My Top 30 Fantasy Films

Fantasy is my second-favourite film and book genre, not far behind horror. While anything that’s “not real” can be considered fantasy, I’ve kept this list down to the films that are “classic fantasy”, which is to say films that contain elements that people automatically think of when they think fantasy: magic, fairies, elves, witches and wizards, that sort of thing. So no horror, sci-fi, or anything else “fantastical” that’s not straight fantasy. There are a few that have some horror elements, but are very far from being horror films, so they’re allowed here. I also won’t be including films who’s only fantastical element is talking animals, otherwise we’d be here all day. If there are films on the list with talking animals, it’s because there are other fantasy elements as well. And finally, I haven’t included any animated Disney or Pixar films, they’ll have their own list.

The films will be in approximate order only. As I did with My Top 50 Horror Films, I will separate them into groups, then put those groups in order. They will be numbered from 5 to 1, with each number having 6 films that will be “tied”, if you will, for that place on the list.

So, without any further ado, here are my top 30 fantasy films. Enjoy! 🙂

 

NUMBERS 5

5 The Wizard of Oz

Title: The Wizard of Oz
Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Terry the Dog
Released in: 1939
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Written by: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Based On: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Despite the bright technicolour, this is actually a pretty dark story. One of the very few films to actually scare me as a child (Freddy Krueger, no problem! Wicked Witch of the West? Flee crying. *shrug*)
Fantastical Elements: Witches, wizards, fantastical creatures (man-lion, flying monkeys, etc), magic.
5 Second Synopsis: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.
Why I Love It: One of the very first fantasy films I saw as a kid, I didn’t love it as much as the others (which are mostly in my number 2s and 1s), but it’s nevertheless undeniable that this is a classic. That it’s still enjoyable today is a testament to how good it really was.

 

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Title: The Witches
Starring: Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Paterson, Brenda Blethyn, Charlie Potter, Jane Horrocks, Anne Lambton
Released in: 1990
Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
Written by: Allan Scott
Based On: The Witches by Roald Dahl
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Surprisingly dark. The book is even darker (and better).
Fantastical Elements: Witches, magic, transmogrification.
5 Second Synopsis: A young boy stumbles onto a witch convention and vows to stop them, even after he has been turned into a mouse.
Why I Love It: From the moment I could read properly, I loved Roald Dahl. Unfortunately, most of the films based on his work are turds. Not so this one. It’s bat-shit crazy, and I love it. No other reason needed.

 

5 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Title: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Starring: Sean Connery, Stuart Townsend, Peta Wilson, Tony Curran, Shane West, Jason Flemyng, Richard Roxburgh, Naseeruddin Shah, Max Ryan
Released in: 2003
Directed by: Stephen Norrington
Written by: James Robinson
Based On: The comic books by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Immortality, vampirism, invisibility, transmogrification.
5 Second Synopsis: Renowned adventurer Allan Quatermain leads a team of extraordinary figures with legendary powers to battle the technological terror of a madman known as The Fantom.
Why I Love It: This film gets a lot of flack from critics and audiences alike, but I quite enjoyed. Yes, it has it’s problems, but really, what film doesn’t. It’s a fun watch, just grab your popcorn, and don’t think too hard!

 

5 Return to Oz

Title: Return to Oz
Starring: Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, Sean Barrett, Denise Bryer, Brian Henson, Lyle Conway, Justin Case, John Alexander, Deep Roy, Emma Ridley, Tansy the Dog
Released in: 1985
Directed by: Walter Murch
Written by: Gill Dennis, Walter Murch
Based On: Ozma of Oz and The Land of Oz by L Frank Baum
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark. Kid’s film, my ass!
Fantastical Elements: Witches, wizards, fantastical creatures (wheelers, tin-man, man made of rocks, etc), magic.
5 Second Synopsis: Dorothy Gale (who’s somehow much younger now :-p ), saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.
Why I Love It: It’s not often a sequel is better than the first film, and I’ll probably get yelled at for thinking so, but this one definitely is. It’s crazy on so many levels, and shit-your-pants terrifying in others, they simply don’t make them like this anymore. What a shame.

 

5 FernGully

Title: FernGully: The Last Rainforest
Starring: Samantha Mathis, Jonathan Ward, Robin Williams, Tim Curry, Christian Slater, Grace Zabriskie, Geoffrey Blake, Robert Pastorelli, Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Tone Loc
Released in: 1992
Directed by: Bill Kroyer
Written by: Jim Cox
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Fairies, magic, fantastical creature (Hexxus)
5 Second Synopsis: When human Zak stumbles into the fairy world, he realizes that he needs to help them preserve their rainforest home before it’s all destroyed.
Why I Love It: Heavy-handed environmental message aside, this was another of my faves as a kid. It’s got nice animation, good voice acting, catchy songs, not to mention one of the scariest villains in a cartoon made for kids, voiced, of course, by Tim Curry.

