Why we can't wait to see ''The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe''
RELEASE DATE Dec. 9
WHY WE CAN'T WAIT This could be the beginning of the next great fantasy franchise after The Lord of the Rings. Plus, director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) knows all about talking animals.
PREMISE Four English siblings, taking refuge in a country house during World War II, pass through a magical armoire into the fantasy world of Narnia, a land where a prophesy says four humans will herald the return of the heroic lion Aslan (voiced by Liam Neeson) and the defeat of the power-hungry White Witch (Tilda Swinton).
SOURCE The first of C.S. Lewis' seven kid-lit classics in the Chronicles of Narnia series
THE BACK STORY If you haven't read Lion in a while, you may have forgotten what a slim volume it is, as director Adamson did. ''All the stuff I remembered wasn't in the book! It was all stuff [my] 8-year-old imagination had expanded.'' So he fleshed out the characters and jazzed up the battle scenes. ''Everybody has their own interpretation of what this world looks like,'' he says. ''I hope my sensibilities are common enough.''
BURNING QUESTION Will the movie please both Christian audiences looking for Lewis' spiritual allegory and secular audiences looking for a fantasy adventure?
COME FOR The icy Swinton
STAY FOR Adorable kiddie newcomers Georgie Henley (Lucy), William Moseley (Peter; pictured left), Skandar Keynes (Edmund), and Anna Popplewell (Susan)