'The Golden Compass' became a bad experience because the studio didn't have faith in the strength of the ideas of the novel, which is ironic because it's one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written, if not the greatest, and they took the religion out of it and tried to turn it into a popcorn movie.
All I can say is that with 'The Golden Compass,' I didn't get to make the movie I had planned to make. When I look at the film, at the casting and certain scenes, I'm very happy. As for the final product, I can't vouch for that.
I often make movies that involve depression or deep holes of sadness, although there are also these other great things in 'New Moon,' like this epic set-piece at the end of the film in Italy.
It's easy in a novel to be completely unambiguous about the relationship between animal and daemon simply by stating it outright; whereas you get very few opportunities to do this in an elegant way in a film.