Thanks go to reader Dianonymous who sent me the link to this hilarious review. It's too funny not to read the entire thing, but here's an excerpt:
Sorting all this out yields a clanking allegory (Church bad; secular skepticism good) that sucks all the fun away while much more enticing-looking stuff - fanciful zeppelin docks and mysterious pirate ships - hovers frustratingly in the background, like Christmas toys that go unused while toddlers play with the empty box. Worse, it's like toddlers ignoring the toys because they're frowning over Nietzsche and sighing about the will to power and the ascetic ideal.
Every 10 minutes or so, the movie remembers it's supposed to show us actual things happening, so it throws in a half-hearted 30-second action scene (say, Lyra being pestered by robot bugs or having to cross an icy gorge). Things pick up a little when, in the second hour, Lyra finds an ally in a fierce, enslaved polar bear (voiced by Ian McKellen), but he too reels off a few pages of grudges and legends. They say you'd pay good money to hear an actor like McKellen read the phone book. How about the Dungeons and Dragons manual?
In the first paragraph here I think Smith, possibly inadvertently, summarizes why atheism is so unattractive to most of humanity: when it's not downright sleep inducing it's simply too precocious for us chillun of God.