Lyra Belacqua is an orphan who spends her life at Jordan College, Oxford, where she plays with local boys and torments the campus professors. However, when Lyra overhears a plot against her uncle, Lord Asriel, she quickly finds herself in over her head. Her saving grace is a golden compass, which give her, and only her, the answers to any dying question. Entering into a new world with a mysterious substance called Dust, Lyra's curiosity is roused and she is forced to stand courageously against the darkest of demons.
Filled with unbelievable sights and astonishing special effects The Golden Compass scores on looks alone; however the story is lacking in many ways but saves itself in the end with a courageous bear fight, successfully transforming the first chapter of the amazing trilogy from Philip Pullman to the big screen.
One thing I have to commend the film for was its special effects and cinematography. The landscapes were brilliant, mixing colors and texture to provide a very "˜eye pleasing' film. In addition the special effects of the animals were absolutely amazing. From the magnificent flying ships to the astonishing polar bear fight everything was dead on creating an eye opening experience for one and all.
In addition to the great computer work I have to say that I was impressed with Dakota Blue Richards who plays the lead Lyra Belacqua. Not only did the girl match toes with the talented Nicole Kidman but she stole the film from right under her nose. The future looks bring for this up and coming actress and she makes for the perfect feature in the film.
But that is about as good as it gets. The story was overall mediocre as the studio felt it imperative to make changes from the book based on the ridiculous number of boycotts that have been going around pertaining to its atheist views and as a result the film suffered. On top of that there were some disappointing performances offered up by some of the older, more established actors, just served as a disappointment more than anything else.
Lastly I have to say that the film is not for kids and should not be compared to the likes of The Chronicles of Narnia. Instead it should be put up against The Lord of the Rings; however that will never be done as it is seen as certain box office suicide.
All in all the film isn't is pretty good. Filled with some fun fights, witty dialogue and a great performance from its lead it thrives in all the right places. However, its potential was much greater than the outcome and for any true fan of the novels that is a major disappointment in and of itself.