BEOWULF VS A TALKING BEAR
Beowulf 3D-- Violent, clunky, beautifully animated, and glorious. Sure, there are weaknesses in script and execution: the scenes of people on horseback were clumsy, and what the hell was with a naked Dark Ages daemoness wearing high heels? But overall, this was supercharged, involving, and very human, and felt more epic than any movie I've seen since the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The best dragon in movie history was simply an added bonus.
The Golden Compass-- What a fucking yawn. As if basing a large part of the film around Nicole Kidman, easily the coldest and most uninvolving actress of the modern generation, wasn't bad enough, the rest of the film is so badly paced and woodenly acted that I stopped caring before the adventure had even begun. With a lead actress so bad she should have played the lead in a Harry Potter movie, and an ending so cynically paving the way for a sequel, I left the cinema not knowing whether to be thankful it was over or furious that I'd been so brazenly mugged. The bears, at least, were cool.
The verdict: Beowulf rips the bear's front arm off and rams it right up its ass with two minutes to go in the second round. Winner by knockout.