33
  2. Negative: 3 out of 33
  1. 63
    One key missing element: the world in which this story takes place never feels unique. We aren't drawn into it the way we were with Middle Earth or Hogwarts. In fact, with all the airships flying around, there are times when it feels like an extension of Stardust.
  2. A "soft" epic, a film touching on childhood fantasies with sturdy, unwavering characters driven to evil or good. More "Harry Potter," in other words, than "Beowulf."
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Impressively rendered but oddly uninviting adventure.