I think that, if I was 12, this film would have been “absolutelyfreakingfantastic”. As it was I was left admiring the incredible animation of the fighting polar bears, the extreme evil of Nicole Kidman, and the speed at which the script skipped across the detail of the fantasy world The Golden Compass is set in.
In fantasy meets Steampunk we have the story of a young girl who is the object of a prophecy, one that sees nothing less than free will set against the machinations of The Magisterium, a bureaucracy of overlords who wish enslave everything. She receives a ‘Golden Compass’ from a kindly Lord, and the story kicks off.
Again, if I was 12 this would have pretty damn good. As it was I just noticed how quickly the film jumps from scene-setting, to character development, to action. The characters are introduced and added as quickly as possible, and the plot itself isn’t always apparent. In a way, The Golden Compass is a sure-fire example of how difficult it is to translate richly textured fantasy worlds into coherent cinema.
That said, it’s not a bad film. Go to see the fighting bears if not for anything else. Goan, it’s ‘the hols’.