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The Golden Compass Reviews

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John M

Super Reviewer

May 11, 2008
Stylish, slick, and unfortunately troubled by another studio forcing a writer and director to try and cut a movie down so its more income friendly. In the end you get some quality acting and some sweet visuals. Heres to the sequel getting a shot.
Scott G

Super Reviewer

March 24, 2012
Its basic, nothing is explored to make this film something that the youth in modern day will enjoy and... They haven't.
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

December 11, 2011
It's deeper, darker, and much more engaging than the likes of fantasies like the Narnia franchise. The Golden Compass is beautifully made with effects that will leave you in awe, backed with impressive acting and a magical and ambitious fantasy storyline that blew my mind. It was never going to be a perfect adaption (it isn't). It's only jaw dropping and incredible if you've never read the books (apparantly), I didn't. The Golden Compass is not a bad movie.
Phil H

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2007
To be honest I just didn't follow this, its like a cross between 'LOTR', 'Narnia' and 'Harry Potter' and frankly I'm getting so bored of it, there're just all the same. There's nothing new here as its all been done with 'Potter', magical animals, spirits, witches etc I just can't see how it can be rated. Sure the effects are nice and the animals look cool but that's it.
The cast is pretty awful, or at least Kidman and Craig anyway, the rest is a top notch bunch of English actors but again that has been done with 'Potter' and 'LOTR', its seems to be the same classical English actors repeating themselves in a variety of silly fantasy films. I'm sure kids will like it, maybe, it is long and I think its boring so maybe not. Without knowledge of the book its all double dutch haha and I have never heard of it before the film.

Best bit was the polar bear fight er...and that's it, I could almost see a legion of elfs and Hobbits coming over the hill hehe 'yawn'.
thmtsang
thmtsang

Super Reviewer

December 5, 2007
Great fantasy movie. A bit like the Chronicles of Narnia - full of talking animals and special effects. Nicole Kidman is her usual frosty self. Daniel Craig didn't feature much in the movie. Children are kidnapped from their families and need to be rescued by the heroine - an orphan girl with special abilities to read the golden compass. Unfinished ending so definitely open for a sequel.
DreamExtractor
DreamExtractor

Super Reviewer

August 1, 2011
Talking animals, warrior polar bears, magic compasses, clearly supporting atheism, and 2 hours of complete special effects...... what could go wrong, almost everything. In another universe, there is a world far different then our own where a place called the Magisterium plans to take over everything and everyone. In this world people are trusted with a Deamon, a spiritual talking animal that is your trusted partner and whatever injuries happens to your Daemon happens to you. In a college, a young girl named Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) has a daemon named Pan (voice of Freddie Highmore) and a best friend named Roger (Ben Walker). When Roger is taken by people called Gobblers to a place where children are experimented on, Lyra is then taken in by a mysterious woman who seems to have eveyone scared, when the woman turns out to be named Mrs. Coutler (Nicole Kidman) she seems to grow a liking of Lyra and lets her live with her and work with her. When Lyra discover shes in charge of the people who took Roger, she runs away and a group of Gyptians take her in. She begins a long ourney to save her friend, which will end with the truth of her familys history. The plot of the film is probably one of the most ridiculous and stupid stories I have seen in a long time, I don't care if it is based off a book it is still stupid to me, it clearly also is trying to support atheism, for some people that may be fine but as a Catholic I felt insulted when they were comparing the evil Magisterium to the Catholic church which does nothing but try and help people, at least in my opinion I feel this way. The story also is just a ripoff of classic stpries like Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and even my personal favorite Harry Potter. The acting wasn't good either in my opinion, although Nicole Kidman plays a interesting villain, the rest of the cast just seemed to be secretly reading a script during their scenes, espically the cowboy guy, I mean WTF? Roger Ebert thought this film was perfect, and much deeper than the Harry Potter and Narnia films, I find this very ignmorant seeing as its 2 hours long and Narnia and Harry Potter films have explored the worlds for many films and even the first films of each of those franchises made a little sense and kids could understand this, im an adult and I might have to watch it twice to understand all the crap they throw at me in this. But even through all that, I will admit the effects are breathtaking, they did deserve the Best Effects Oscar, but I still wish Transformers had won it, but the effects in the film are truly the best thing about it, even the Directors said that in a statement. Overall I disliked the film, but it had amazing effects and Nicole Kidman was a very good villain.
erika250
erika250

