This week’s movie recommendations all come from the fantasy genre, one of my personal favorites. I have a great variety of fantasy films for you this week, from time-honored classics to modern favorites, that I hope you’ll all enjoy.
Fantasy films are a great escape from the real world and are very easy to lose yourself in. Fantasy can range from light family entertainment to gripping and intense high fantasy, so it’s easy to find something that will appeal to all different kinds of people and cater to all different types of moods.
Now for this week’s recommendations:
- The NeverEnding Story (1984) Directed by Wolfgang Petersen
The NeverEnding Story is a fantasy film that follows a young boy, Bastion (Barret Oliver), who happens upon a magical book that tells the story of a young warrior (Noah Hathaway) who is given the task of stopping The Nothing, a dark force, from engulfing the fantastical world of Fantasia.
The NeverEnding story is funny, relatable, inspirational and at times emotional movie that should be a staple in every childhood. Filled with kooky and fun-loving characters, like The Rockbiter, Falkor, and Morla the Giant Tortoise, this fantasy adventure will have you immediately rooting for Bastion and the good guys to defeat The Nothing and save Fantasia.
2. Onward (2020) Directed by Dan Scanlon
Onward is a Disney-Pixar computer-animated movie that is set in a suburban fantasy world and follows two Elf brothers, Ian (Tom Holland) and Barley (Chris Pratt) as they set out on a quest to find an artifact that will temporarily bring the deceased father back to life for 24 hours.
This is another heart-warming, or heart-wrenching, however, you prefer to look at it, a movie that we have come to expect from Pixar. The movie touches on the effects that grief can have on a family, as well as an individual, and the importance of sharing that grief with others to aide you in being able to move on.
3. The Dark Crystal (1982) Directed by Jim Henson & Frank Oz
The Dark Crystal is a dark fantasy movie that centers on Jen (Stephan Garlick) and Kira (Lisa Maxwell), two Gelflings on a quest to restore balance to the world of Thra and overthrow the evil, ruling Skeksis by restoring a powerful broken Crystal.
The Dark Crystal is much darker and more dramatic than you would expect from a Jim Henson movie, who is more known for his light-hearted family comedy-type movies. But once you get over the initial wariness, you will find a movie with a brilliant narrative, fantastical world aesthetic, and creative characters that you can’t help but fall in love with. While it was met with mixed reviews at the time of release, The Dark Crystal now has a major cult following, enough to spark a prequel series on Netflix.
4. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Pan’s Labyrinth is a Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy movie that takes place in 1944 Spain and follows a young girl, Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) as her world is intertwined with the world within an overgrown mystical labyrinth.
Pan’s Labyrinth opened to widespread acclaim and was heavily praised for its visual effects, direction, cinematography, and performances. It also won numerous awards, including three academy awards, and it was the film that brought director Guillermo del Toro to the mainstream. Now, if subtitled movies aren’t your thing, I would suggest giving this movie a miss, but if you can adapt to reading the subtitles, this is a spectacularly awe-inspiring piece of fantasy filmmaking, that really showcases the importance of visual effects artists, costume designers, and makeup artists in film.
5. Stardust (2007) Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Stardust is a romantic fantasy adventure movie that follows Tristan (Charlie Cox) as he hunts for and attempts to collect a fallen star from beyond the borders of his town, to give to his intended Victoria (Sienna Miller). The star, Yvaine (Claire Danes) is being hunted by not only Tristan, but also a coven of Witches (Michelle Pfeiffer, Joanna Scanlan, Sarah Alexander) and the Princes of the magical realm of Stormhold (Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Mark Heap, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Adam Buxton, David Walliams).
Stardust is a star-studded ensemble cast movie that is filled with wonder and laughs. The performances from the cast are spectacular, with Charlie Cox, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Robert De Niro being my personal favourites. This is a great film to watch with children or to feel child-like again, and to really feel drawn into the fantastical world within this movie.
6. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle (2017) Directed by Jake Kasdan
Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is a fantasy adventure comedy that is a direct sequel to the 1995 movie Jumanji starring Robin Williams. This movie brings the sentient board game into the modern day and making it a video game, in which four teens end up trapped and transformed into the game’s avatars.
This movie is incredibly funny and is a perfect balance of homage, to the 1995 movie, and the original concept. The cast, which compromises of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan, have amazing chemistry and the comedy just flows naturally between them all. This movie has comedy that everyone can enjoy from children to adults, but it also has more adult-themed humor that the little ones won’t understand, but teenagers and adults can appreciate and enjoy.
7. The Witches (1990) Directed by Nicolas Roeg
The Witches is a dark fantasy comedy horror movie based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl. The movie features evil witches that disguise themselves as ordinary women, and a boy and his grandmother who must find a way to foil their plans.
As a small child, this movie terrified me, so for that, I will advise that you proceed with caution if watching with younger children, but as I grew older, it became a favorite of mine and my sisters to watch and read on repeat. Angelica Houston steals the movie with her performance as the Grand High Witch, which will leave even adults feeling uneasy. The story can be quite intense at times but is blended nicely with bouts of perfectly timed comedy.