As was the case with Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, this movie is intended for a young audience, even more so than the book. I've read The Golden Compass a few years ago, so I can't say with certainty if memory serves me right. Still, it looks as though the producers followed the essence of Pullman's novel. With one major exception being the absence of the Church. The Magisterium and Oblation Board are present, but the Church is not. . .
Visually, the movie is great. A neat soundtrack sets the mood, and the actors do a wonderful job to plunge the viewers into the tale. Kudos to the young actress playing the role of Lyra, for she is a perfect fit for the role.
All in all, a nice family movie for the Holidays. And you also get to see the trailer for the upcoming Narnia movie as well. . .