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

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 314 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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 164
  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. Jun 10, 2012
    I have never read the book or was any sort of a fan before I watched the film, I it certainly did not inspire me to want to read the books. In any case, "The Golden Compass" puts up a good fight trying to be a good fantasy epic, but it does not quite achieve that level or recognition. Some aspects of the film are very good, namely most of the technical aspects. Excellent production and costume design, along with a decent score and great visual effects provide for some of the films highlights. Unfortunately, the cinematography was totally off. It had this strange, airy quality to it, that made me feel as if I were watching a documentary or something. I cannot quite articulate it, but it definitely blocked me from being able to ever fully immerse myself into the story. It did not help how annoying the portrayal of the main character was by Dakota Blue Richards. Such an annoying kid. I've been told that she's supposed to be like that in the books too, but I just do not understand why. Who would want to read/watch such a miserable character. On the other hand, Nicole Kidman gave an amazingly appropriate, cold performance as Mrs.Coulter, which was another highlights of the film. But other than that, the film never quite tickled my interest to engage it fully, or be sad about the fact that the sequels have been cancelled. 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 164 User Reviews