The Golden Compass

  • PG
  • Chris Weitz (2007)
  • US / UK
  • 108 min
The Golden Compass
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of fantasy novels already has a place beside the work of JK Rowling (Harry Potter) and CS Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia); it's only fitting, then, that it has also made the leap from page to screen. The first instalment introduces us to 12-year-old heroine Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) who lives in a magical, neo-Victorian Oxford somewhere in a parallel universe. It's a realm dominated by the all-powerful Magisterium (led by Derek Jacobi) and populated by daemon familiars, flying witches and evil child kidnappers. Darker and more complex than the Harry Potter series, this ambitious family movie occasionally feels rather muddled as it struggles with the novels' intricate, philosophical bent. Director Chris Weitz (About a Boy) rallies with a sprawling battle in the Arctic, an imposing CGI polar bear (voiced by Ian McKellen) and an icy turn from Nicole Kidman as evil Magisterium agent Mrs Coulter. As the beginning of a planned trilogy, it certainly whets the appetite for more.

Plot Summary

Fantasy adventure based on the first in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy of novels, starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue Richards. In a parallel universe where souls take animal form, orphan girl Lyra has been brought up among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. It is there she overhears her uncle, Lord Asriel, talk of a microscopic particle that can pass between different worlds.

Cast and crew


Marisa Coulter
Nicole Kidman
Lyra Belacqua
Dakota Blue Richards
Lee Scoresby
Sam Elliott
Serafina Pekkala
Eva Green
Lord Asriel
Daniel Craig
Farder Corum
Tom Courtenay
Magisterial Emmissary
Derek Jacobi
Ben Walker
Freddie Highmore
Fra Pavel
Simon McBurney
Iorek Byrnison
Ian McKellen
John Faa
Jim Carter
Ma Costa
Clare Higgins
Master of Jordan College
Jack Shepherd
Ragnar Sturlusson
Ian McShane
First High Councilor
Christopher Lee
Second High Councilor
Edward De Souza
Kristin Scott Thomas
Kathy Bates
Mrs Lonsdale
Magda Szubanski


Chris Weitz

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 7 Dec 2007
Certificate PG