Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 315 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on author Philip Pullman's bestselling and award-winning novel, The Golden Compass tells the first story in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The Golden Compass is an exciting fantasy adventure, set in an alternative world where people's souls manifest themselves as animals, talking bears fight wars, and Gyptians and witches coexist. At the center of the story is Lyra, a 12-year-old girl who starts out trying to rescue a friend who's been kidnapped by a mysterious organization known as the Gobblers--and winds up on an epic quest to save not only her world, but ours as well. (New Line Cinema) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 33
  2. Negative: 3 out of 33
  1. 100
    A darker, deeper fantasy epic than the "Rings" trilogy, "The Chronicles of Narnia" or the "Potter" films. It springs from the same British world of quasi-philosophical magic, but creates more complex villains and poses more intriguing questions. As a visual experience, it is superb. As an escapist fantasy, it is challenging.
  2. A demanding blend of spectacle, drama and exposition of ideas.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    At times you feel Weitz flipping the pages and dog-earing wildly, and that's a shame: This is a movie that needs to be lengthy and discursive, the better to duck into the back alleys of its invention. A visionary is required. This director isn't one.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Impressively rendered but oddly uninviting adventure.
  5. Reviewed by: Deborah Day
    Ultimately fails as a film in its broad strokes and inadequate scene development.
  6. 40
    Not only did those so-called "demons" take the form of animals, but they actually talked!
  7. The final sad joke is this: Weitz took a wonderful story about the danger of severing a soul from its otherwise empty body and did that very thing to his source.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 165
  1. ALF
    Aug 28, 2011
    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 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
  2. Jan 31, 2014
    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 this movie was such a success financially. Expand
  3. Jul 14, 2013
    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. Expand
  4. Jul 14, 2014
    a very disappointing adaptation. the last time i felt dejected halfway into the movie was with tim burton's PLANET OF THE APES, before which this film feels like a total abomination. despite Dakota Blue Richards' Lyra and Nicole Kidman's Mrs. Coulter, and the visual effects, this film really is nothing. probably the fact that i read the book first and loved it made all the difference and in fact, i suggest you all do the same. avoid this film if you can and read the book. the book has a proper narrative with exemplary character development and plotline, all of which this film lacks. the only thing keeping this film together is the visual effects and nothing more. Expand
  5. Apr 25, 2013
    Besides the horrible acting,the lazy writing and the stupid plot twist, the thing that bothered me most about this movie was the ending.Im not going to spoil it but its really lazy. They literally ended it saying "We are going to make a trilogy and not conclude this movie right now because we are SOOOO sure it wil be succesfull!" Well thanks God it wasn´t because this movie deserves to die in silence. Expand
  6. Feb 11, 2013
    What a pathetic adaptation. The casting was good though. The bear looked ridiculous. The fight scenes were censored and the whole narrative was turned on its head. Even the ending was changed to suit children. Expand
  7. Mar 2, 2013
    The Golden Compass is pure nonsense. The movie is a pathetic piece of trash that makes no sense because of all the meaningless jargon spewing out of everyone's mouth. A laughable film from the poor acting of the girl to the idea that kids would enjoy this. The movie is nearly impossible to sit through. Expand

See all 165 User Reviews