Are There Any Good Fantasy Movies?
Fantasy movies are a cornerstone of the film industry. They allow us to explore ideas, alternate realities and make us vicariously explore places we could never otherwise visit. But when it comes to watching these movies, it’s hard to know which ones are good and which ones have just been released to meet numbers. In this article, we’ll explore the best fantasy movies out there, find out where to watch them, assess what sets them apart from other movies, and talk to some experts to get their perspectives.
Fantasy movies take us on a journey of our imagination and often mix genres such as science-fiction, horror and mystery, to produce a powerful effect. They can be adapted from books, like The Lord of The Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia and Game of Thrones or be original ideas like Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland or the Harry Potter series. Each of these have provided a lasting impression on cinema and have helped to popularise the fantasy genre.
Watching fantasy movies can be a great escape from reality, while also challenging us to think outside of the box. The best fantasy movies offer a mix of exciting visuals and a captivating story, creating something that transcends genre barriers. But with so many to choose from, and so many that are relatively forgettable, it can be hard to find the movies that are truly worth your time.
So, here is a shortlist of the must-see fantasy movies out there. Starting with recent releases and going a little further back into the annals of cinematic history, these movies stand out from the crowd and will leave you with an unforgettable experience.
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
- Harry Potter series
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Hobbit Trilogy
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- Princess Mononoke
- Pirates of the Caribbean
Most of these movies can be found online, on streaming platforms and in cinemas, but the quality is sometimes lacking. So, when it comes to watching fantasy movies, it’s worth exploring other options like paying for DVDs and using digital services such as iTunes and Netflix. You know that you’ll get the best sound and picture quality and be able to watch it again and again without having to worry about buffering or streaming issues.
In order to gain some expert opinions, we spoke to Lorenza Gil, a film critic and blogger, who said: “Good fantasy movies can have a lasting impact on viewers, provoking new thoughts, ideas and emotions. The stories don’t have to be set in a far away kingdom, they could involve monsters, an alternate universe or even superheroes. Filmgoers should expect a mix of creativity, tension and adventure and often a more grounded narrative running throughout the movie”.
But what sets the best fantasy movies apart from their poor counterparts? Well, firstly, they should have genuine characters and believable dilemmas, as well as consistent timing and pacing in order for the story to flow effectively. There should also be a sense of surprise or danger in order to keep the viewer hooked. Lastly, and most importantly, the movie should have a strong sense of creativity and inventive direction.
Fantasy movies can cost a significant amount to produce, which is one of the reasons why they can sometimes turn out to be a letdown. If a movie has a low budget, using production values that are just a step above amateur, the effect can be jarring and the enjoyment is often forgotten. So, when scouting for fantasy movies, it’s worth seeing if they had a large budget and standing by they creators, as this usually guarantees a higher end product.
The main production values to consider are special effects such as green screen technology, 3D animation and lighting. CGI can often contribute to a more enjoyable experience and make the effect of the fantasy world real and tangible. Movies such as Avatar, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy all used the latest technology and comprehensive production values to create a credible and mesmerising universe.
It would be a mistake to think that budget is the only determining factor in production quality. A great film maker and cast can turn an everyday concept into an unforgettable movie, as long as enough thought and detail is put in. Every part of the movie should contribute to the experience, from the script to the use of music, colours and sounds.
When it comes to deciding which movie is the right one to watch, it’s worth considering what the experts have to say. A movie’s critical reception highlights what other experienced filmmakers and filmgoers think of a movie and can offer a discerning point of view. Before taking a plunge into unknown production values, it’s worth seeing what other people think of the movie and whether or not it will appeal to you.
There are numerous review websites out there devoted to cinema, but the one we find most reliable is Rotten Tomatoes. Rotten Tomatoes is an independent site that compiles reviews from all across the board, giving an accurate depiction of a movie’s quality and how it fares in certain countries. Checking the reviews section of Rotten Tomatoes can give you some insight into a fantasy movie and whether it’s worth your time.
