Wow. I had read the book so I knew the story in advance, but even so this movie was really powerful. It's got great visuals and the direction is very good (everyone loves Ang Lee but I've always found him kind of hit-or-miss; this is a definite hit though). The acting is good to great, with a couple of rough patches. The CGI animals are amazing. The movie follows the book plot almost exactly, which surprised me a bit. I am going to go so far as to say I think this works better as a movie than a book. The central theme of it, which I won't get into because of spoilers, comes across a lot better when you get everything in a more compact way. They absolutely nailed a brilliant and super-understated, perfect ending. I was wowed. My wife, who had not read the book, also loved it, to the point that she wouldn't even get up out of her seat for a few minutes after it was over. Big thumbs-up.