The Golden Compass is a snowbound mystical-whizbang kiddie ride that hovers somewhere between the loopy and the lugubrious.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Hampered by its fealty to the book and its madly rushed pace.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
It certainly looks wonderful, with epic dash and a terrific central performance from Nicole Kidman, who may come to dominate our children's nightmares.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
Disappoints with its lack of character development and convoluted storytelling.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
The movie simply delivers too many colorfuls for its own good, none of whom establish a true emotional identity, and thus it isn't moving, it's busy.
Stephen Hunter - Washington Post
With all its hesitations and half-measures, The Golden Compass kindled something this critic hasn't felt in years: a burning thirst to see the sequel.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
In drawing and quartering much of the novel's intent, [Screenwriter/Director] Weitz ends up with a film that feels not just unfinished but undone.
Michelle Orange - Village Voice
Represents the year's biggest gamble -- and it delivers the year's biggest and most ambitious fantasy.
Jack Mathews - New York Daily News
Vagueness colors all, banishing emotional connections in the process.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Weitz's film is short, punchy and efficient, and it's full of engaging spectacle.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
The carefully crafted look, in which fabulous fantasy mingles with hand-woven sweaters, offers a visual feast. The acting is impeccable from performers to voices.
Nancy Churnin - Dallas Morning News
Why is it so joyless?
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
A darker, deeper fantasy epic than the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia or the Potter films. It springs from the same world of quasi-philosophical magic, but creates more complex villains and poses more intriguing questions.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
For now, The Golden Compass can stand on its own, as a standard-issue but still glorious adventure.
Tasha Robinson - Chicago Tribune
An innocuous, passably entertaining effects extravaganza.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Visually, The Golden Compass is dazzling, hopscotching from hallowed halls of academe to the Nordic tundra, from luxe manors to creepy, sci-fi-like facilities. The effects couldn't be better.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The action is crisply paced, the cast is committed to playing it straight, and if the script is pulling its punches, that doesn't weaken the story's headlong energy.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
A mishmash of half-baked ideas, loud special-effects and disjointed imagery.
Adam Graham - Detroit News
The Golden Compass: controversial statement on free will vs. religious oppression or disjointed, hard-to-follow fantasy-action flick for kids? Let's go with the latter.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
The prevailing tone is cold, which has nothing to do with the frigid settings of the second half, and the pic doesn't invite the viewer to enthusiastically enter into this new dramatic realm.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
The best you can say about The Golden Compass is that it's merely the second-dullest Nicole Kidman/Daniel Craig film this year.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
"Free will" and "reason" go to war with "dogma" and "blind obedience" in The Golden Compass, the cryptic and striking new film based on the fantasy novels of Philip Pullman.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
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.
Geoff Pevere - Toronto Star
This year's big holiday fantasy movie, The Golden Compass, is not as charming as the Harry Potter series or as spectacular as the Lord of the Rings movies, but it has something else to offer: ideas.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
This is the kind of movie that was made by throwing dollars at stuff, as opposed to using imagination, thought or even just common sense.
Stephanie Zacharek - Salon.com
The Golden Compass is a tepid, jumbled Hollywood fable whose final message seems to amount to little more than 'Follow your dreams,' or worse, 'Stay tuned for the sequel.'
Dana Stevens - Slate
Writer/director Chris Weitz brings a style that is more obligatory than deft. Constrained by a rushed feel and too little character development, this movie never seems to flow quite right.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
The blend of live action, CG and visual effects is superb, making what must have been a technological nightmare look easy as pie.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Tickle Me Elmo is more subversive.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
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.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
[An] ultimately satisfying and successful version of the opening volume of the celebrated His Dark Materials trilogy.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Scott A. Mantz - Scott Mantz' Movie Reviews
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Hank Sartin - Time Out
Dave White - Movies.com
Frank Wilkins - Frank's Reel Reviews
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
An engaging fantasy adventure that, albeit no masterpiece, is hardly the disaster one might have imagined.
