The Golden Compass
This was supposed to be the next fantasy franchise, like Shrek, Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. ‘Fraid not. The books, which I haven’t read, were popular, and apparently thought-provoking. I may even read them myself, as it seems they strongly attack organized religion, which is always worthwhile, in my opinion. But the problem here is simply too much story and not enough time. There was so much going on, which needed so much explaining, that I never had enough time to develop a real rooting interest in any of the myriad sides, and often didn’t know which side was which, especially in the murky final battle. Visually, it is way beyond stunning … but what isn’t, these days? Much imagination went into the set and creature design. In particular, every character in every scene has an animal “daemon” accompanying him or her, and that is a daunting task. I can’t say I disliked the movie, but it never really caught fire for me.