I almost didn't go and see this film. I liked the book so much, and the film seem to garner a lot of poor reviews - but today we went anyway.
And I enjoyed it, mostly. Mind you, I could fill in the back story because I had read the books and I knew what was going on, and I understood the complexities of the original tale.
Visually it was great. The ending was indeed too sweet, and I think it was a big mistake not to conclude with the real ending of the book and the ultimate betrayal that was so totally shattering. The impact of that will be lessened now, as it must come at the beginning of the next film - if there is one - when the emotional attachments to the characters now in place are diminished by time. A silly decision.
And btw, all the parents who don't like their kids to have contact with ideas that differ from their own should relax. You can let your offspring go to this movie and they will remain totally uncontaminated by any hint of atheism. Overt religious overtones are conspicuously absent from this film.
Tell you one odd thing, though. My husband, who has not read the book, was heard to mutter several times in agreement with the anti-Magisterium sentiment that emerged in the story. He obviously found those parts very personally relevant...and he has no experience whatsoever with any Christian church. Ever.
Now I wonder whatever he could possibly have been thinking...?