 

5 Dungeons & Dragons

Title: Dungeons & Dragons
Starring: Justin Whalin, Jeremy Irons, Zoe McLellan, Marlon Wayans, Bruce Payne, Thora Birch, Kristen Wilson, Robert Miano, Lee Arenberg, Richard O’Brien
Released in: 2000
Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Written by: Topper Lilien, Carroll Cartwright
Based On: The role-playing game created by TSR (Gary Gygax)
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark-ish
Fantastical Elements: Way too many to list all of them, but the basics are magic, dragons, elves, witches and wizards, and many other fantastical creatures, such as the Beholder.
5 Second Synopsis: Profion, a tyrant wizard, attempts to overthrow a peaceful kingdom ruled by a tough empress. A group of fighters, led by a cunning thief, try to stop him.
Why I Love It: This movie is awful. The effects are cartoony, the acting atrocious, and the D&D lore seriously messed up. And yet I loved it. I guess it falls into the so bad it’s good category for me.

 

NUMBERS 4

4 What Dreams May Come

Title: What Dreams May Come
Starring: Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, Max von Sydow, Jessica Brooks Grant, Josh Paddock, Rosalind Chao, Cuba Gooding Jr
Released in: 1998
Directed by: Vincent Ward
Written by: Ronald Bass
Based On: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Afterlife, heaven, hell, reincarnation
5 Second Synopsis: After dying in a car crash, a man searches the afterlife for his wife, who committed suicide afterwards, her grief being too great.
Why I Love It: Such a beautiful story about love and loss, there’s no way not to love this film. All the acting is amazing, the depiction of heaven stunning. On the flip side, hell is terrifying, but unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The idea of people ending up in a hell of their own making is at once heart-breaking and frightening. If you somehow haven’t seen this film, I highly reccomend you go see it, right now!

 

4 The Secret of NIMH

Title: The Secret of NIMH
Starring: Elizabeth Hartman, Derek Jacobi, Dom DeLuise, Arthur Malet, Peter Strauss, John Carradine, Paul Shenar, Shannen Doherty, Wil Wheaton, Jodi Hicks, Hermione Baddeley
Released in: 1982
Directed by: Don Bluth
Written by: Don Bluth, John Pomeroy, Gary Goldman, Will Finn
Based On: Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C O’Brien
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Surprisingly dark
Fantastical Elements: Super-intelligent rats and mice, magic, telekinesis through a jewel
5 Second Synopsis: A field mouse named Mrs Brisby must move her family to a safe location before the farmer plows the field where they live, but her son Timmy cannot go outside due to his pneumonia. She enlists the aid of some highly intelligent escaped lab rats that have built a subterranean society inside a rose bush near the farmer’s garden.
Why I Love It: Such a great story with beautiful animation. I never realized how creepy some parts of it were until I’d rewatched it as an adult. How on earth did that owl not give me nightmares?? hehe Definitely one of the very best non-Disney animated films.

 

4 The Ghost and Mrs Muir

Title: The Ghost and Mrs Muir
Starring: Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders, Edna Best, Vanessa Brown, Natalie Wood, Anna Lee
Released in: 1947
Directed by: Joseph L Mankiewicz
Written by: Philip Dunne
Based On: The Ghost and Mrs Muir by RA Dick (pseudonym of Josephine Leslie)
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Ghosts, afterlife
5 Second Synopsis: In 1900, a young, head-strong widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted, but rather than being scared off, she forms a unique relationship with the ghost.
Why I Love It: Old timey movies have to be really, really good for me to love them, and this one definitely is. Wonderfully charming and superbly acted, this unconventional love story was one of the first of the genre, and is still endlessly enjoyable, even today.

