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Parents' Guide to

The Golden Compass

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Ambitious fantasy is too intense for young kids.

Movie PG-13 2007 113 minutes
The Golden Compass Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 13+

How is it that witches and demons are portrayed as the 'good guys' in this film? Dangerous!

It was an exceptionally made film. The music, acting, and cinematography are stunning. There is just one thing for the Christian viewer. The 'demons' and 'witches' are the good guys who save the day. People, demons and witches are NOT 'good guys'. If people feed the bears too much at National Parks, they each lose their fear of and respect for each other. The same is true of this. Portraying the demons and witches as 'harmless' and even worse, 'helpful', might cause our kids to open doors to a dangerous spiritual realm. We are missionaries in a country in which witchcraft and demonization is all too real. If you do decide to watch this movie with your kids, please use it as an opportunity to teach them discernment!!
1 person found this helpful.
age 18+

Morality Role Reversal

When my wife and I left the theater, we both remarked on how twisted and warped the sense of right and wrong was in this movie. The story was like a C.S. Lewis novel where the film was promoting the bad guys and vilifying the good guys. The antagonists of the film are a church-like organization trying to separate children from their inner demons, and the protagonists are liars helped by an army of witches (complete with pointy hats and brooms). With no exception I can think of, I disagreed with every moral choice the protagonist made that was shown to be good in the film. A truly disappointing film that is a stretch to see as anything but a pointed criticism of the Christian church specifically.

This title has:

Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (27 ):

The Golden Compass is heavy on plot. And with so much to cover, the editing between scenes can be choppy and the digital effects uneven. The most wonderful and cunning "effect" in the film is Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards). A 12-year-old girl surrounded by digitized creatures, spires, and sailing ships, Richards' Lyra is a singular delight, at once curious and stubborn, thoughtful and impetuous. Though she faces a series of daunting challenges that take her far from home, she remains brave, moral-minded, and smart -- a little girl much like the little girls who might be watching her on screen.

Fans of the books will notice many changes, and the characterizations of the repressive Magisterial villains may trouble those who worry about the movie's ostensible atheistic messages (Pullman has said repeatedly that he's not preaching one way or another). But all technical and philosophical complications aside, the film is buoyed by Lyra, who is more enchanting than any magic. When one adult tells her that "Sometimes you must do what others think best," she has the ready and reasonable answer, repeating what she's been taught: "I thought we were best if we were free to do as we please."

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