The Golden Compass

User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 332 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 95 out of 332
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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. KenT.
    Jan 1, 2008
    9
    A wonderful film. Where did these low scores come from? Is the Bible Belt trying to suppress dissenting views?
  4. RyanD.
    Dec 13, 2007
    8
    I thought was pretty good, it didn't follow the story very well, but it's a movie.
  5. 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
  6. CocoaF.
    Jan 5, 2008
    8
    I loved the Golden Compass, it was action filled in every scene, I loved the Golden Compass.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. JoshuaD.
    Dec 23, 2007
    6
    I thought this was an average fantasy film based on a brilliant book. Too many wooden performances dragged the film down (which was mostly dependent on the special effects anyway). The ending was neither as suspenseful or as satisfying as I remember the book to be which only keeps me wondering how the sequel will be dealt with.
  11. 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
  12. 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!
  13. 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.
  14. L.E.
    Dec 13, 2007
    3
    Very boring movie, but better than the book, which is the biggest crap, I've ever read.
  15. Tanner
    Dec 13, 2007
    2
    Awful, I can't believe anyone would give this movie any credit at all. The story is obscure and while some people call the ridiculous plot intriguing, I call it boring and slow. I haven't felt this way about a movie since Larry the cable guy health inspector. I wouldn't even recommend this movie to rent. I felt as though I wasted 2 hours of my life that I can't ever get back.
  16. KathrynC
    Dec 14, 2007
    5
    The movie was entertaining and beautiful. The cast all did an excellent job. However, it's ironic how one of the film's themes is about soul severing, and then they went and took the soul out of the movie. The movie felt rushed and there was no character development. Also, the worst mistake the film made was that it cut out the ending. They practically gave it a happy ending The movie was entertaining and beautiful. The cast all did an excellent job. However, it's ironic how one of the film's themes is about soul severing, and then they went and took the soul out of the movie. The movie felt rushed and there was no character development. Also, the worst mistake the film made was that it cut out the ending. They practically gave it a happy ending instead of the suspenseful and emotional ending of the book. They neutered this film. Expand
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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!
  20. LeslieW
    Dec 10, 2007
    0
    horrible movie. my son and i almost fell asleep. it is so dark, not a sequel I want to see. seems like the movie was a let down unless you like dark, gloomy, boring films. the best thing about this movie were the end credits.
  21. 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
  22. GwilymD.
    Dec 7, 2007
    5
    A dull and perfunctory adaptation of one of the greatest books of our time. Feels flat, should have been half an hour longer to let scenes grow and characters breathe. MASSIVE mistake in cutting the ending and changing the running of the plot (to create several unfathomable strands)
  23. DanielS.
    Jan 8, 2008
    2
    I can only assume the people who made this movie were so mesmerized by the source material and the computer generated graphics that they didn't feel any need to craft an entertaining movie. Read the book. Skip the movie.
  24. nigelm
    Jun 10, 2008
    3
    Too childish for adults, too complex for kids. Average CGI and wooden performances throughout. Yawn.
  25. KevinR.
    Dec 10, 2007
    2
    I haven't read the books, but could still feel that some significant things must be missing from the original story. All bad fantasies lack one essential quality--immersiveness. The world that they create has to seem real and completely whole. LOTR accomplished this. This movie does not. The fantasy elements just seem silly and contrived (except for the daemon thing) and are pulled I haven't read the books, but could still feel that some significant things must be missing from the original story. All bad fantasies lack one essential quality--immersiveness. The world that they create has to seem real and completely whole. LOTR accomplished this. This movie does not. The fantasy elements just seem silly and contrived (except for the daemon thing) and are pulled out of the sack whenever it's convenient. Need a deus ex machina--how about an armored bear that suddenly appears out of nowhere? Or a convenient flock of rescue witches? Like the worst of the Harry Potter movies, where a hastily-remembered spell saves the day, resolutions here are never really struggled for. ALSO--what the hell is Sam Eliot doing in this movie with his absurd cowboy twang (has there ever been a more one-trick pony than this guy)? I found myself predicting his lines before he said them, and, again, I never read the books. Collapse
  26. Mike
    Dec 30, 2007
    3
    Nothing special. Another movie for kids.
