More Fantasy Movies Later in '05

The comic-book and sci-fi takeover of Hollywood is just getting started. Look for these flicks later on in the year:

Batman Begins (June 17) - "Batman & Robin" was a notorious disaster, but hopes are high for this darker-looking one, starring Christian Bale and directed by Christopher Nolan ("Memento").

War of the Worlds (June 29) - Cruise. Spielberg. Summer. Need we say more?

A Scanner Darkly (Sept. 16) - "Slacker" guy Richard Linklater pioneered animating live-action movies with "Waking Life." Now he uses the same technique in an adapation of a trippy Philip K. Dick novel. Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Winona Ryder and Woody Harrelson star.

Serenity (Sept. 30) - Joss Whedon, creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," was crushed two years ago when his excellent sci-fi TV series "Firefly" was dropped after just 10 episodes. But then "Firefly" was a surprise hit on DVD, and now Whedon is doing this movie with all the "Firefly" characters.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Dec. 9) - Following the success of the "Lord of the Rings," Hollywood brings C.S. Lewis' fantasy classic to the screen. If all goes well, this could be the first of seven.

King Kong (Dec. 14) - Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson takes on the classic ape picture. For detailed updates on his progress, check out the excellent