By now you have probably read plenty of reviews about The Golden Compass from the His Dark Materials trilogy such as these here, here and here. You may have also read that the USCCB (that would be the US Conference of CATHOLIC bishops) film office has given a positive review to the film.
There is now a book available that goes in depth into the books and the philosophy of the author, Philip Pullman. The Pied Piper of Atheism was written by Pete Vere and Sandra Miesel to help parents and other concerned individuals make an informed decision about these books and movies. It should be pretty clear that these films are not the Lord of the Rings and are not suitable viewing for kids.