The Golden Compass director Chris Weitz has said film fans are "jaded" by too many special effects in movies.
Chris Weitz's The Golden Compass is due out in December
Weitz screened part of the fantasy movie - which is packed with special effects - at the Cannes Film Festival.
But he said he does not expect to "wow people" with the trickery used in the film, which is an adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel.
"Anytime you are using effects to make up for a lack of a story you are in trouble," he told reporters.
"They should be tired of special effects put in place of the story and in place of a lack of character," he said.
"Almost anything can be done in terms of manipulation of digital images, talking animals, flying things and great exploding things.
"I think there will be a backlash against that sort of thing," he added.
It is 13-year-old Dakota Blue Richards' first film
The US director - who made About A Boy and American Pie - said his "main challenge" was to "imbue humanity and spirit" into the special effects.
On casting 13-year-old actress Dakota Blue Richards in the central role of Lyra Belacqua, Weitz said he wanted a British actress so he could stay true to the book, part of Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy.
"Americans were out of the picture to begin with," he said.
Brighton-born Richards was selected from more than 10,000 girls who attended open auditions.
Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Eva Green and Kevin Bacon also star in the film, which is due to be released in the UK in December.