Paul Davis did go to see the Golden Compass. See his review here.
I want to mention a couple of reactions to his post. I have not seen the movie and so I say this cautiously.
1 – Paul believes that the group that is supposed to parallel the church more closely parallels the government because they have a police force, K-9 dogs, weapons, etc. He draws that conclusion because the church is not that way in America – “Needless to say, anyone who lives in America, with our separation of Church and state, will be totally unable to draw any parallels between the Magisterium and the Church.” I have to cautiously disagree. The problem is Paul is viewing this as an insider and a minister who sees the church as a healthy and loving organization. Many atheists and non-Christians in fact do see the church just as he described the “Magisterium” – as an attack dog of intolerance with its own type of police force. Paul then points out another thing about the Magisterium, “The witch describes how the Magisterium is trying to control all people in all worlds and take away their free will.” Again, this is how many atheists see the church – the opiate of the masses that brain washes people into a false hope in order to “control all people in all worlds.”
2 – Free will
Of course the church doesn’t take away free will, but outsiders believe that is exactly what the church is attempting to do.
3 – “I have to say that it is pretty much impossible for anyone to come away from this movie with the impression that the Magisterium represents a religious organization, much less the Church as we know it.” – That is just the thing I wonder about in Paul’s analysis of this movie. He is viewing this movie from his perspective as a minister in the church. “The Church as we know it” is different for him than it is for those who do not believe in God or respect the church. In order to understand the movie you have to put yourself in the shoes of an unbeliever. Then the parallels with the church begin to stand out.
I say all of that carefully because I am basing it solely on Paul’s review. Please correct me if I am wrong.