Wow, what a crapfest is THE GOLDEN COMPASS! Take a very popular novel, add some classic British actors and some amazing visual effects and mix. Get a completely incoherent film with terrible child actors and plot that Sherlock Holmes couldn't explain. There is probably a great movie to be made from this book, but this sure isn't it. Perhaps the worst thing is that sitting through 2 hours of incomprehensible silliness has no payoff... the movie has no ending as it is the first book in a series.
Avoid at ALL cost.