 

4 Shrek

Title: Shrek
Starring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow, Jim Cummings, Vincent Cassel, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, Frank Welker
Released in: 2001
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman, Roger SH Schulman
Based On: Shrek! by William Steig
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Transmogrification, dragons, curses, fantastical storybook characters (ogres, big bad wolf, gingerbread man, etc)
5 Second Synopsis: An evil Lord banishes all fairytale creatures into the swamp, which much angers the resident ogre, Shrek. In order to regain his swamp, he agrees to go rescue the princess that the Lord wants to wed. But something is very different about this princess, and Shrek finds himself falling for her, despite himself.
Why I Love It: Tongue firmly planted in cheek, this film is hilarious and touching at the same time. The characters go through a rather astounding transformation during the film, and I’m not only referring to the obvious. I guess everyone really does have layers. Like onions, of course, not cake 😉

 

4 Edward Scissorhands

Title: Edward Scissorhands
Starring: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest, Anthony Michael Hall, Kathy Baker, Conchata Ferrell, Alan Arkin, Caroline Aaron, Vincent Price
Released in: 1990
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Caroline Thompson, Tim Burton
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Frankenstien-ish creature with scissors for hands
5 Second Synopsis: A kind inventor is almost finished piecing together his latest creation when fate prevents him from completing this most important project. Edward may seem dangerous, with scissors instead of hands, but when a compassionate Avon lady comes calling, she sees his pure heart, and decides to bring him home.
Why I Love It: One of Burton’s best, and his first collaboration with Johnny Depp (which should have ended with Sleepy Hollow, but maybe that’s just me). I didn’t like this film all that much the first time I saw it (I was only 9 when it came out), but once I got older, I was able to appreciate it’s quirky story, and now I love it. Classic Burton, right here.

 

4 Dragonheart

Title: DragonHeart
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, Dina Meyer, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite, Jason Isaacs, Brian Thompson, Peter Hric
Released in: 1996
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Charles Edward Pogue
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Dragons, magic
5 Second Synopsis: A dragon slayer teams up with the last dragon to take down an evil king.
Why I Love It: A perfect blend of funny and tense, this is one of the very best dragon films ever made. And the CGI holds up surprisingly well, despite the film being almost 20 years old. David Thewlis was so perfectly evil in this film, that I found him disgusting until his brilliant turn as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter films.

 

NUMBERS 3

3 Wizards

Title: Wizards
Starring: Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Steve Gravers, Richard Romanus, David Proval, Jim Connell, Mark Hamill
Released in: 1977
Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Written by: Ralph Bakshi
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Magic, wizards, fairies, elves, mutated talking animals
5 Second Synopsis: In a post-apocalyptic future, a wizard and his fairy folk comrades fight his evil brother, who’s using technology in his bid for conquest.
Why I Love It: Definitely not for kids, this is one cartoon with a lot of bite. Tense, bloody, and violent, it’s one of the very best of the genre.

 

3 Pirates of the Caribbean

Title: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Starring: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Jack Davenport, Zoe Saldana, Jonathan Pryce, Lee Arenberg, Mackenzie Crook, Damian O’Hare
Released in: 2003
Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Written by: Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio
Based On: The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at DisneyLand
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, curses, undead
5 Second Synopsis: When his love is kidnapped by pirates, a young blacksmith teams up with perpetually drunk pirate Jack Sparrow in the attempt to get her back. Little do they realize that the evil pirates are undead, and need Elizabeth to break the curse.
Why I Love It: A fun ride (pun intended) from start to finish, this is undoubtedly the best film in the franchise. Johnny Depp is brilliant as Jack Sparrow, and the rest of the cast also shine, especially Geoffrey Rush as the evil Captain Barbossa. The perfect blend of action and thriller that’s more than a little funny, this is one of Depp’s best. It’s really too bad that he’s fallen into the rut of always playing this same kind of character over and over now.

 

3 Merlin

Title: Merlin
Starring: Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, Martin Short, Isabella Rossellini, Paul Curran, Lena Headey, Jeremy Sheffield, Jason Done, John Gielgud, Rutger Hauer, James Earl Jones
Released in: 1998
Directed by: Steve Barron
Written by: Peter Barnes, Edward Khmara, David Stevens
Based On: The legends of King Arthur and the wizard Merlin
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, wizards, elves, curses, spells, gnomes, fairy folk
5 Second Synopsis: The legendary wizard tells his story of his war against Queen Mab of the Sidhe, and his creation of Camelot.
Why I Love It: This has to be one of the very best made-for-TV movies ever. The actors they got to do it were all top notch, the writing was great, and even the effects, which are usually pretty pathetic for TV films, were quite good. And I never thought I’d say so, but Martin Short looked… hot!! hehe

 

3 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Title: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Denholm Elliott, John Rhys-Davies, Julian Glover, River Phoenix
Released in: 1989
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: Jeffrey Boam
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, the holy grail, magical booby traps, immortality
5 Second Synopsis: Indiana Jones acquires a diary that holds clues and a map to find the mysterious Holy Grail, which was sent from his father. Learning that his father went missing while searching, Indy hops a plane to Italy to save him.
Why I Love It: The best of the three Indiana Jones films, this is the only one that I still rewatch from time to time. Fun and sometimes tense, this is a wonderful conclusion to the story. (Yes, I’m fully aware there’s a fourth, I just don’t acknowledge it.)

