The Golden Compass Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.