Films by design are supposed to temporarily relieve the viewer of reality and away into a myriad of dreams. Into worlds that we wouldn’t think of or remember that we even dreamt of it.
These following films are fantasy, filled with fantastic themes such as, magic, mythology, supernatural events, science-fiction or exotic fantasy worlds.
Here are some fantasy films to watch at least once, in my opinion.
The Lord of the Rings
An adaptation of a series of books written by JRR Tolkien over a period of twelve years. It is the sequel series after The Hobbit.
Peter Jackson delivers a trilogy of films, named The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. This cinematic masterpiece, set in Middle-earth, follows the odyssey of Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), nephew of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), the protagonist of The Hobbit, of whom he has inherited the one ring, and which he must destroy before Lord Sauron emerges and completes his campaign to conquer Middle-earth.
To help him on this journey are different characters from different regions of Middle-earth who form the Fellowship of the Ring. They are; Gandalf (Ian McKellan), a wizard who has been involved in the Baggins’ life for many years. Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), a Ranger, that is more than meets the eye. Boromir (Sean Bean), a man who is the son of the Steward of Gondor, Legolas (Orlando Bloom), a wise elf who doesn’t seem to get on with Gimli (John Rhys-Davies), the dwarf warrior. There’s also Frodo’s friends; Sam( Sean Astin), Frodo’s gardener and best friend, along with Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Merry (Dominic Monaghan) who come along for the adventure.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Ever heard of a film being inspired by a rollercoaster ride? Well this is how The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was conceived. The film loosely follows Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) on his adventures of trying to reacquire his precious ship The Black Pearl. It also follows Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann’s (Keira Knightley) characters in their ill-fated love story.
It is the first film of the franchise that I’m particularly concerned with. Well for one, it was the first one, so it should set a precedent. And it did because four films followed after that. .
If you want a nautical adventure, then this is one for you
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
A musical fantasy film, when musical films were fashionable. Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s novel and stars Judy Garland who plays Dorothy, who encounters her own odyssey of having to find the titular wizard who can help her return home after a hurricane turned her world upside down. She learns some life lessons along the way, making this a great film to watch with the little ones. The use of Technicolor within the film made this film stand out, because it helped to convey the feeling of being in a dream alongside Dorothy.
The Princess Bride
Adapted by William Goldman, of whose novel is the same title. The film preserves the novel’s metafictional narrative style by presenting the story as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage). He tells the story of a farmhand named Westley (Cary Elwes), accompanied by companions befriended along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) from the odious Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon).
Night at the Museum
Ben Stiller leads this fantastical adventure where he plays a divorced father who applies for a job as a night watchman at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. Why is this fantasy? I’m glad that you asked … because the exhibits, animated by a magical Egyptian artefact, come to life at night! Leading the charge is President Teddy Roosevelt, superbly and subtly played by the late Robin Williams. There are subsequent films after this, but they can never outshine the first.
A beautiful tale really about the relationship between a man and his son. At Will Bloom’s (Billy Crudup) wedding, his father Edward (Albert Finney) recalls the day Will was born, and claims that he caught an enormous catfish using his wedding ring as bait. Will, having heard these stories all his life, believes them to be lies and falls out with his father.
Three years later, Edward has cancer, so Will and his pregnant French wife Joséphine (Marion Cotillard) return to the town of Ashton, Alabama, to spend time with him. On the way, Will recalls his father’s stories and causes him togo and investigate. When he returns, Will learns to forgive his father, who dies satisfied with his life.
At the funeral, Will and Joséphine are surprised when all the people from Edward’s stories come to the service, though each one is slightly less fantastical than described. He asks for their accounts on Edward’s stories, where they confirm the credibility but also fantasise his acts in return.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
Star Wars takes place “a long time ago”, in a universe inhabited by both humans and various alien species; most of the known galaxy is ruled by the Galactic Empire, which is only opposed by the Rebel Alliance, a group of freedom fighters.
The film focuses on the hero journey of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), a young man who becomes caught in the galactic conflict between the Empire and the Rebellion after coming into possession of two droids, R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), the first of whom is carrying the plans of the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star.
While attempting to deliver the droids to the Rebellion, Luke is joined by the wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness), who teaches him about the metaphysical power known as “the Force”, a cynical smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford), his Wookiee companion Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), and Rebellion leader Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). Meanwhile, Imperial officers Darth Vader (David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), a Sith Lord, and Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing), the commander of the Death Star, seek to retrieve the stolen plans and locate the Rebellion’s secret base.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) is an orphaned boy brought up by his unloving Muggle (non-magical) aunt and uncle (Fiona Shaw and Richard Griffiths). At the age of eleven, half-giant Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) informs him that he is actually a wizard and that his parents were murdered by an evil and powerful wizard named Lord Voldemort. Voldemort also attempted to kill one-year-old Harry on the same night, but his killing curse mysteriously rebounded and reduced him to a weak and helpless form. Harry became extremely famous in the Wizarding World as a result.
This begins Harry Potter’s odyssey as he starts school, makes friends and enemies, as well as the fantastic discovery that his life is closely connected to Lord Voldemort.
So hopefully, like me, you get lost in these films, considering a whole new world and possibilities. Is there a film I missed? I probably have. Why not drop a comment and share what fantasy film you love, I would love to know!