The Golden Compass is a movie, based on the book by Philip Pullman, tells the tale of an alternate universe where people’s souls inhabit animal spirits, called daemons.
I found the story fascinating, a good tale. I can understand why some would not like it from the religious standpoint, although in this first movie in the epic, I wouldn’t have noticed the anti-christian elements as much if I hadn’t heard of the controversy before-hand. Of course, all the controversy did, was increase the publicity of the movie, so more went to see it than might have otherwise.
Here‘s a review of the anti-religion, anti-god themes in Pullman’s work. One quote taken from the Los Angeles Times:
In “His Dark Materials,” Pullman’s criticisms of organized religion come across as anti-authoritarian and anti-ascetic rather than anti-doctrinal. (Jesus isn’t mentioned in any of the books, although Pullman has hinted that He might figure in a forthcoming sequel, “The Book of Dust.”) His fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny and the rejection of this world in favor of an idealized afterlife, regardless of creed. As one of the novel’s pagan characters puts it, “Every church is the same: control, destroy, obliterate every good feeling.”
The anti-authoritarian theme came across strongly in the movie, a theme most Americans can relate to. We understand the rule of law, but not a controlling law.
Overall, I liked the movie. If you are concerned with the themes, do your own research (and reach outside the organized religious sources) for at least some of that research, and make up your own mind (you always should anyway).