  27. 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.
  28. 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!
  29. StephenP.
    Dec 7, 2007
    10
    Excellent film. Surprisingly little was cut, and one of the most faithful book-movies I've ever seen.
  30. 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.
  31. JasonM.
    Dec 7, 2007
    0
    Awful not at all representative of the source material.
  32. BenO.
    Dec 8, 2007
    3
    If you have read the book do NOT go and watch the film you will be disappointed they have broken the story up and do not develop the characters at all. They keep the skeleton of the story but then rip out the guts and fill it with classic Disney rubbish. As a final insult they cut the story short leaving a happy ending so as not to upset anyone, in all a sham.
  33. JamesW.
    Dec 8, 2007
    0
    Special effects without a coherent plot.
  34. 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
  35. 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.
  36. 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!
  37. JustinP.
    Dec 9, 2007
    3
    I don´t know if The Golden Compass will go down as one of the biggest bombs in cinematic history, but it certainly deserves to. Seldom has so much effort and money been invested in creating a movie so thoroughly unengaging. It seems the entire movie should be plastered with little notes on the screen saying "Courtesy of Lord of the Rings" or "Inspired by Harry Potter" and the list I don´t know if The Golden Compass will go down as one of the biggest bombs in cinematic history, but it certainly deserves to. Seldom has so much effort and money been invested in creating a movie so thoroughly unengaging. It seems the entire movie should be plastered with little notes on the screen saying "Courtesy of Lord of the Rings" or "Inspired by Harry Potter" and the list goes on. Its desperate reaching to cash in on the success of those series is pathetic. The question one asks throughout the film is "OK, and why is that interesting, and why should I care?" None of the characters are intriguing or likable. The plot is fragmented and episodic and lacks any tension. The effects are impressive, but seem sadly wasted on a movie that, above all, is just really, really boring. And the end is the most shameless plea (which should be denied) for a sequel(s) in movie history. Please, spare us. Expand
  38. JB.
    Dec 9, 2007
    2
    Terrible, terrible, terrible. I went to see No Country for Old Men, but apparently you have to be 18 to get into R-rated movies now, which is why I saw this. This is not the next CoN or LoTR...for god's sake stay away!
  39. 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.
  40. Boomer
    Dec 9, 2007
    5
    Had all the ingredients to make a great film, sadly, the chef was an idiot and the great performances and killer storyline get left behind in a mad rush. Hopefully they will put a more talented helmer in charge for the next one.
  41. steve104
    Dec 9, 2007
    3
    Big, beautiful, and boring. Kidman is totally miscast.
  42. DT
    Dec 9, 2007
    5
    I think this is a movie with a lot of potential but sadly, New Line was afraid of controversy and thus you have instead a flick that bounces around from subject to subject with no explanation. I would very much be interested in seeing an unedited version of this movie should one come out on the market. As this is now, however, it's a lot of misused acting and good CG and not enough I think this is a movie with a lot of potential but sadly, New Line was afraid of controversy and thus you have instead a flick that bounces around from subject to subject with no explanation. I would very much be interested in seeing an unedited version of this movie should one come out on the market. As this is now, however, it's a lot of misused acting and good CG and not enough exposition to tie it all together. A shame really, as I would love to get excited for another fantasy epic in theatres....but this won't be it. Expand
  43. MattP
    Dec 9, 2007
    3
    Good acting. Good CGI. Good Source Material. Complete lack of quality scripting or any notable direction. 30 seconds scenes where various characters just tell you what has happened/is happening/ is soon to happen. Descends into a series of set-up scenes followed immediately by their respective conclusion scenes. No ending to speak of, just a muddle of confusing answers to questions no-one Good acting. Good CGI. Good Source Material. Complete lack of quality scripting or any notable direction. 30 seconds scenes where various characters just tell you what has happened/is happening/ is soon to happen. Descends into a series of set-up scenes followed immediately by their respective conclusion scenes. No ending to speak of, just a muddle of confusing answers to questions no-one asked. Succeeds only in leaving the viewer asking WHAT anyone is doing, let alone why they might be doing it. Poor movie for a good book. Expand
  44. 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.