Steve Biodrowski - ESplatter
I realize that when you make a book into a movie you cannot include every single detail, but it seems like Weitz purposely tried to take all of the magic out of the story.
Adam Tobias - Watertown Daily Times
This plot may sound somewhat ludicrous on paper, but Pullman has created a logical, well-thought-out world that Weitz has brilliantly translated to the big screen.
Alonso Duralde - MSNBC
This kid film noir touching on magic dust substance abuse, cranky clerics, worrisome wizards, goth grownup child abusers and computer-generated homicidal polar bear throat slashers, is less likely to dazzle the senses than exhaust minds of all ages.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
...if I hadn't liked Pullman's books so much, I probably would have liked this movie version more than I did.
John J. Puccio - DVDTown.com
John J. Puccio - Movie Metropolis
Will it be enough to satisfy fans of Philip Pullman's widely read 'His Dark Materials' trilogy? Hard to say. But for the uninitiated this is an engaging adventure, even when Chris Weitz's screenplay lacks the compelling clarity of Pullman's prose.
Rossiter Drake - San Francisco Examiner
Sam Elliott shows up as a cowboy, who would normally be a pick-me-up, but with Golden Compass I just wanted to find my direction home.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
The Golden Compass should be fun, but it rarely is. It should sweep you away, but it rarely does. For a film suffused with magic, it is, regrettably, far from magical.
Brandon Fibbs - Colorado Springs Gazette
No, I didn't read the novel before seeing the film, and nothing in this shimmering disaster made me want to read it, either. Made me hate polar bears, and I used to love the darned things, so that's saying something.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
Read this review, skip this movie, and instead read the excellent books. Poor Dakota Blue Fanning is the perfect Lyra in a terrible adaptation.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
A beautiful, thought-provoking fantasy film.
Wesley Lovell - Oscar Guy
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
Lyra surpasses the timid drone of Pan's Labyrinth or the Pevensies' do-gooder sap, she's brave, smart, and the best liar in the universe.
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
This Compass points to the end of a would-be franchise.
Christian Toto - Washington Times
Suggesting at once Mrs. Coulter's devotion to her Magisterial mission, her fears of soulful and sensual embodiment, and yes, her own split self, her slap-and-hug of her damon all but stops the film's action.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
koyrastika amihani kai sygkehymeni kritiki sto thriskeytiko systima, den parehei oyte kata dianoia arketo allothi gia toys ano ton 16 na asholithoyn idiaitera me aytin tin yperparagogi, poy ehei aytapates megaleioy tin ora poy pashei sto rythmo kai ti syn
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Deus ex machina ... is the only driving force.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
The Golden Compass is an entertaining blend of feisty pre-teen girl heroine, CGI animals both adorable and fierce, and the usual suspects on the human side ...
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
The Golden Compass bears the brush strokes of a film produced by a committee of people intent on trying to make some money rather than a good movie.
Dan Jardine - Apollo Guide
All the pieces combined feel like nothing more than a barrage of exquisitely crafted names
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
My devotion to Jesus and love for my fellow man have been replaced with profound emptiness and contempt, and I have The Golden Compass to thank for it.
Pete Vonder Haar - Film Threat
Said Ridley Scott: 'We were contemplating talking animals in Blade Runner, but we wanted to hold off Sean Young's descent into madness at least until the end of principal shooting.'
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
[Kidman's Mrs. Coulter is] a movie villain worth remembering -- in fact, if she were any more evil, she would have to change her name from Marisa to Ann.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Like every other story that pits the Haves against the Have-Nots.
Jon Popick - Planet Sick-Boy
In adapting Pullman's novel, Weitz jettisons its distinctive atmosphere and complex (and controversial) theological background and decides instead to whip through the plot.
Jeffrey Westhoff - Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)
...the cast is deadly serious, bringing each character to life and giving the audience a reason to cheer or boo them and their actions.
Michael A. Smith - Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Come back, "Eragon"--all is forgiven!
