Moment of Awesome: When Iorek punches the Panserbjorne king's jaw right off his face and you could hear the whole audience go Oh Snap!
Very Oh Snap since you get that sound when half his face flies off.
When Lyra sneakily gives Mrs. Coulter a tin holding a mechanical bug set to shoot someone up with knock-out drugs. Mrs. Coulter thinks that it holds the alethiometer. Lyra then goes on to blow up the intercision machine, evacuate the children being held prisoner, and spit at the big scary guards. Nice.
It didn't help that New Line announced from the start that the criticism of religion would be completely neutered, which ended up pleasing no one. The religious right thought it still wasn't enough, and the fans were left wondering why they would adapt such a controversial book series in the first place if they were so worried about this.