Summary of MovieThe Golden Compass is a 2007 fantasy-adventure film based on Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass in the U.S.), the first novel in Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials". The film was released on December 7, 2007 by New Line Cinema. Directed by Chris Weitz, it stars Dakota Blue Richards, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Sam Elliot, Ian McKellen, Ben Walker and Freddie Highmore. The project was announced in February 2002, following the success of recent adaptations of other fantasy epics, but troubles over the script and the selection of a director caused significant delays. At US$180 million, it was one of New Line's most expensive projects ever, and its middling success in the US contributed to New Line's February 2008 restructuring.
The story centers around the adventures of Lyra Belacqua, an orphan living in a parallel universe on a world that looks much like our own. In Lyra's world, a dogmatic ruling power called the Magisterium is conspiring to end tolerance and free inquiry. Poor, orphan and Gyptian children are disappearing at the hands of a group the kids call the Gobblers. Lyra discovers that Mrs. Coulter is running the Gobblers. Rescued by the Gyptians, Lyra joins them on a trip to the far north in search of the missing children.
Before its release, the film received criticism from secularist organisations and fans of His Dark Materials for the dilution of the religious elements from the novels, as well as from some religious organisations for the source material's anti-Catholic and atheistic themes. The studio ordered significant changes late in post-production, which Weitz later called a "terrible" experience. Although the film's visual effects (which Weitz has called the film's "most successful element") won both an Academy Award and a BAFTA, critical reception was mixed.