 

3 Hook

Title: Hook
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo, Dante Basco, Amber Scott, Caroline Goodall, Maggie Smith
Released in: 1991
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Written by: James V Hart, Malia Scotch Marmo
Based On: Peter Pan books and play by JM Barrie
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Fantastical world, fairies, power of imagination, flying, immortality, magic
5 Second Synopsis: When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.
Why I Love It: Saw this film when it first came out (I was 10), and I’ve loved it ever since. Robin Williams gives a great performance as the aged Peter Pan, while Dustin Hoffman eats up every inch of the screen when he’s on it as the (slightly insane) Captain Hook. A definite childhood favourite, a total gem of a film.

 

3 HellBoy

Title: HellBoy
Starring: Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Brian Steele, Bridget Hodson, Ladislav Beran
Released in: 2004
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by: Guillermo del Toro
Based On: Hellboy: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Magic, demons, immortality, humanoid creatures with special abilities, pyrokinesis, wizards, portals to hell
5 Second Synopsis: A demon, raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.
Why I Love It: Such a fun film, it also has surprisingly good acting, and an awesome story. The effects are absolutely stunning as well, and Ron Perlman embodies HellBoy perfectly, head to toe. One of the first in the modern superhero/comic book films, and still one of the best.

 

NUMBERS 2

2 Willow

Title: Willow
Starring: Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Kevin Pollak, Rick Overton, Pat Roach, Gavan O’Herlihy, David Steinberg, Phil Fondacaro
Released in: 1988
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Bob Dolman
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, fairy folk, witches, spells, curses
5 Second Synopsis: A reluctant dwarf must play a critical role in protecting a special baby from an evil queen.
Why I Love It: Such a wonderful, beautiful story. Good acting and surprisingly good effects for it’s time, it still holds up very well today. Plus Val Kilmer is smokin’ hot as Madmartigan, who was perhaps my very first adult crush. *swoon*

 

2 The Princess Bride

Title: The Princess Bride
Starring: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon, André the Giant, Christopher Guest, Wallace Shawn, Peter Falk, Fred Savage, Peter Cook, Mel Smith, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane
Released in: 1987
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Written by: William Goldman
Based On: The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Magic, fantastical creatures (RoUS’s), miracles, fantastical machines
5 Second Synopsis: While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called The Princess Bride, about a young princess, believing her true love to be dead, who settles with marrying a wicked prince.
Why I Love It: Pretty much every film in the rest of this list is a true classic, so I’ll stop saying it, hehe. This film is both schmoopy and full of adventures, perfect for kids and adults alive. And one more thing: Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

 

2 The Crow

Title: The Crow
Starring: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Rochelle Davis, Ernie Hudson, Bai Ling, Anna Thomson, David Patrick Kelly, Angel David, Laurence Mason, Michael Massee, Tony Todd, Jon Polito, Sofia Shinas
Released in: 1994
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Written by: David J Schow, John Shirley
Based On: The Crow graphic novel by James O’Barr
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Re-incarnation, invulnerability, superhero-like prowess
5 Second Synopsis: Musician Eric Draven is brought back to life by a crow a year after he and his fiancée are murdered. The crow guides him, and leads him to his killers, whom he kills in revenge.
Why I Love It: This film would likely be found in the action section of your video store rather than fantasy, but this definitely is indeed a fantasy film. Dark and violent, this is my very favourite revenge film, by far. But with this great film came a great loss, for actor Brandon Lee was accidentally killed while filming. What a shame.

 

2 Ladyhawke

Title: Ladyhawke
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leo McKern, John Wood, Ken Hutchison, Giancarlo Prete, Alfred Molina
Released in: 1985
Directed by: Richard Donner
Written by: Edward Khmara, Michael Thomas, Tom Mankiewicz, David Webb Peoples
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, curses, transmogrification
5 Second Synopsis: An evil Bishop curses a woman and her lover when she rejects him. With the help of a sly thief, they will travel back to the Bishop and try break the curse.
Why I Love It: Such a beautiful film. Nauseatingly romantic, this film has a bit for everyone. Schmoop, laughter, action, and drama, this is simply a wonderful, wonderful film.

