For some strange reason, a theater in the middle of the cornfield in Indiana had a sneak preview of the Golden Compass, and being a fan of the books I decided to take advantage of it. I wasn't sure what I was getting into, as there seems to be a rather large glut of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings wannabes crowding theaters now and in the near future. This version of the Golden Compass beautifully brings the books to life and was very pleasing to watch with rather nice visuals. The acting is quite good, especially from the young lead, and the animation makes one wonder what they can't do with computers these days. The only true complaint I have about this movie is that it is difficult to understand and follow if one is not familiar with the books. Some scenes at the beginning seems disconnected, but after the halfway point the story comes together. The Golden Compass series is rather dark in its nature, and I'm glad that the movie didn't pull any punches with the supernatural combat (which is awesome, specifically when the witches and bears do battle). Some liberty is taken with the story as expected, and many church references are renamed, but the quality of the story never suffers. I recommend the movie and I look forward to seeing the rest of the trilogy completed.