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
'The Golden Compass' concludes in a way that left me feeling teased and cheated.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Patchy and strangely unengaging, The Golden Compass is impressive in scale but disappoints by its cluttered storytelling and lack of heart.
Urban Cinefile Critics - Urban Cinefile
Unlike most fantasy aimed at younger audiences, there's a disturbing undercurrent at work here that imbues the film with a weightiness that's unusual in such works.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
If you haven't read the books, it can be like wandering into a stuffy church service in a cathedral for the first time.
Donald Munro - Fresno Bee
For a film that supposedly promotes Atheism, at least it's more entertaining than last year's Christian allegory The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Exciting and entertaining, although the complicated array of characters makes it sometimes hard-going.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
...the film possesses few attributes designed to draw in (and hold the interest of) neophytes.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Although this might be a tad convoluted and distant for the younger set, The Golden Compass is still a truly fantastical journey filled with wondrous imagery.
Kit Bowen - Hollywood.com
Despite all the controversy and hullabaloo, this is too incoherent and full of plot holes to lure impressionable children down some primrose path to atheism
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
Wanting to appeal to a broad audience %u2014 especially young teens %u2014 is more than fine. It's admirable. But soulful, philosophical 13-year-olds do exist. They do! And they can even handle a religious discussion with lots of words involved.
Gina Carbone - Seacoast Newspapers (NH/Maine)
I heard the dialogue, I saw the images, but I never got into the story. I was always aware that I was sitting in a theater watching a movie.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Those seeking a treatise on religion, or against religion, will have to look hard to find it in "The Golden Compass," a convoluted but eye-catching fantasy.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Some of the material is wildly imaginative, some of it is just kinda silly. But it all looks good, and the kids are likable, [and] Kidman makes for an intriguing villain.
Richard Roeper - Ebert & Roeper
What I enjoyed, besides the visual feast, is its story line clarity, commanding characters both human and not, originality of atmosphere and tensions worthy of good drama.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Covering too much ground in too little time leaves the film feeling shallow and inchoate.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
An undeniably great-looking movie that loses its way.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
An entertaining film with plenty of action and interesting characters.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Performances lend heft and humanity to the overriding whimsy.
Jeanne Aufmuth - Palo Alto Weekly
Golden Compass lacks any real fantastic flair. It is a decent enough feature, but is short of that spell-binding quality that will allow audiences to embrace it.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
It packs enough fun and fantasy to keep the kid in you entertained and engaged. And we can always hope that the sequel will try to tackle some of the fascinating and more complex ideas from the book.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Makes bland with the subversive mythological and religious subject matter... .
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
The Golden Compass is an enjoyable, albeit confusing diversion.
Gary Brown - Houston Community Newspapers
Compass isn't well-made. The heroine is a pill, the issues are jumbled (maybe because of the attempt not to offend potential moviegoers) and the storytelling is clunky.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
In the end The Golden Compass is another expensive mishmash of CGI 'magic' and widescreen spectacle: well-acted, as you would expect, but more or less empty of anything to provoke the curiosity and intelligence of a young audience.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
While The Golden Compass doesn't have time to clarify all the book's complexities it's as welcome a retreat from this old England as Hogwarts, Narnia or Middle Earth.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
With the lack of a sure hand behind the camera, the film's capable cast is left stranded in front of it.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
A pretty good fantasy -- with different bits of Potter and Jules Verne and Narnia all mixed up together into something new.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Chris Weitz' film is a well-executed, but not especially warm adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel.
Todd Gilchrist - IGN Movies
The Golden Compass ultimately fails as a film in its broad strokes and inadequate scene development.
Deborah Day - Premiere Magazine
Almost nothing remains at the end - not a glimmer of mystical inquisition, not a teasing loose-end of space-time speculation - to lure a Pullmanite towards a sequel.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Thrilling, moving, visually spot-on and featuring a great cast, this is another impressive fantasy film, although one that rushes headlong through many of the important nuances of its source material.
