Critics Consensus

Critical Consensus: The Golden Compass Loses Its Way

Plus, Juno and Atonement are Certified Fresh.

by | December 6, 2007 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got the first installment of the His Dark
The Golden Compass
, starring
Nicole Kidman,
Blue Richards
, and
Daniel Craig. What do the critics have to say?

The highly-anticipated
The Golden Compass
is the first of Philip
Pullman’s novels to hit the screen. It has a veritable Murderer’s Row of acting
talent (Nicole Kidman,
Sam Elliott,
Eva Green,
Daniel Craig,
Ian McKellen,
, Derek Jacobi,
Ian McShane,
Christopher Lee, and
Blue Richards
). And critics say it’s got visual flash to spare. Unfortunately, they
also largely feel Compass is a little too cold to work any kind of spell.
The film tells the story of a 12-year-old girl attempting to save her friend
from the strange, malevolent Gobblers, and finds herself in a realm of mystery
and fantastical beings. Pundits say the wondrous production design and
way-too-brisk plot overwhelms the characters, and delivers little of the
intended sense of wonder. At 45 percent on the Tomatometer, The Golden
doesn’t quite shine.

But does it know the way to San Jose?

Also opening this week in limited release: Mexican import The Violin,
about three generations of musicians/guerillas, is at 100 percent on the
Tomatometer; Juno, starring
Ellen Page and
Michael Cera
in the comic tale of a sharp teen coping with an unplanned pregnancy, is
Certified Fresh at 92 percent (read our Page interview here);
, a period drama about star-crossed
lovers starring
Keira Knightley and
James McAvoy,
is Certified Fresh at 88 percent (read our McAvoy and director Joe Wright interviews here and here, respectively);
Billy the Kid
, a doc about a teen dealing with
behavior issues in rural Maine, is at 82 percent;

‘Tis Autumn — the Search
for Jackie Paris
, a doc about an elusive, velvet-voiced jazz singer, is at
71 percent; Grace is Gone, starring
John Cusack as a man who picks up the
pieces after his wife is killed in Iraq, is at 69 percent;
Man in the Chair
about the bond between an elderly film crew member and a young cinephile
starring Christopher Plummer, is at 57 percent;
Paul Schrader‘s
The Walker,
starring Woody Harrelson as a D.C. socialite in the midst of some criminal
intrigue, is at 56 percent;
The Amateurs
, starring
Jeff Bridges in the
story of a group of suburbanites who make an adult film, is at 22 percent;
Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding
, based on the semi-improvisational off-Broadway comedy,
is at 20 percent; and
Guy Ritchie‘s
Revolver, starring Jason Statham as
an expert gambler who goes up against a crime boss, is at 15 percent.

"When I put headphones on my tummy, should I play Pavement or Archers of Loaf?”

Finally, we’d like to give props to
Rocdahut for staying awake long enough to
come closest to guessing Awake‘s 16 percent Tomatometer. I guess this
gives you a good reason to, um, rock the hut, Rocdahut.

Recent Keira Knightly Movies:
8% — Silk (2007)
46% — Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
54% —
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
85% — Pride and Prejudice (2005)
73% — Pure (2005)