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The Golden Compass (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition) (2008)

Nicole Kidman , Daniel Craig , Chris Weitz  |  PG-13 |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (457 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Freddie Highmore, Ian Mckellen, Dakota Blue Richards
  • Directors: Chris Weitz
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: New Line Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (457 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JPNY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,713 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Golden Compass (Two-Disc Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Origins: Inside the award-winning novel and its journey to the screen
  • Behind the scenes: An in-depth look at the production and casting, including the search for Lyra
  • Lyra's World: Go deep into an amazing world of armored bears, daemons, and the alethiometer

Editorial Reviews

In a parallel universe where witches rule the skies and armoured bears are the bravest warriors, young Lyra Belacqua journeys from her home among the scholars at Oxford to the far North to save her best friend. Based on the first book in the Carnegie Medal-winning series, His Dark Materials.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent adaptation of a very complex book July 8, 2008
The Golden Compass is a very ambitious film based on a very ambitious book. If you haven't read the book, and you liked this movie, you must go read the book. That said, this film really did seem rushed and a lot of the appealing aspects of the book are left out. However, most of what they changed made sense to me (like switching the order of events at Svalbard and Bolvangar) and made the flow of the movie work better.

My main problem with this movie is the same one I had with David Lynch's Dune: You really wouldn't know what's going on unless you've read the book. I saw the movie before I read the book, but my wife, who was watching it with me, had just finished the trilogy and she was able to explain a lot of what I was seeing - much like when I watch Dune with someone who hasn't read the book.

So in the end, The Golden Compass suffers from being too complex and fast-paced in order to do justice to the book it's based on. Yes, I liked the movie a lot (enough to buy it for my library), and it inspired me to read the fantastic novels, but those who haven't read the book may be confused by what they're seeing.

I wholeheartedly recommend this movie, but I really recommend reading the book first to get everything out of it.
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181 of 235 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fight for Free Will December 7, 2007
The special effects and the cinematography of "The Golden Compass" are wonderful, but it's the subtext that really shines through, making for one of the most unique, fascinating, and entertaining fantasy films of recent memory. Just as it is in the film, the plot of Philip Pullman's original novel suggested that free will was kept under strict control. The film brings this idea to the surface and allows the audience to analyze it; in a parallel universe--in which a person's soul is separate and physically represented by an animal--a ruthless organization called the Magisterium tries to enforce rules against free will. Anyone who challenges its authority will be condemned as a heretic. Because they wanted to ensure total compliance, the Magisterium sought to destroy every last alethiometer, or golden compass--a magical, watch-like mechanism that literally tells the truth by pointing at strange symbols.

The one alethiometer that survived is now in the possession of Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), a college professor who defies the Magisterium by confirming the existence of dust. I'm not referring to the allergy-inducing particles that settle on ordinary surfaces; I'm referring to the magical substance that's somehow related to a rift between their universe and ours. Because this has put him at odds with the Magisterium, he gives the alethiometer to his orphaned niece, Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), a young girl raised by the professors at a university. Lyra, who absolutely hates being called a lady, is clever, bold, and incredibly headstrong, with an adventurous spirit that occasionally gets her into trouble. Her spirit--or daemon, as referred to by the characters--is Pan (voiced by Freddie Highmore), who hasn't quite decided which animal form to take.
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62 of 79 people found the following review helpful
Not being one who seeks out the seemingly endless line of Harry Potter/Narnia/Lord of the Rings tropes (a little computer generated monster realm goes a long way), THE GOLDEN COMPASS came somewhat as a pleasant surprise. Yes, this is still a fantasy film, but the emphasis is more on stylish creation of various animals (in the forms of 'daemons' that accompany children as their souls, morphing into various animal life at will) than tiresome explosions and flying beasties.

Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) is clearly the star of this adventure that explores the possibility of other, parallel worlds whose interaction with the world as we know it is controlled by various groups of good guys and bad guys, all seeking the source of secrecy contained in a Golden Compass that can only be read by a single girl - Lyra, a poor child living in the presence of scholars. Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) places the Golden Compass in Lyra's knowing hands and heads off to the far North to investigate the element that binds all life together - Dust. The tale is set in motion by the enigmatic Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman) who gains Lyra's confidence and offers to take her to the great North. All manner of adventures occur on the journey - friends of Lyra's are threatened to be separated from their various daemons in the cruel hands of the bad guys, Lyra's encounter with a witch Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green), her assistance from a friendly astronaut (Sam Elliott) and an armored bear - and with all fantasies, good prevails - or does it? Tune in for the very obvious next installment.

