The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass Image
Metascore
51

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

User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 343 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. 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: 90 out of 171
  2. Negative: 42 out of 171
  1. AdamP.
    Dec 3, 2007
    10
    Slow at first but picks up speed and leaves you really thinking.
  2. 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 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. 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. 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'sI 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
  5. Aug 24, 2013
    5
    The movie itself is quite impressive. However, the story is way too bizarre and complicated for a child even an adult to follow. it tries toThe movie itself is quite impressive. However, the story is way too bizarre and complicated for a child even an adult to follow. it tries to be the next huge movie series, but doesn't fill the excitement with good characters. Expand
  6. 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 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. 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 171 User Reviews

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