Of course I don't ever expect a movie to really live up to the book, but I thought they did a pretty good job with this one. It was amazing to watch the daemons in action! I felt that the quiet menace of Marisa Coulter was beautifully captured by Nicole Kidman. Given the complexity of the world, the Magisterium, the other political factions, and "dust," I thought it was a marvelous introduction and set up for the next chapter in the story. I also enjoyed the young actress who played Lyra and suspect that, like the Potter actors and actresses, she will grow into her craft as time goes on. I felt she captured Lyra's spirit quite well.
If reviews have made you hesitate to see the movie, I urge you to give it a try. It was also very beautiful in terms of cinematography.