The following reviews would leave one to wonder if USCCB film reviewers, Harry Forbes and John Mulderig, actually saw the same movie (BTW, check out what the American Papist has to say!):

The worst crime of a film like this is that not only is it retarded, it expects its audience to be retarded as well.

Walter Chaw
Film Freak Central

The Golden Compass ultimately fails as a film in its broad strokes and inadequate scene development.

Deborah Day
Premiere Magazine

There may be box-office gold from The Golden Compass, but panning for it while viewing is a real day at the mine.

David Elliott
San Diego Union-Tribune

A mishmash of half-baked ideas, loud special-effects and disjointed imagery.

Adam Graham
Detroit News

A movie with characters constantly explaining arcane concepts and only rarely doing anything about them.

Josh Bell
Las Vegas Weekly

This series has promise, but The Golden Compass is a letdown.

Bill Clark

Hampered by its fealty to the book and its madly rushed pace.

Manohla Dargis
New York Times

Golden Compass lacks any real fantastic flair. It is a decent enough feature, but is short of that spell-binding quality that will allow audiences to embrace it.

Bob Bloom
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Almost nothing remains at the end – not a glimmer of mystical inquisition, not a teasing loose-end of space-time speculation – to lure a Pullmanite towards a sequel.

Ethan Alter
Film Journal International

And my personal favorite:

Why is it so joyless?

Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post

Well, Lisa, to answer your question: When you blatantly attempt to destroy “the Authority”, to undermine His Church and to seduce His children, you can pretty much count on an absence of joy. Eliminate the source of all true joy and there is simply nothing left.

And here is the rest of it.