Tagline: "There are worlds beyond our own — the compass will show the way."
Translation: We're going to turn your kids into atheists!
The Verdict: Even though the trailer for the Golden Compass clearly lays out its major plot points, its language is vague enough (here's a hint: the Magesterium = the Church) that audiences unfamiliar with Philip Pullman's series of God-killing fantasy novels will be left thinking "Hey, look, talking animals and armored polar bear fights!" rather than "Hey, organized religion is a sham that is crippling human development!" Though this is mostly a show of self-serving tact on the part of the studio, we can't help but wonder if the film is truly intended as a sneak attack on the hordes of Christmas-loving families hitting the multiplexes this holiday season looking for a simple, theologically unchallenging epic in the vein of Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, and not, say, a weird blend of The God Delusion, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and The Wire in fantasy movie drag. We sure hope so! Go Hollywood! —Matthew Perpetua