Then Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel, superb again. Unfortunately he only had a few scenes, but I hope to see more of him in the other movies. Only thing was, that Asriel did come of as the good guy from the beginning. In the book it was much harder to tell and he was really pretty scary in the beginning, which made him all the more exciting.
Ah and Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter. She. was.so.evil. I know, she looks nothing like the description in the books, but she was soooo brilliant. Switching from sweet to bitching no time. And even in that short time in the movie, one could see so much of the characters complexity. How she came to be that hard, how she could fall for Asriel, everything! And ah her golden monkey was so despicable. God, they really made me hate that computer animation.
The optics were supercool, with all the steampunk stuff and armored bears, amazing.
They also stayed quite true to the book. I wonder what the film would have been like, if I had not read it before. They tried to keep all the important scenes in, so every individual part of Lyra's journey got only very little screen time. I had the impression, everything happened a bit rushed and characters kept to appear out of the nowhere.
Also the film ends before the book does, interesting. They probably thought the final scene would be a good opener for the next movie and I really hope they will do the sequels.
I thought the anticlerical message from the books was quite softened up for mainstream cinema, but it might seem like that to me, because it gets stronger in the other two books and I don't remember how much we knew after the first part. Still the catholic church did a pretty good job advertising the movie with all their critique (especially the complains about making a child with non-married parents the hero where nicely unmasking).
So good movie, still better book.