Saw this last week and enjoyed it. It's a young adult fantasy, based on the novel Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, set in an alternate world that is essentially a parallel Earth. It's a deal less technological than our Earth, but the main difference is that the human race has evolved to have our souls manifest as animal familiars (daemons). The type and personality of the animal reflects the type of person you are. I love this idea (and wish I'd thought of it) and posted on it back in June, when it was the trend to work out your own daemon via the movie web site. My daemon is a snow leopard called Leonidas.
Anyway, these deamons are integral to the plot of The Golden Compass, which is essentially a quest story that is at times a little confusing. The movie production is lavish, and I thought Nicole Kidman was good as the enigmatic and somewhat sinister Mrs Coulter. Based on my memory of the novel, which I read a few years ago, the movie stays fairly close to the original stopy -- always a good thing!