  45. TomP.
    Dec 9, 2007
    4
    Terrible. Boring in parts - generic action sequences, relies heavily on CGI and impressive soundtrack to cover up the weak acting.Many changes made to book, character development sacrificed to CGI.
  46. ChadS.
    Jan 10, 2008
    5
    Here is a paradox for you. Arguably, we want to learn more about the dust from one of these parallel universes Lord Asriel(Daniel Craig) prattles on about, but sitting through two more installments of this upstart trilogy(billed as the thinking man's "Harry Potter"), methinks is a taxing proposition, because "The Golden Compass" lays an egg, and it certainly isn't golden. For Here is a paradox for you. Arguably, we want to learn more about the dust from one of these parallel universes Lord Asriel(Daniel Craig) prattles on about, but sitting through two more installments of this upstart trilogy(billed as the thinking man's "Harry Potter"), methinks is a taxing proposition, because "The Golden Compass" lays an egg, and it certainly isn't golden. For starters, a disproportionate amount of time is spent at the university, in which the exposition is laid out to us; at one point, in seminar-like fashion from a lectern. Lyra(Dakota Blue Richards), eventually, like Bilbo Baggins, leaves behind her sheltered existence and accompanies Marisa(Nicole Kidman) to the north as her assistant. That's when "The Golden Compass" starts to pay the price for its needless dawdling. Kidman is cheated out of precious screen time as Marisa, or rather Marisa's spirit, makes us wonder what it would be like if Joan Crawford had a monkey(what makes Marisa angry reminded me of the wire hanger scene in "Mommie Dearest"). This is where the film loses its footing. There's evidence of heavy editing here. "The Golden Compass" should've established Marisa as Lyra's mentor before the girl learns the truth about her duplicitous nature. The movie never truly recovers. This filmmaker is a novice at staging action scenes, and it shows. Kidman is upstaged by a talking polar bear. That's some bear, though. Expand
  47. TheECarrot
    Jan 5, 2008
    0
    This movie was a complete waste of my time. I have not read the books and if the movie is anything to go by I do not want to. One of the more stupidly memorable quotes was " I am an armored bear, I lift heavy things" (Iorek Byrnison). The kid who played Lyra was a sub standard actress who switched accents often during lines. Don't get me started about the poor casting of Kidman. This movie was a complete waste of my time. I have not read the books and if the movie is anything to go by I do not want to. One of the more stupidly memorable quotes was " I am an armored bear, I lift heavy things" (Iorek Byrnison). The kid who played Lyra was a sub standard actress who switched accents often during lines. Don't get me started about the poor casting of Kidman. Although this movie is supposed to be serious and thought provoking I spent most of it laughing at the bad acting and terrible script. The superman style flying of the witches summarizes the terrible special effects which I expected to be okay due to the technology available these days. Lastly the final battle was ridiculous with not one main good character being injured, yet every one of the bad guys was annihilated. Don't bother to see this at the movies, don't even bother hiring it on DVD. I want my money and time back! Expand
  48. 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
  49. 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.
  50. DominicK
    Jun 13, 2008
    10
    The secenary and the whole movie is done perfectly.
  51. 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.
