The Golden Compass is an "adaptation of the Carnegie Medal-winning novel by Pullman, the first volume in the His Dark Materials trilogy. In a parallel Oxford, young Lyra Belacqua begins a dimension-crossing odyssey that builds from a merely atypical children's adventure into a complex (and frequently quite dark) philosophical epic." [Synopsis written by Tom Aylward-Nally (found on the Internet Movie Database: IMDB)]
From the reports that I've heard, this movie is a fun and adventurous tale. Starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig and backed by New Line Cinema, the movie is well done and will be entertaining. But it is interesting that they are seeking to downplay the atheistic messages that come through in the book. Because it is seen as a children's movie (much in the vein of "The Chronicles of Narnia), children will no doubt be interested to read the books. This is not a good thing, since Pullman promotes such anti-God views.
Christianity Today says this in their review (for the full review see http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/). "Pullman has painted a picture of the church—represented by "The Magisterium" in his stories—that basically reflects only those ways in which the church has abused power. And he has used that selective reflection as an excuse to write off Christianity as a whole... Pullman points to bad people as a way of saying that the faith is wrong. For examples of religious folk, he illustrates people who abuse power. That's not God. And Christ would frown on the persecution carried out by The Magisterium."
I personally will not be taking my kids (8 and 11) to see the movie, nor will I let them read the books. Each person will decide if they want to see the movie (or read the books), and each parent will have to reflect on whether or not it will be beneficial to expose their children to this. If asked for my opinion, I will discourage people to see it. However, if you do go to see the movie, I hope that you do so with Jesus Christ in tow, so that you might allow your thoughts to interact with what the truth of Scripture says.