The special effects, especially the ones involving Iorek Byrnison are truly remarkable, and I was worried for the young children all around during the fight scenes. The little one next to us breathed a huge sigh of relief after Lyra escaped from certain calamity, to the amusement of those all around.
For those familiar with the book, necessary deletions and combinations of events might be confusing, but it’s a film to be caught up in immediately, and it never lets up.
If you ignore the religious quibbles, and just go because it’s the holidays, when we could all use a little fantasy, then it’s sheer fun. If you’re feeling that it should totally be faithful in every way to the book, you’ll emerge grumpy and humbuggy. But you’ll still like Iorek and Lyra.