Reviewer's grade: A
Just in time for Christmas: a film to give bored religious nuts something to whine about! "The Golden Compass," based on the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by novelist Philip Pullman, is an exciting fantasy about a young girl named Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), her search for truth and her quest to save her uncle Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig, James Bond in the new "Casino Royale"), from hit men dispatched from the Magisterium, which is a sinister, quasi-religious authority that wants to make sure that Lyra "? who has the ability to read a magic truth-telling compass "? doesn't learn too much or come to her uncle's aide.
Lord Asriel is on a mission to investigate the sighting of "dust." The Magisterium, especially their leader, Marisa (Nicole Kidman), doesn't want anyone to talk about dust "? an energy that binds universes and consciousness "? and is working hard to make sure no one bothers with the pesky truth, and instead swallows their sanitized version of the universe.
Beautiful and poignant with amazing effects, "The Golden Compass" will enthrall any child or adult who doesn't let real-life Magisteriums decide what's good art. PG-13