Super Reviewer

July 8, 2011
The golden compass was about a girl who went on a journey to save her best friend and to fighting dark forces.
Pros
Good plot
Good acting
Good Visual Effects
Cons
Hard to follow at times
Dull at times.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

October 17, 2010
Unless Christian critics were complaining about the quality of the film, I don't see why they were so upset. Of course, I see the rather innocuous parallel, which condemns organized mind control, but this could just as likely refer to governmental bodies as it does religious.
Regardless, as a film, The Golden Compass fails to entertain. The major flaw is the script's incredibly expository dialogue. The characters fail to be motivated to speak by any intention except to explain obscure, unimportant details to the narcoleptic audience.
The ending of the film is worse because very little is resolved. I won't give anything away, but suffice to say that this film only serves to set up a sequel, which I hope will never come.
Richard C

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2010
a really imaginative movie. B
Lewis C

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2008
An the award for the most boring children's fantasy movie in history goes to...The Golden Compass. And boy, did it earn it.

How in the world can a movie featuring talking, FIGHTING polar bears, be this dull? The only bit of mild interest came in the beginning, as I was learning about the world and its mythology. After that, it was just a parade of one uninspired and completely predictable scene after another. I'm not asking for some revelatory cinematic experience, but The Golden Compass felt like a movie a that I had already seen fifty times before, and never particularly liked in the first place.

None of the CGI or special effects were particularly eye-catching, and at times I thought that the armoured bears looked almost bad. I wouldn't be surprised if most of the effects budget was spent on the swirling golden Dust that seemed to pop up every few minutes.

The majority of the actors seemed completely miscast or incapable. Daniel Craig was ok for the five minutes he was in the film, but to say that Nicole Kidman (who I usually have a strong inclination to like) was on autopilot would be an understatement. The kid they have playing Lyra was decent in some scenes, and completely lost in others. Eva Green was wasted on a throwaway character (though I assume she would have been focused on more in subsequent movies). The rest were a total disaster of odd, cliché, or ridiculous.

This was the perfect example of how NOT to do a book adaptation. Either The Golden Compass was utterly unsuited to film, or the book was placed in the hands of people who had little idea of what to do with it. I'm leaning towards the latter.
FiLmCrAzY
FiLmCrAzY

Super Reviewer

December 6, 2007
really really good its the first of a trilogy so looking forward to the others
Conner R

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2010
There's something that's so bad about this movie that it's almost funny. Whether it's the obvious attempts at presenting atheism to a young audience or large battles between CG polar bears, you're never left thinking that it has any significance in film or storytelling. I would say the only thing that kept me watching it was Nicole Kidman, who managed to really give a good performance.
3niR
3niR

Super Reviewer

January 29, 2010
I watched this long time ago. I remember enjoying it.
KJ P

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2010
I really want to see the sequel to see if they butcher it worse than they did for this movie! The only good thing to look forward to in this movie is the big fight between the two main polar bears which has amazing filming by the way! But after the 4 minute fight you like, oh, now what? Oh, just more talking! I know the second will be better than this, because this one is already bad enough, I don't think it can get worse!
Daniel H

Super Reviewer

December 2, 2007
Among the better of the recent glut of popular modern fantasy franchises to get movie treatment. Thanks to some well-done source material, it has a good deal of interesting, and unique, plot elements to play around with.

That said, it could have been more tightly controlled, because much of it still feels like there are too many interesting ideas being casually referenced, a common result of distilling a book into a screenplay. To people unfamilar with the books, as I am, it is far too obvious that I am looking at cinematic Cliffs Notes, as opposed to a stand-alone movie. This is painfully apparent with the cliffhanger ending... although, that implies some tension at the end. Rather, it's just as if the movie took a commercial break, and decided to roll credits.

Despite it all... the Polar-Bear vs. Polar Bear fight scene. Out of all the over-the-top "Oh, Snap" moments to view with your slightly morbid family relations this holiday season, make this the one.

----- Review Ends Here. Read on only for a biased defense of the movie against hard-line religous criticism

Ok, apparently a pretty vocal group have been giving themselves fits over this one due to the "god killing" ideas supposedly oozing out of this movie from every orafice. Point 1: The movie admits to the concept of a soul. Alot more spitiuality and morality than say, '300', which it seems alot of the people who despise this movie want to have babies with. Point 2: The God-Killing theme NEVER APPEARS in this film. Point 3: Even if it did, from what I got out of the film, having NEVER read the books, is that the eventual theme is more about predestination versus free will.

