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CGI magic in ''The Golden Compass''

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They’re not as cuddly as the ones partying with penguins in that famous soft-drink ad, but the polar bear warriors in The Golden Compass — such as Iorek, the exiled king pictured here — do speak English and wear indestructible armor. They’re just part of the vast fantastical metaverse explored by young Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) in a $150 million adaptation of the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. (The film is already sparking controversy; see page 10.) Nicole Kidman stars as Lyra’s chilly guardian and Daniel Craig is her scientist uncle. ”We’ve got this whole tribe of [CG] animals running around — and they all have their own personalities,” says Craig. Still, he insists that doing the extensive greenscreen work was a snap compared with playing a certain double-0 agent: ”I don’t have to fall over as much.”