Daniel Etherington - Film4
An aura of disappointment takes hold midway into Golden Compass and becomes undeniable by the finish.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
There's just too much information crammed into two hours, and Weitz directs it all as if he's waist-deep in quicksand and grandiose special effects.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Weitz's movie remains ultimately remote. It ends mid-adventure, so blatantly setting the stage for a sequel that the whole thing suddenly feels like a preamble.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
A crushing disappointment for fans and a scuppered opportunity for a cinematic event. That the first book has been so mishandled doesn't bode well for the (already greenlit) more complicated ones to come.
Olly Richards - Empire Magazine
Catholic pundits are half-right in proclaiming that watching The Golden Compass could be hazardous to children. It shows that even the most lyrical and challenging literary story can become a stupid, sloppy film.
Nick Rogers - State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
An entertaining start for this new series.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
...a gaudy dud...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
It's presented with such color and confidence that it's tough not to get swept up in the spectacle of it all.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical
Spotty but often effectively weird.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
This mediocre film that is heavy on computer-generated imagery adds up to little more than the Yawn-icles of Narnia.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
A decent -- if somewhat cursory -- adaptation of the popular children's fantasy adventure.
James O'Ehley - Sci-Fi Movie Page
An enormous scrap at the end, involving witches and warlocks, does little to illuminate, or leaven, this pudding.
James Christopher - Times [UK]
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.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Like its protagonists, The Golden Compass stands fundamentally isolated from its soul; unlike them, it hasn't the first idea where it left the bloody thing.
Rob Vaux - Flipside Movie Emporium
[A] magnificent slice of cinematic fantasy, perhaps the most perfect blending of live action and CGI ever...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
[Weitz] rapidly and intelligently opens up Pullman's world. Watching the film before reading the book transported me back to age 8, drinking in the movie of The Time Machine and growing fascinated by its vision of travel in a new dimension.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
...rushed like crazy, from one scene to another, introducing characters, spouting [forced] dialogue.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
...the decision to tame the darker implications of the film feels driven by commercial concerns rather than demands of storytelling.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
So much of the movie is just explanatory and expository dialogues and monologues. New characters, new concepts = more explanations. And lots of backstories.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
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.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
The problem is not that The Golden Compass has been stripped of its rabble-rousing anti-Christian content, though it surely has been. The problem is that the rest of it has been sterilized too.
Eugene Novikov - Film Blather
Posh fantasy...the film's dazzling imagery and serviceable story hustle along agreeably, if a bit dourly.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Approach this not as a lesson in the facts of life, just a bit of childish escapism.
Stella Papamichael - BBC
Beautiful to look at, but where's its heart?
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
... plays too innocent with its premise, seldom allows its characters to gain dimension, and all but ignores the looming instinct of the plot to abandon its innocence and begin discovering the dark little secrets of the writer's complex world.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
We hope that youth will take to heart this movie which calls us to be wary of all authoritarian institutions that stifle the soul and the spiritual search for truth.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Unlikely to fill theaters or to empty pews.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Like Lord Of The Rings and Chronicles Of Narnia it's a visual feast that transports you to an alternate world of jaw-dropping awe, unforgettable images and pure adventure.
Pete Hammond - Maxim
The Golden Compass never seems to follow a single thread for very long. Instead, it introduces new characters for Lyra to meet on her journey. Few make an impact, and one who does makes the wrong kind.
Carla Meyer - Sacramento Bee
Fans of the book may be thrilled to see it come to life but this tentative film demands a tougher minded, more confident sequel.
Nathaniel Rogers - Film Experience
Maybe we were all expecting too much. While competent, The Golden Compass joins that catalogue of so-so Narnia/Potter wannabes whose members include Lemony Snicket, Eragon and the recent Stardust.
Dean Essner - Daily Mirror [UK]
The Golden Compass can answer any question with the truth. (It's too bad they didn't ask it if this story would make a compelling movie.)
Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone - TheMovieChicks.com
Every character in The Golden Compass has a 'daemon', a talking animal sidekick who follows them everywhere. It's a neat idea -- I wished I had one sitting in the theater with me to explain what the heck was going on.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
There'll be plenty of time for metaphysics and deep thoughts later. The good news for parents is that this haste makes a complicated story into short-attention-span theatre, perfect for children.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Kidman's glittering villainess, gorgeous CG design and a bolshy, 11-year-old heroine can't entirely rescue this franchise gamble from a shuddering outcome. Not a failure by any stretch, but Compass leaves its future hanging in the balance.
Dean Essner - Total Film
Many charming elements, but they don't quite add up to a fulfilling whole. Enjoyed the bit about souls scampering alongside people in the form of animals.
Ross Anthony - Hollywood Report Card
It becomes impossible to care about what Lyra and her mates are doing when the dialogue is designed to do nothing but push you forward to the next film.
Brian Tallerico - The Deadbolt
Rather than saying, 'I wonder if the Magisterium is supposed to represent the modern Catholic church?,' say 'Wow! Two polar bears beating the shale out of each other. Cool!'
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
When the dust settles on the religion row The Golden Compass will surely be remembered as one of the best children's adventures of the year.
Dean Essner - Sun Online
Bland treatment of round one of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
Glenn Whipp - Los Angeles Daily News
It makes us wonder what all the fuss is about.
Paula Nechak - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Dean Essner - The Atlantic
There's plenty here to hang a franchise on.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
This adaptation is a gorgeous, overstuffed contender for the box-office crown of Harry Potter.
Chris Farnsworth - E! Online
For all the complicated backstory, weighty themes, action set pieces and fanciful production design, the film is oddly unengaging.
Maitland McDonagh - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Being afraid of the screen version of The Golden Compass is like being afraid of your shadow. The only ones with no faith are the filmmakers.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
There is enough fire in Dakota Blue Richards' first film performance to make you eager for the next installment in the series.
Bruce Newman - San Jose Mercury News
well paced, beautiful to watch
Rachel Gordon - Filmcritic.com
The actors can hardly move among all the computer graphics, much less express any emotion or spontaneity; there's no sense of wonder.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
...about as anti-God as The Chronicles of Narnia.
Josh Larsen - Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Ill Tempered Talking Polar Bears are the only elements of the film saving it from obscurity and failure
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
An auspicious and grandiose entertainment. Thoroughly immersive and genuinely wondrous.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
The Golden Compass does feature some dynamic special effects and CGI creatures that make it at least a visually entertaining piece of fantasy fare.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
Neophytes may be left in the dust for lack of narrative connections and clarifications, while Pullman admirers of all stripes may feel short-changed on mood and atmosphere.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
Sweeping, imaginative, epic, thrilling.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
An undemanding, blunt, simplified adaptation.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
The worst crime of a film like this is that not only is it retarded, it expects its audience to be retarded as well.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
Suffering from a bad case of kicking-off-a-franchise-itis.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
As a stand alone effort, something styled to entertain us now, The Golden Compass is incomplete.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
It has enough strong elements to make it endure as a family classic and leave us wanting more.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
With her intelligent and energetic performance, newcomer Dakota Blue Richards captures our interest as the spunky young heroine in The Golden Compass.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Top notch holiday season entertainment.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
By the last reel The Golden Compass has created a magical environment we believe in completely. It's a Herculean task that Weitz and his collaborators handle with seeming effortlessness, leaving us ready for more.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
The Golden Compass works up enough self-important gravitas to power the entire Lord of the Rings cycle. Weitz's deflatingly anticlimactic windup assures us there is more to come.
Jan Stuart - Newsday
Golden Compass is one wordy endeavor, but it gallops to satisfaction, rising above significant adaptation odds to form a semi-coherent, lively fantasia of monsters and warriors.
Brian Orndorf - OhmyNews.com
Light on plot and philosophy, it's heavy on CGI animals, particularly a spectacular showdown between two armored polar bears.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
The Golden Compass wraps things up in less than two hours -- zipping from one plot point to the next -- and it feels rather rushed as a result.
