I was quite excited by the trailer for this, having enjoyed the book it's based on, Northern Lights. But I have to say I was disappointed. The girl playing the main character Lyra was annoying and the other child actors weren't much cop either. The special effects were OK, but there was a lot of CGI blur on them. Fortunately, my fave character Iorek Byrnison, the armoured bear, was well-rendered, and Sam Elliott, as Texan Aeronaut Lee Scoresby, underplayed the character perfectly.
But the rest of it was a mess. A neutered Lord Asriel (admittedly well-acted by Daniel Craig) is turned into the good guy instead of the ambiguous and dangerous character he is in the book. The altered ending playing towards this change in plot. The script for most of the film jumped around - suffering Potteritis (after the way the first couple of Harry Potter films failed to introduce anyone and assumed you'd read the books and knew who the hell everyone was), and there were plenty of 'revealing moments', when a character decides to tell his/her entire backstory for the benefit of the cinema audience. And, yeah, Nicole Kidman's character seems dangerous, but considering she's meant to be hypnotically alluring, she seems strangely sexless in this.
And there were continuity issues. One minute Iorek is bounding through the snow uninhibited by his armour. The next, he suited up and fighting off people. Where did he get his armour from? It's that kind of thing that's just irritating.
So all in all, a disappointing rating of 5/10 - catch it on telly in Christmas 2009.
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