The Golden Compass

Metascore
51

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

User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 332 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,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
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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. If Weitz's Golden Compass feels, at times, too crammed with exposition and big set pieces, the film nonetheless works far more successfully than the first Potter pic - the leaden "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" - did translating its source material.
  3. 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.
  4. Looks magical, seethes with elusive profundities and makes remarkably little sense, though the murkiness makes perfect sense on a shallower level.
  5. Has many of the virtues of a faithful screen adaptation and many of the predictable flaws.
  6. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    40
    In drawing and quartering much of the novel's intent, Weitz ends up with a film that feels not just unfinished but undone.
  7. 38
    Me, I just think it blows. What does it matter if you spend millions on a movie - love the talking, battling bears! - if the effects are cheesy, the story runs off on tangents and after watching the movie fail utterly to be the next Lord of the Rings, you just want to go home.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 168
  2. Negative: 42 out of 168
  1. 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!
  2. 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 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
  3. 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 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
  4. 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 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
  5. 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) 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
  6. Apr 25, 2013
    3
    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 notBesides 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
  7. 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.

See all 168 User Reviews

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