This is one of those joints where I’m betting on the movie being better than the book, of which I’m not a huge fan. I find Pullman’s anti-religious sentiments to be unbelievably overbearing (and this is from somebody who basically shares them), his characters thin, and his plotting opaque. But he’s a mad genius at creating visual panoramas, and the prospect of actually seeing them is pretty appealing. The director, Chris Weitz, has no track record with technical filmmaking on this scale, but the trailer is full of pretty things: clockwork, dirigibles, clipper ships, polar bears, Nicole Kidman. On the evidence, he appears to have pulled it off.
No clever kicker. Like I said: deadline.