When it comes to fantasy movies, it’s the descriptive language that sets the tone. Once you start to lose control of the narrative, the movie can spiral away and become muddled and confusing. So, when choosing a fantasy movie, it’s worth seeing if the language is consistent, immersive and appealing.
A simple test to check the descriptive language of a movie is to start reading the synopsis and see if it engages you. If the language is convoluted and inaccurate, it’s possible the movie will fail to capture your attention, or worse still, fail to deliver on its promises.
In addition to this, paying attention to reviews and what critics have to say can offer insight into how descriptive and vivid the language is. The people in the know will often pick up on if the movie is truly offering something unique and immersive.
Style Of Storytelling
Fantasy movies can be complex beasts, with a lot of different elements involved in the telling of the story. A great film maker will be able to guide viewers through the world they are creating and make the transition between the fantastical and the mundane seamless and engaging.
Style of storytelling is an element that can often be overlooked, but is vital in transporting viewers to the world they are watching. An inventive and thoughtful filmmaker can turn something as simple as a dialogue exchange into an interactive and captivating experience.
The style of storytelling should also tie into the world itself and the characters. Having characters interact and develop natural relationships helps to make a movie feel realistic and alive. This style of storytelling is often seen in the better fantasy movies and is often a determining factor in how viewers rate them.
Surprisingly Good Movies
Sometimes movies that don’t quite fly under the radar can be quite surprising in their quality. Taking a chance on an unknown fantasy movie can often lead to an intriguing experience that’s worth your time, as these movies often attempt to take a unique angle in fantasy and often put unique spins on classic themes.
An example of this is the 2010 fantasy movie, Trollhunter, which takes place in Norway and follows a group of college students as they follow an ancient troll hunter on his mission. The movie took some unexpected turns, playing around with Norwegian folklore and ultimately produced something that was quite unique.
Although these movies may not have the same acclaim as their counterparts, they often serve as reminders of the potential of fantasy filmmaking and illustrate the risk filmmakers are willing to take in order to produce engaging and memorable stories.
Fantasy movies come in all shapes and sizes, exploring a range of different genres. From fantasy comedies such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail to fantasy dramas like The Princess Bride, the genre offers something for everyone.
Horror is a popular sub-genre of fantasy and often entices viewers with its threat of danger and unknown adventure. Movies such as The Blair Witch Project and The Descent made a lasting impression on the genre and are to this day discussed extensively. However, fantasy doesn’t have to be confined to horror, and there are a plethora of unique and inventive fantasy movies out there.
Epic adventures such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Star Wars are mainstays in the industry and show the potential of fantasy filmmaking to create something substantial and iconic. Some of the greatest fantasy films of all time were 3-4 hour epics that were invested into completely, and it’s these films that inspired the rest of the genre to follow suit.
The Hero’s Journey is a classic trope that can be found in many of the best fantasy films. It follows the collective subconscious that exists across cultures and shines a spotlight on the struggles of characters caught between love and war. It’s a classic tool used in fantasy films as it allows viewers to identify with the characters and journey with them, no matter how uncertain the outcome.
The Hero’s Journey is often seen in films such as The Matrix and The Lord of The Rings. In the former, Neo is forced to explore a virtual world that is not only a representation of the real world outside of it, but also a representation of Neo’s struggles to come to terms with his power and purpose. In the latter, Frodo has to deal with the same responsibilities, but with a much higher added danger.
The search for identity and purpose is something that is often explored in fantasy films, and the Hero’s Journey helps to bring this profound struggle to life. It offers the viewer an opportunity to understand a character and the existential journey they are embarking on, thus giving purpose to a fantasy world.
Subversion & Thinking Outside The Box
One of the most impressive aspects of fantasy films is their ability to think outside of the box and offer something unexpected, often in the form of subversion. Subversion, when executed properly, can take a classic theme and offer something fresh, innovative and unexpected.
An example of this can be seen in The Princess Bride. It’s a classic story that follows the classic tropes of a princess and her knight, while