 

2 Harry Potter

Title: Harry Potter Octology
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, Maggie Smith, John Hurt, David Thewlis, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Evanna Lynch, Gary Oldman, Jason Isaacs, Brendan Gleeson, Helena Bonham Carter, Julie Walters, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Matthew Lewis, Timothy Spall, Mark Williams, David Bradley, Imelda Staunton, Richard Griffiths, Fiona Shaw, Harry Melling, Clémence Poésy, Shirley Henderson, Natalia Tena, Emma Thompson, Warwick Davis, Richard Harris
Released in: 2001 – 2011
Directed by: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves, Michael Goldenberg
Based On: Harry Potter Septology by JK Rowling
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Magic, magic, and more magic! Plus fantastical creatures, flying broomsticks, curses, prophecies, transmogrification, and much more.
5 Second Synopsis: Young Harry Potter finds out he’s a wizard, and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he finds out that there is a very evil wizard who wants him dead.
Why I Love It: I’m cheating a little by putting all 8 films here, but it would have taken a huge chunk out of my Top 30, or I would have had to add 7 more slots, and I really didn’t feel like doing basically the same entry 8 times. So there. These films are fun, whimsical, and at the same time, tense and even frightening (dementors, anyone?). They did such a great job of translating these books into films. If you enjoy fantasy and haven’t seen these, I very highly reccomend you crawl out from under your rock and see them.

 

2 Dogma

Title: Dogma
Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, George Carlin, Bud Cort, Alanis Morissette
Released in: 1999
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Written by: Kevin Smith
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Angels, demons, God, heaven, hell
5 Second Synopsis: A woman with special ancestry is enlisted to prevent two angels from reentering Heaven and thus undoing the fabric of the universe.
Why I Love It: I’m not the hugest fan of comedies, not because I don’t like laughing, but because I have a slightly peculiar sense of humour, and a lot comedies are just dumb to me. This one, though, this is my very favourite comedy, the whole thing is perfect (save one scene), beginning to end. It had me literally rolling on the floor, laughing.

 

NUMBERS 1

1 The NeverEnding Story

Title: The NeverEnding Story
Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Alan Oppenheimer, Tami Stronach, Sydney Bromley, Patricia Hayes, Deep Roy, Tilo Prückner, Moses Gunn, Thomas Hill, Gerald McRaney, The Horse (Googled my heart out to find his real name, but could find it, unfortunately 😦 )
Released in: 1984
Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen
Written by: Wolfgang Petersen, Herman Weigel
Based On: Die Unendliche Geschichte by Michael Ende
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Fantastical creatures, fantastical world, magic, wishes, fantastical machines
5 Second Synopsis: A troubled boy dives into a wonderous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book.
Why I Love It: This was one of my favourites as a kid, and it’s still now. Despite some of the acting being rather shaky (especially the Child-like Empress, yikes), this film is simply marvelous. Fantasia is beautiful, most of the practical effects are cool, and while it’s quite different from the book, the story is still amazing, even today. Noah Hathaway as Atreyu was my very first movie crush, and remained so until I passed him in age, about 8 years later.

 

1 The Dark Crystal

Title: The Dark Crystal
Starring: Stephen Garlick, Lisa Maxwell, Percy Edwards, Billie Whitelaw, Barry Dennen, Jerry Nelson, Joseph O’Conor
Released in: 1982
Directed by: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Written by: David Odell
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Both
Fantastical Elements: Fantastical creatures, fantastical world, magic, flight, fairy folk
5 Second Synopsis: On another planet in the distant past, a Gelfling embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of a magical crystal, and so restore order to his world.
Why I Love It: Another of my childhood favourites, they simply don’t make them like this anymore. So many of the films I loved as a child are like this one, “too weird and scary” for today’s wimpy children. Well, not my child. I’ve introduced him to Labyrinth, and he loved it. Up next, the rest of my number 1’s, starting with this one.

 

1 Rock & Rule

Title: Rock & Rule
Starring: Don Francks, Susan Roman, Gregory Salata, Chris Wiggins, Brent Titcomb, Dan Hennessey, Greg Duffell, Catherine Gallant, Samantha Langevin, Catherine O’Hara
Released in: 1983
Directed by: Clive A Smith
Written by: Peter Sauder, John Halfpenny
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Fantastical creatures, fantastical technology, demons, mutants
5 Second Synopsis: A malevolent rock star kidnaps a female singer to force her to participate in the summoning of a demon, and her band must help her stop him.
Why I Love It: This little, mostly forgotten Canadian film is, in my opinion, the very best in the genre. Forget the much over-rated Heavy Metal, this adult cartoon is where it’s at. Awesome animation, kick ass soundtrack, and great story, this is a must-see for anyone who likes adult animation.