  52. 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
  53. KristenT.
    Dec 12, 2007
    1
    Very disappointing film. The characters, the larger themes of the books are all sacrificed for plot and special effects. The editing is poor, the score is bad. What would this film have been like with a great director like Peter Jackson? Read the books which are better than Narnia or Harry Potter. Pullman created a world fascinating for children and adults. Wouldn't you love to read Very disappointing film. The characters, the larger themes of the books are all sacrificed for plot and special effects. The editing is poor, the score is bad. What would this film have been like with a great director like Peter Jackson? Read the books which are better than Narnia or Harry Potter. Pullman created a world fascinating for children and adults. Wouldn't you love to read the screen adaptation that Tom Stoppard wrote for this? Expand
  54. SeanR
    Dec 12, 2007
    5
    New Line fumbled by choosing a novice instead of an expert to fill in the director's chair. This is especially true given the depth and complexity of the source material.
  55. BenB
    Dec 12, 2007
    5
    DJ Im's point about religious backlash is quite obviously a knee jerk to the fact he likes a film that everyone else does not. How stupid is it to call Rolling Stone and Empire's view as religious backlash? I see very little in the way of religious content in either publication.Simply put, this film blows, botched with cheesy effects and less flow than k-fed.
  56. TimW.
    Dec 12, 2007
    4
    It is a children's film but so is Monsters Inc and I loved that. Slow moving with to many morals pushed into the story line, eg. the poor alcoholic bear fighting etc. etc. My directors kids loved it but I'm the one writing the review so it's a 3.5 which rounds up to a 4 since it's nearly Christmas.
  57. GC
    Dec 10, 2007
    2
    Utter trash, honestly this film is probably one of the worst teenage/kids Christmas movies of all time, fair enough its based on a book, so may have had limitations in regards to adding on of more exciting elements, but its just plain and simply sucked.
  58. 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.
  59. RogerL
    Dec 10, 2007
    0
    Cheese, cheese, and more cheese. No story, special effects not special. Don't waste your $10.
  60. AdamP.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Slow at first but picks up speed and leaves you really thinking.
  61. 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!
  62. 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.
  63. 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!
  64. ClareC.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie! Fantastic. Funny. Touching.
  65. JoannaK.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Nicole Kidman at her best! It was smart and funny and the special effects were amazing.
  66. MichaelF.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    One of the wonders of the holiday season.
  67. JanL.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Here is the jaw-dropping, eye-popping, heart-stopping movie epic we've been waiting for all year.
  68. JamieR.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    What a movie! This is how the medium seduced us originally.
  69. 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.
  70. 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.
  71. GregB.
    Dec 4, 2007
    0
    The book was dull. The movie is duller. It's no Lord of the Rings. It's no Blades of Glory.
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. JamieJamie
    Dec 7, 2007
    9
    Cuts a lot out of the books, but is generally very good.
  75. EricC.
    Dec 7, 2007
    2
    I'm genuinely surprised that this movie is getting as much praise as it is. I really can't stand it. I wanted to walk out of the theater, but stayed because for some reason I couldn't bring myself to leave a sneak preview. The acting is atrocious, except for Craig, who is only in it for less than 10 minutes. I normally defend Kidman, but this time I just have to shake my I'm genuinely surprised that this movie is getting as much praise as it is. I really can't stand it. I wanted to walk out of the theater, but stayed because for some reason I couldn't bring myself to leave a sneak preview. The acting is atrocious, except for Craig, who is only in it for less than 10 minutes. I normally defend Kidman, but this time I just have to shake my head. She's terrible in this. The script doesn't help, either. There are some lines in this movie where I actually laughed, they were so bad ("War is the sea in which I swim". How is that not funny?). The pacing is also some of the worst I've ever witnessed. You're rushed through events, not told why people go from loving to hating each other in a heartbeat. They leave no room for any character development whatsoever, so by the big battle scene, you could care less about whether these soulless people live or die. It's really too bad, since the books are already considered classics, and the subject matter could have been really substantial and thought provoking. The worst part, though, is how this movie, like Eragon before it, tries to be like other fantasy epics, but it can't decide which one it wants to be most. Some scenes seem stolen from Harry Potter, others from LotR. I'll blame this on direction, since the books are mostly original. In the end, Golden Compass is just a mess led by a poor director using a poor script, and it's a mess that not even a thrilling battle scene can save. So just wait for that and the part where the bear gets his jaw knocked off to pop up on the internet, so then you can save your money and see everything worth seeing. Expand
  76. 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.
