As the OP I really don't care one way or the other if the thread is closed or not. I have found it be an interesting discussion even if it hasn't helped me to make up my mind whether or not to see the film. After thinking about it I've decided to NOT spend the money to see it in the theatres but to either watch it online or to rent when it comes out on DVD.
I have a difiicult time reading "modern" fantasy/fairy stories that don't have J.R.R. Tolkien on the front cover so I don't know if I want to even read the books. I know it's not fair for me to compare other fantasy works to Tolkien's but I can't help it. Fantasy and fairy stories have been around for a very long time, obviously Tolkien wasn't the first to write them nor will he be the last but, IMO, he is at the summit (so to speak) of the genre.
Even though he was a devout catholic, his greatest work wasn't without controversy. Tolkien has been quoted numerous times stating that there is no religious symbolism in The Lord of the Rings
no matter how hard people try to put it in there for him. The Chronicles of Narnia
, written by Tolkien's long time friend C.S. Lewis is full of themes relating to Christina theology but Lewis (he converted to catholicism as an adult) denies any allegory. Eventually, I'll even get around to reading those seven books and form my own opinion from doing so.
I watched the recent Narnia film but didn't like it all that much. Film adaptations of these stories usually lose a lot in the translation from the page to the silver screen. Case in point, Peter Jackson, who butchered many of the characters and events that took place in his film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings
trilogy. With The Golden Compass
I would have to read the books and then watch the film to form an opinion.
Anyway, I'm rambling. Back to the debate currently in progress.