 

1 Lord of the Rings

Title: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, John Rhys-Davies, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Craig Parker, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Ian Holm, John Noble, Sala Baker
Released in: 2001, 2002, 2003
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Written by: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Based On: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Magic, wizards, hobbits, elves, dwarves, visions, immortality, fantastical creatures, and more
5 Second Synopsis: A young hobbit must get to the gates of the enemy to destroy a ring that, if in the hands of the monster, would end the world as they know it.
Why I Love It: I don’t think there’s a geek on the planet that didn’t love this one. It was so beautifully done, acted, written and shot that it’s hard not to fall in love at first sight. It has the perfect blend of practical makeup and effects, and CGI, something that was sorely lacking in the Hobbit films.

 

1 Legend

Title: Legend
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry, David Bennent, Annabelle Lanyon, Alice Playten, Billy Barty, Cork Hubbert, Robert Picardo
Released in: 1985
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Written by: William Hjortsberg
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Dark
Fantastical Elements: Demons, goblins, fairy folk, unicorns, magic, curses
5 Second Synopsis: A young man must stop the Lord of Darkness from both destroying daylight and marrying the woman he loves.
Why I Love It: Probably one of the very first fantasy films I’ve seen, and still one of the very best. It’s so beautifully done that it would be impressive even coming out today. Even all the acting is good, and that’s saying something for a film of the 80’s. So sad that they don’t make them like this anymore.

 

1 Labyrinth

Title: Labyrinth
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie, Brian Henson, Ron Mueck, Dave Goelz, David Shaughnessy, Michael Hordern, Denise Bryer, David Healy, Robert Beatty, Toby Froud
Released in: 1986
Directed by: Jim Henson
Written by: Terry Jones
Based On: N/A
Light or Dark Fantasy?: Light
Fantastical Elements: Magic, goblins, fairy folk, fantastical creatures
5 Second Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Sarah accidentally wishes her baby half-brother, Toby, away to the Goblin King Jareth, who will keep him if Sarah does not complete his Labyrinth in thirteen hours.
Why I Love It: If I had to absolutely choose a favourite fantasy film of all time, this would be it. I saw it at 5 years old, when it came out, and I’ve seen it well over 100 times. I learned all the words, songs and talked, in a very short time, and I still know most of them now. I’ll be sounding like a broken record, but they don’t make them like this any more. It’s an absolutely perfect piece of film. And David Bowie is so beautiful in this, I can’t help but swoon every time, hehe.

 

Finally done! It’s only been 2 months in the making… This is what happens when I get lazy. Shit just doesn’t get done, hehe. Here’s hoping at least a few people will enjoy the fruits of my labour! 😀

M.

Teen Heartthrobs – Then and Now, part 2

A few months ago, I made a post about some of my favourite “heartthrobs” from the 80’s and 90’s (which is still one of my most viewed posts!! Woo! hehe). I’d promised way back then that I would continue the post to add all those that I’d forgotten, and then I just got side-tracked with other stuff. But I’m ready to take on part 2 now, so without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road!

 

Vincent Kartheiser

I first saw Vincent in such teen films as Alaska, Masterminds, Strike! (also called All I Wanna Do), and Crime + Punishment in Suburbia, as well, of course, as Connor in the great vampire show Angel. Quite effeminate, he’s definitely not for everyone’s tastes, but I’ve always liked the little girly boys, so I fell in love with him on first sight.

So what’s he up to now?
Vincent Kartheiser now

While he never really stopped working after Angel ended in 2004, his roles were either small, voice overs, or in relatively unknown works. But he became well known again after landing his role as Pete Campbell in the 60’s drama Mad Men, which is still on now. He also has two films in production, a short called Winter Light, and a drama called Day Out of Days, with Melanie Griffith.

 

Skeet Ulrich

After a few bit parts between 1989 and 1994, Skeet finally got his big break in the teen horror flicks The Craft and Scream, both out in 1996. But then, after a small role in the Jack Nicholson film As Good As It Gets in 1997, he kind of slid off the grid. He got steady work, but nothing really big.

So what’s he up to now?
Skeet Ulrich now

The only thing he’s done of any real consequence is the post-apocalyptic drama Jericho that ran from 2006 to 2008. He also did a season of one of the zillion Law & Order spinoffs in 2011. As of right now, he’s got two TV movies in production, as well as a dramady called Lost in Austin.

 

Ryan Phillippe

After a few small roles on TV and film, Ryan got his big break in the 1996 drama White Squall, with Jeff Bridges. After that role, he got a crap-ton of work, mostly in teen and young adult fare like Nowhere, I Know What You Did Last Summer, 54, and Cruel Intentions, which is probably his most famous role.

