12-year-old Lyra (Richards) lives in a world similar to Victorian England and ruled by the church-like Magisterium, who seem dead set on controlling the minds of everyone in the world and eliminating free will. When best friend Roger (Walker) disappears, Lyra, alongside a strange assortment of allies including a talking, armored bear (McKellan) and a pilot with a Texas accent (Elliot), travels north to rescue him, despite the Magisterium and their ice-queen agent Ms. Coulter's(Kidman) best efforts to stop her. The all-star cast is exceptional, but the story may confound without the book as a roadmap. The film stirred a mild controversy because of the anti-religion themes of the book upon which it was based (the first installment of Philip Pullman's popular British fantasy trilogy), even though writer/director Weitz mostly cut those parts from the movie.
Christian's Need Not Fear This Movie! SwineHerder at 2008-06-11 17:12:36
As a self described and practicing bible thumping Christian - I can see where folks of my ilk would be uncomfortable with this movie. Having not read the books (yet), I wasn't sure if the Magisterium represented the church or the government.
I loved it! The underlying theme was very much in favor of science, but so what?
Chill Out and enjoy the movie for it's entertainment value. We need not fear it!
Can't wait for the next installment and I"m going to read the book.