The Golden Compass

A promising concept and huge budget can’t hide the helpless direction of this film. Chris Weitz has no sense of timing, pacing or suspense whatsoever, jumping from one seemingly unrelated event to the next without warning or cohesion. The lead child actress can’t quite manage her role, and the supporting cast is clueless for the most part. Even uber-cool Daniel Craig comes across as flat and boring. Aside from Nicole Kidman’s quality performance as the sympathetic villain, the armored polar bear on steroids is the only interesting thing in the movie (and even that character grows tiresome).

One might argue that this is a children’s movie – the screenplay and direction are certainly juvenile – and thus shouldn’t be judged so harshly, but as it’s a bit violent for little children it fails to fill any niche whatsoever.