A young girl embarks on a perilous journey to rescue her best friend and fight the forces of darkness in director Chris Weitz's adaptation of the first installment of author Philip Pullman's best-selling fantasy trilogy. Screen… MoreA young girl embarks on a perilous journey to rescue her best friend and fight the forces of darkness in director Chris Weitz's adaptation of the first installment of author Philip Pullman's best-selling fantasy trilogy. Screen newcomer Dakota Blue Richards stars as young heroine Lyra Belacqua, Casino Royale star Daniel Craig appears as Lyra's ruthless adventurer uncle, Lord Asriel, and Nicole Kidman assumes the glamorous guise of the villainous Mrs. Coulter. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Without the bite or the controversy of the source material, The Golden Compass is reduced to impressive visuals overcompensating for lax storytelling.
The Catholic League thinks it's anti-Catholic. Admirers of Philip Pullman's 1995 His Dark Materials trilogy think the film guts the backbone of the book. Me, I just think it blows.
With its rushed, jargon-pumped exposition, surplus of quarter-baked characters, stray narrative strands and generously dropped hints of things possibly to come, The Golden Compass is a movie that wears its franchise ambitions on its sleeve.
The Golden Compass isn't bad, it's cast is too good and it's too well made, but something fundamental to good storytelling - heart - has been lost, leaving a final product as icy and impossible to care for as Mrs. Coulter herself.
The Golden Compass is a blatant attempt to duplicate the success of the Harry Potter franchise. The only thing missing is richly imagined characters, a comprehensible story line, good acting, and satisfying special effects.