  77. 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.
  78. 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.
  79. KentL
    Dec 7, 2007
    4
    Graphics and acting were well done. Story was solid. But, I was so unhappy when I got to the end when I was slammed in the face with credits before the story ended. Yep, it's part 1 of who-knows how many parts. I wouldn't have gone if I had known that. Harry potter encapsulates a full story in it - this just left me hanging.
  80. 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
  81. JoeU.
    Dec 7, 2007
    3
    I give it 3 points for superb production values. However, as it too often happens in Hollywood movies, the writing is missing in action. Utterly bad and uninteresting story, in my opinion. Worst, it is boring. I entertained myself during the movie watching the great special effects, and beautiful cinematography. Which sort of confirms my opinion that Hollywood has plenty of talent for the I give it 3 points for superb production values. However, as it too often happens in Hollywood movies, the writing is missing in action. Utterly bad and uninteresting story, in my opinion. Worst, it is boring. I entertained myself during the movie watching the great special effects, and beautiful cinematography. Which sort of confirms my opinion that Hollywood has plenty of talent for the film craft, but truly innovative and creative writing is as difficult to find in real life nowadays as the witches in this movie, and as nonsensical. Expand
  82. AmyS.
    Dec 8, 2007
    10
    Loved every second, didn't want it to end!
  83. 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
  84. 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
  85. 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.
  86. 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
  87. FrancineB
    Dec 9, 2007
    3
    I kind of liked the bears. Felt really cheated by the ending.
  88. 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
  89. HerbK
    Dec 9, 2007
    0
    Utter trash. Everything about the movie felt tacked on and laborious. I was just plain bored as I was watching it. The books were such a rich statement about free-will, and the nature of authority, and could easily have been read and enjoyed as adults. This movie has none of that power. Everything felt watered, down and over-simplified. They don't mention the Church, or God, or Utter trash. Everything about the movie felt tacked on and laborious. I was just plain bored as I was watching it. The books were such a rich statement about free-will, and the nature of authority, and could easily have been read and enjoyed as adults. This movie has none of that power. Everything felt watered, down and over-simplified. They don't mention the Church, or God, or Original Sin a single time in the entire film. Everything is reduced to "Authority" or "Magisterium." It is a poor adaptation of an excellent story. Expand
  90. RobertT.
    Dec 9, 2007
    9
    An awesome depiction of an alternate steampunk universe.
  91. KevinD.
    Feb 16, 2008
    2
    While Kidman has yet to entirely dissapoint me, she came pretty darn cose in this travesty of a flim. Not so much for her acting, but her sheer involvement. It was an utter travesty in terms of dialogue, made no sense whatsoever. I've never experienced physical pain while watching a film, but I felt like I had just been attacked by a rapid bull after watching "The Golden Compass." While Kidman has yet to entirely dissapoint me, she came pretty darn cose in this travesty of a flim. Not so much for her acting, but her sheer involvement. It was an utter travesty in terms of dialogue, made no sense whatsoever. I've never experienced physical pain while watching a film, but I felt like I had just been attacked by a rapid bull after watching "The Golden Compass." Who to look out for:Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, without these two i would've given this film a zero. Expand
  92. 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.
  93. 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
  94. 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
  95. 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.
  96. brentoni
    Dec 10, 2007
    4
    They tried to condense a very long story into a 2-hour movie and then offered no closure for the audience at the end. Character relationships are barely developed and the story jumps around confusingly. With all its faults, the movie was visually impressive and the little actress who played Lyra is very likable.
  97. 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.
  98. 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.
  99. 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
  100. HisM.
    Dec 10, 2007
    1
    I was dragged by the wife, who had read the books, and enjoyed them. She apologized as we walked out for making me go. I snoozed throughout. Dreg.
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.