Now, I have not read the books, though we did buy the trilogy just a few hours earlier that day. My only familiarity with the series is limited to hearing about the fundamentalists being all up in arms about a mainstream "atheist" movie. So, I went in without any prior knowledge of the books, and overall it was a positive experience. My biggest gripe is about the plot-line, which was hard to follow at times. It's always difficult to fit an involved action-filled story into the constraints posed by a 2-hour film -- hence why many movies suffer from similar mistakes, such as: sudden and non-obvious revelations randomly occurring to the main character, blatant visual cues pointing out things or items that are supposed to be important, or rushed character development. However, the movie manages to recover from these faults fairly successfully -- I was not at any point too annoyed, which is rare with me and the movies. :)
I am just a tad peeved at the "evil Russians," errr... I mean, "evil Tatars," who are portrayed running some kind of a nightmarish kids-only Gulag installation on
Overall, though -- fun movie. I'm looking forward to reading the books and watching the sequels.