This film is TERRIBLE. And it's a shame because, even though I haven't read the book, it's clear that there's some interesting source material here. It is also equally clear that the director/screenwriter Chris Weitz is a moron. Also, the cinematography, design and overall look of the film is gorgeous and it's just WASTED here.
The scenes are disjointed, trite, have no flow from one scene to another, and little relevance to the overall plot, if you can even figure out what that is supposed to be.
20 minutes into the movie you get a scene between two kids on a roof talking that basically goes like this:
|Roger: So, kids have been disappearing. |
Lyra: Yes, someone should do something about that.
TWENTY MINUTES IN! Do we see kids being abducted? NO! Maybe you should start with that, instead of a pointless mudball fight? MAYBE if the main adventure of your film is the rescue of missing children, you should show children, I don't know, MISSING.
This piece of schlock is also full of the following kind of nonsense:
A) Sage Person #1 says something wise to Protagonist.
B) Protagonist then uses advice in VERY NEXT SCENE. Not a callback to something in the beginning of the movie, but literally, the next scene they use the advice to solve something. RIDICULOUS.
The film kinda feels like a video game walk-through cheat sheet. The problems aren't really problems because you know all the solutions, so you're just basically watching the video game unfold to admire the graphics and see how it ends.