So, in the end, if your kid is old enough to watch a Polar bear totally wailing on some dudes, they are old enough not to get brainwashed. Honestly, the cute furry chipmunk-spirt-companion-thing isn't going to tell your kid to go arson down the nearest church. If we are going to demolish movies for being original, and maybe siding with different choices, then why watch movies in the first place? Are we so jaded that we cannot enjoy a Polar Bear ripping off another Polar Bears jaw, because some dude who came up with it thinks differently than us? No. Polar-Bear on Polar-Bear action is awesome nomatter the moral overtones. So stop the whining and bawling, you fear-mongers. If your kid hasn't gone Wiccan from Harry Potter, they sure as hell wont become Animist god-killing Scientists from this one.
maxthesax
maxthesax

Super Reviewer

January 9, 2009
what a tragic waste of potential and some good cgi. The plot and the script seemed dumbed down for childred - to the point of irritation. Broad strokes were certainly on display throughout, with a lack of charactor development and motivations - it was hard to get behind anyone - even Ian McKellan as the Polar Bear trying to win back his throne (the fight between the two Ians, McKellan and McShane was the only bright spot in the film, except the "demons"), lacked any urgency.
The typical "calvary arriving just in time" aspects were laughable, and so much of the dialogue was merely a way in which to explain the plot. Nichole Kidman's charactor was vaguelly interesting, but other than that... and even she was alternately too vague and way too pat and certain - just like the rest of the film - a kind of jumbled mess without a soul.
Bobby H

Super Reviewer

December 30, 2008
I enjoyed this film.

Positives: Sam Elliot, Nicole Kidman, some big name actors that were able to get behind it and pull off some good roles. The storyline is fairly enjoyable and I really liked the idea about parllel universe' especially in a time where science in our world is on the verge of proving they do in fact exist.
This to me was paticular a good movie based on simply that, it shows you what our world could of evolved into, could of been. It's an amazing concept to grasp and I thought it was awesome that a movie took a hold of that.

Negatives: It's a bit short and leaves to many broken peices to put them back into a five star category. The movies ending is very sudden, pretty much right in the middle of it all. There is a conclusion dont get me wrong but there's so many unanswered questions not only as what might happen later - to leave room for a sequal, but things right within the movie that are just left unfinished. It's like making a cheesecake and adding no topping, it's good but it's still, what the hell? Finish it.

Overall: This movie is a good movie that seems unfinished. Had they focused more on finishing it or making less dead ends that they knew they had no background for then this movie could of been in a classic, instead it's alright, and a little better then alright if you have some kids that want to sit down and watch it with you. Keep an open mind going into this and you may enjoy it.
Dean L

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2007
This movie took the book, removed all parts that might be in any way objectionable and served up the sum of its parts in a morsel that is palatable to the mainstream.
I know that this is a movie review and not a book review, but having read this trilogy it is difficult to ignore the total disregard for the philosophy, intelligence, and courage inherent in the actual series.
Watching this movie pained me. Sacrificed on the altar of CGI our story is chopped up and delivered at such a frantic pace that I do not know how anyone who did not read the books could even understand it.
We have taken the brave swagger of Lyra and turned it into Pippi Longsticking. They jump from scene to scene with no regard to how they come together much less the chronology from the books. All important messages to be conveyed are either removed or diluted to a point where they are pretty much unrecognizable.
We have in this movie a simplified children's story that hardly an adult could understand due to its total mistreatment in the scattered telling. Instead of the profound we walk away from this movie with the thought "That kinda looked cool" running through our heads.
I am so sick of Hollywood catering to the religious wrong. How about some original thought? I am saddened and hope that this will be redone someday to do it justice because the actual series, "His Dark Materials" by Pullman is fantastic. and begs, no, demands to be told properly.
Jani H

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2008
The whole film felt really... boring. With all the Harry Potter's, Lord of the Rings etc, the audience is used to view excellence on the big screen when it comes to fantasy films. Nowadays it feels like all possible fantasybooks are coming to the cinemas. Haven't read the book but after seeing this heartless and static piece of "entertainment", I really don't wanna.

The cinematography lacks detail, the script is boring and tries to explain too much/too little. Some things doesn't need to be explained, leave it to the viewers imagination. The actors are pretty much disasterous, although there is a lot of talent here. What went wrong?

Fuck it, watch "Stardust" or "Spiderwick Chronicles" instead...
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