Yes I remember you got me into that.
And just to rub it in your face, my local Waterstones had a bunch of the new books signed by the author, one of which i managed to get my hands on (not like they were disappearing fast, Colfer's one hell of an underrated childrens author).
And as for the Golden Compass, I guess it just comes down to preference. I remember looking forward to the film and then feeling a little let down when I saw it. The little girl's acting was fairly wooden, somewhat like Daniel Radcliffe in the first couple of Harry Potter movies and the battle at the end seemed a little forced (I'm sure it was in the book, but I feel the book would have led up to it rather better). And overall, even the polar bear fight wasn't enough to save the film (I like it, but I just felt the rest of the film pailed in comparison). That said, I do want to read the books, not because I believe that every book is automatically 10 times better than it's film counterpart, but because a number of the ideas in the movie interest me.
I know there was a fair amount of controversy over the movie from Christian Fundamentalists, but I didn't know how far reaching it was. Still, at 54% on Rotten Tomatoes, the word of mouth on the film wasn't good either.
Still despite whose fault it was, the ending was rather abrupt and bad, which left a sour taste in my mouth (and made me wonder what happened to the couple of scenes I never got to see which were in the trailer, according to Weitz, it'll be put on the front of the sequel instead, should it be made) .
And as for the theme of the book, well I haven't read it so I guess I'm a little confused by it's themes. And just to clarify, what I said up there was what I thought the theme was, not what I believe (if we wanted to go into it, I wouldn't agree that religion is an institution we should break down because it's the root of all evil, I believe it's a tool used by the corrupt to do heinous things and should we get rid of religion they'd just find another tool).