Peter T. Chattaway - Christianity Today
The toned-down movie version isn't so much anti-religion as it is anti-entertainment.
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
... this is one of Kidman's best performances in years, and she is perfectly, deliciously evil.
Kim Voynar - Cinematical
The Golden Compass does manage the job of bringing Philip Pullman's world to the screen. With luck, any future entries will try harder to get the job done right.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Certainly never boring, the film nevertheless feels too much like an introduction (and occasionally a discombobulated and less than emotionally engaging one at that) rather than a standalone piece of entertainment.
Jim Judy - Screen It!
There may be box-office gold from The Golden Compass, but panning for it while viewing is a real day at the mine.
David Elliott - San Diego Union-Tribune
There's an emptiness at the heart of The Golden Compass that all the visual pizzazz and star power in the world can't fill.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Weitz has the narrative leaping around frantically, managing to set up some interesting sequences but not much ongoing momentum.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Dean Essner - Atlantic
This series has promise, but The Golden Compass is a letdown.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
A movie with characters constantly explaining arcane concepts and only rarely doing anything about them.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
The film works splendidly. It's big-screen entertainment at its best.
Baz Bamigboye - Daily Mail [UK]
Is it any good? Definitively, yes. A beautifully made, spectacularly designed family movie, it dares to ask serious questions about good and evil, free will and adolescent sexuality.
Liz Hoggard - This is London
Put away your picket signs.
Kent Turner - Film-Forward.com
This is a classic case of eye candy that doesn't taste too good.
Danny Minton - Beaumont Journal
The rave meter does not point north, as this pic has just enough fantasy not to outlast its welcome.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
There's no sense of wonder in this frantic tour of wonderland, and Lyra escapes trouble so easily, there's little suspense.
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
All put together, [the awesome] elements do little to inspire awe. In spite of the fact that it's gorgeous, well-acted, and action-packed, The Golden Compass is emotionally inert.
Staci Layne Wilson - Buzzine Magazine
Theologically confused and culturally contrived, The Golden Compass is devoid of charm and mystery.
Armond White - New York Press
Writer-director Chris Weitz winnows down Philip Pullman's dense, unwieldy universe into a zippy, if not entirely thrilling, two hours.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
Fans of Philip Pullman's acclaimed novel The Golden Compass may not approve of this new film adaptation, but it can't be faulted for excitement.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
Chris Weitz dropped out of the film years ago because he thought he couldn't do this story justice. Turns out he was right; as a director he's competent but doesn't have 'sweeping epic' in him.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
Bland, bloodless and bereft of magic.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
Script feels rushed and is very short on character development ... most viewers will be baffled, feeling like they started at fourth or fifth episode in a ten-part production.
Steve Rhodes - Internet Reviews
jam-packed full of wonderful characters, magical landscapes and high adventure.
Sean McBride - Sean the Movie Guy
I feel about it roughly the same way I did about the book -- hard to get into until the armored bears show up, and then pretty awesome as long as the bears hang around.
Luke Y. Thompson - New Times
The action sequences are the only outstanding aspect of this less-than-golden adaptation, which is ultimately undermined by its strictly tinny storytelling.
Chad Greene - Boxoffice Magazine
The film was kind of a primer for a series that I will be happy to watch.
David Poland - Movie City News
Whether or not you've read the books you'll enjoy The Golden Compass on some level, but it feels rushed.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
Screenwriter/director Chris Weitz's spotty filmic adaptation never locates a throughline to the convoluted narrative.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Chris Weitz crams his story full of magical terms and concepts with a rapidity that leaves things confusing and thus meaningless.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
As a children's fable, the film lacks magic, due to Weitz's uninspired helming and uneven technical execution, but it's likable, moderately engaging and well-acted by Dakota Blue Richards and Nicole Kidman; too bad Daniel Craig has such a tiny part.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com