So what’s he up to now?
Ryan Phillippe now

He never stopped working after Cruel Intentions, but I have never heard of any of the stuff he’s been in, all the way till The Lincoln Lawyer with Matthew McConnaughey in 2011. He’s currently got two films in production, and looks like he’ll be trying his luck on the small screen. He’s working on a pilot for a mystery show called Secrets & Lies with Juliette Lewis.

 

Robert Sean Leonard

The first time I saw Robert was in Swing Kids. We watched it in history class while I was in high school. I liked him so much that I went on to find more of his movies, going all the way back to his first starring role in 1987’s My Best Friend is a Vampire, which is indeed as silly as it sounds, and it’s awesome! hehe He also had notable roles in Dead Poets Society (don’t forget the kleenex for this one), Much Ado About Nothing, and Killer: A Journal of Murder.

So what’s he up to now?
Robert Sean Leonard now

He worked steadily till 1998, and then roles started to come much less frequently. But then, in 2004, he hit the small screen jackpot, landing the role of Dr James Wilson on the medical drama House, which ran eight seasons. This year he joined the cast of the sci-fi show Falling Skies, which is in its fourth season.

 

River Phoenix

The first film that really made me notice River Phoenix was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (which is still my favourite of the franchise). He wasn’t in the film for very long, as he was playing the young Indy, but he was memorable. He started acting when he was 12, and soon showed that he was very talented, blowing everyone away with his role in Stand By Me, among others. He even got an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his work in My Own Private Idaho, which he should have won. He worked on 1 to 4 projects a year, until 1993.

So what’s he up to now?
River Phoenix

Unfortunately, River’s addictions got the better of him, and in the wee hours of the morning on October 31, 1993, he collapsed outside of the Los Angeles nightclub The Viper Room (partially owned at that time by Johnny Depp, who was a good friend of River’s). He was pronounced dead at 1:51AM, at Cedars-Sinai hospital. The official cause of death was “heart failure due to acute multiple drug intoxication”. He was only 23.

 

Noah Hathaway

After making a bunch of commercials (he started when he was three), he finally broke through and got his first real acting job at the age of 7 in the sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica. After doing that show for two years, he got few other small roles, mostly TV guest spots, until he struck gold in 1984, when he won the role of Atreyu in the classic The NeverEnding Story. He worked steadily for the next two years (most notably in the weird fantasy flick Troll, where he played a character called *gasp!* Harry Potter!!), but he was never able to recapture the success that he had with The NeverEnding Story.

So what’s he up to now?
Noah Hathaway now

He stopped acting completely in 1986, only taking one role in 1996. He opened a dance studio for a while, but stopped after an injury. He went on to get a black belt in Kempo Karate and did some competitions. He married, and later he and his wife opened a shop in California building and fixing “chopper” motorcycles. He occasionally still does appearances in fan expos and conventions. He’s recently decided to give acting another try, doing one project a year since 2012, starting with the odd crime film Sushi Girl.

 

Nick Carter

Nick Carter began his career wanting to be an actor. He did lots of auditioning and landed a few commercials. He also got a bit part in Edward Scissorhands. But it was to be a music career that would rocket him to fame. In 1992, with little Nick a mere 12 years old, the Backstreet Boys are formed. In May 1993, they had their first live gig in Orlando. They recorded their first single We’ve Got It Going On a few months after that. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So what’s he up to now?
Nick Carter Now

He’s made two solo albums, both of which sold relatively well. He made a reality show called House of Carters with all 4 of his siblings. It only lasted one season. He was recently back on tour with the Backstreet Boys for a reunion tour for them along with the New Kids on the Block. This year, he recorded a duet album with Jordan Knight (from NKOTB), called Nick & Knight, and they’re due to start touring in September.

 

Nicholas Brendon

Nicholas won my heart the second I saw him, way back in 1997, in season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And it really was the best episode for me to see first. It was the Xander-centric episode The Pack, where he and four bullies are possessed by evil hyena spirits. And of course I’ve been hooked ever since (to both Buffy and Nicky, hehe).

So what’s he up to now?
Nicholas Brendon now

While he’s never been able to recreate the success he had during Buffy‘s seven year run, he’s always kept busy. He’s done voice-over work for video games (mostly Buffy games), and tons of guest spots on various TV shows. Then, in 2007, he got a permanent spot (albeit a small one) on the FBI drama Criminal Minds, as Penelope Garcia’s boyfriend, fellow FBI hacker Kevin Lynch. He’s trying his luck on the big screen again (past efforts are better left untalked about) with the thriller Indigo. There’s also a TV show in the works with a 2015 release date called Chainsaw Sally, which looks to be a horror comedy, starring a few other actors known for horror and fantasy, including Debbie Rochon and Tristan Risk.

