I wasn't expecting much from the Golden Compass, but it was quite entertaining. I didn't like how it abruptly ended, but other than that, very enjoyable. I'll be looking forward to all the sequels.
If you read the books, you'd find out that the Golden Compass ends with Lord Asriel killing Roger and Lyra walking into the city. Not a very happy ending. I guess we will never see that since it doesn't look very likely we will be seeing the Subtle Knife. Too bad too since that is a better story.
Hey! You're not supposed to give away details yet!
Regardless, I enjoyed the Golden Compass and would probably enjoy any other movies, even if they're less than warm and fuzzy.
One thing that did sort of bother me was that the movie started out being more innocent (for lack of a better word) and aimed toward children, but then turned much darker and had many elements (unnecessary elements, I believe) that aren't appropriate for the younger folk. As I was watching, I was thinking how my daughters would enjoy it (especially with Lyra being a very strong, intelligent girl), but then people started being killed, the bear was a heavy drinker, children were being abuse, etc. and, well, I realized it wasn't a kids (at least little kids) movie afterall. It's hard to find a good movie for kids that isn't dumbed down or animated. Yeah, I've gotten off a tangent...