The pleasures are many, not the least of which are the voices and changing forms of the little animal daemons. The cast is excellent and the whole movie sails with yet another beautiful musical score by Alexandre Desplat. It is a nice diversion, but you have to love fantasy. Grady Harp, May 08
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Visually Stunning But Lacks a Compelling Story May 3, 2008
"The Golden Compass" has everything that would make a great fantasy film - great cast including Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and a fresh talent Dakota Blue Richards, plus great visual effects for which the film went on to win the Oscar. But one sad thing is the film itself doesn't have magic. It lacks a compelling story that would make its audiences willing to share the adventures with the heroine.

The film follows the story of the strong-minded young girl Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) living among Oxford scholars. While her uncle Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig) travels to find out the truths of magical particles "Dust," Lyra finds herself in the middle of the fierce struggle involving beautiful and commanding Mrs. Coulter (Nicole Kidman). And young Lyra is yet to know that the results of the battles may determine the fate of her world and ours too.

Set in the parallel universe where everyone has his/her own "daemons," "The Golden Compass" centers on Lyra and her long journey to the North. The film has a variety of supporting characters including cowboy aeronaut Lee Scoresby (Sam Shepherd) and great armoured polar bear Iorek Byrnison (voiced by Ian McKellen). Unfortunately, however, we have little time to know these characters. Gorgeous Eva Green appears as green-eyed witch Serafina Pekkala, but she has little to do in the story. And if you blink your eyes, you may miss Christopher Lee.

Sometimes "The Golden Compass" seems only providing the backgrounds for its subsequent films and has forgotten to tell its own story. Lyra remains attractive, and so is Mrs. Coulter, thanks to the superb performances from Richards and Kidman, but there is no character development.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars They cut off the ending! They changed scenes Around! Blurted...
Where to begin? We'll just be brief and say that this was a perfect example of how marketing and action movie mania ruins the greatest books. Read more
Published 8 hours ago by mlw
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Fantasy
I love films that make you laugh, cry and teach you old fashioned values. This one is just that with all the beautiful animation you can stand. Read more
Published 3 days ago by D. Garnett
2.0 out of 5 stars It's Not At All Like The Book
Mildly entertaining, but with none of the subtlety and ambiguity that make the books so good.

In some movies, changes to the plot are either necessary for space, or some... Read more
Published 3 days ago by your basic user
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Wonderful movie fir entire family, action and fantastic visual effects. Everyone will enjoy, real great story line. I was hoping for a sequel.
Published 20 days ago by libbyangel
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste 2 hours of your time
Good movie until the abrupt end! We thought that there was about a half hour left, but the movie just ended.
Published 1 month ago by greg
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie's a Rare Treat!
I love the combination of science fiction and fairy tale in this movie. My one complaint is that it ended with the hint of a sequel which never happened. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kathryn Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars great product. love it. just what I needed. couldn't ask for better....
great product. love it. just what I needed. couldn't ask for better. worth every penny. best of the best. perfect.
Published 1 month ago by Jeffrey Korn
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite movie
I enjoy this movie for its fantiful take on science, religion & technology. The series continues into the topic of inter-dimensional travel, which it a pretty cool theory. Love it!
Published 1 month ago by Efrem Valentin
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good
This movie was a bit to much for me seven year olds and a little poorly done. The Sifi they loved but they could not quit foliow the entire story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Joseph
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Oh yeah. "Reviewing" movies is... subjective... but I will risk it... This is a really well told, compelling story with an incredible cast. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K Young
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48 reviews of this, and it doesn't release for 3 months
To people who have found something -- a book, a movie, whatever -- that so engages them that they want to share their thoughts and feelings with other people who might have been so moved, you cavil and whinge and urge them to "get a life." You yourself, however, are moved to post... Read more
Apr 27, 2008 by ari180 |  See all 5 posts
Platinum 2 disc versus single disc
Hi Peter, there's a good review of The Golden Compass at DVD Verdict (; it's for the bluray edition but the *many* extra features described apply to the platinum edition in question. My favorite (but dvdverdict's not far behind) site for reviews of dvds/dvd bonuses plus... Read more
May 4, 2008 by T. Borras |  See all 4 posts
anyone own the DVD?
The item number, according to their website, is NN1764. You can find it at, or by doing a Google search for "Noble Collections Alethiometer". Hope that helps.

P.S.: $195!!! Good lord that's an expensive collector's item. I want one. ;-)
Jul 8, 2008 by Damion F. Chaplin |  See all 2 posts
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