 

Jason & Jeremy London

I may be cheating a little here, but really, you can’t talk about one London brother and not the other. While Jason made his name on the big screen with his iconic role as Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd in Dazed and Confused, Jeremy mostly stuck to the small screen, making many guest appearances in all genres of show, and his most known role, that of Griffin Holbrooke on the drama Party of Five, which ran for 6 years, 5 of which Jeremy was in. He didn’t make that many jumps to the big screen, but his most famous movie role is Mallrats, which, I kid you not, I’d always thought was Jason in the role! I found out it was actually Jeremy literally two seconds ago. Way to go, me. But while he wasn’t in that particular film, Jason was in many others, including Man in the Moon, Blood Ties, and the fabulous To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar. After Party of Five ended in 2002, Jeremy floundered about for two years, until he got a recurring role on the drama 7th Heaven, which lasted two years.

So what are they up to now?
Jason & Jeremy London Now

Both of them have tons of projects in their film-and-tv-ographies, Jason a ton and a half, but I can recognize literally about 1 out of 12 titles, and even less titles that I’ve actually seen. Most recently, Jason has a small role in the crime drama Untold, and Jeremy was in a sci-fi show called Dark Rising: Warrior of Worlds, neither of which I knew existed. On the horizon, Jeremy has nine projects (one movie completed, seven in post-production, and one merely announced), Jason has seven (two completed, four in post-production, and one currently filming). And out of all these, there’s only one that looks even remotely interesting, a TV show inspired by the story of Jack the Ripper called 7 Faces of Jack the Ripper. I’m not sure how good it’ll be, if it’s good at all, cause the acting in the trailer is pretty atrocious…

 

Ethan Embry

Ethan has an oddball look (and personality to match), but I always thought it was a charming oddball look. If I’m not mistaken, the first time I saw him was in Empire Records, which was, and remains, the teen film to top all teen films. But that, in 1995, was hardly his first rodeo, having done 10 projects before it (none that I’ve actually heard of, but that’s besides the point). After that, his popularity sky-rocketed, and he made two, three, sometimes up to six projects a year till 2003. First, teen films (White Squall, That Thing You Do!, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Disturbing Behaviour), and then more adult roles more suited to his age. Most of his work after 1998 is on TV, either as a show regular, as in the detective drama Dragnet, or as a guest star, of which he did many.

So what’s he up to now?
Ethan Embry Now

Ethan never stopped working, but looking through the list of projects (both TV and film), I only recognize a few names, and even the ones I recognized I haven’t seen. I think the only thing I’ve seen him in recently(ish) is Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, in which he only had a small part. He was a regular in season 2 of the fantasy show Once Upon a Time (which I find boring as heck, but anyways..). He’s got four projects on the way, two completed, one in post-production, and one in pre-production.

And that’s all she wrote!! And in this case, she’s me. I’m the she, and that’s all I wrote. I’m finished, is what I’m saying here :-p

Enjoy my list? Who were your favourite teen heartthrobs? Let me know in the comments!! 🙂

M.

The Alphabet Movie Challenge – A to M

I’ve seen a few of these movie challenges floating around the intarwebs, so I thought it’d be fun to do, so I picked one in the bunch and started my picture hunting. And since it’s so long, I decided to do it in two goes (cause I’m a giant lazy-ass). Without further ado, here’s A to M in my Alphabet Movie Challenge. Enjoy! 🙂

A
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I’m a big superhero movie fan, especially the X-Men. Actually Marvel in general. DC movies (with the obvious exception of The Dark Knight) are kinda dull. Despite his awesome powers, Superman is actually pretty boring, but that’s not the point here. I’ve loved all the X-Men films (Even The Last Stand, which everybody seems to have hated, I dunno, I loved it), so I’m really, really looking forward to this one. It should tide me over on superheros till Avengers 2 comes out next year.

B
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This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s an amazing story, I can’t believe it hasn’t been turned into a film yet. Actually, now that I think of it, I don’t think any of Robert R McCammon‘s books have been made into films. It’s such a shame, too, cause his books are mostly awesome and, in the right hands, would make amazing films. I wonder if it’s the author who just doesn’t want his books “messed up” by a film-maker…

C
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I don’t think I really need to explain this one. Robert Downey Jr is just simply the coolest cat on the planet, and I’d like to say howdy.

D
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I may be cheating a little here since this pairing already happened, but really, this is the best actor/director pairing that could ever happen. Joss Whedon‘s writing fits RDJ like a glove. I sincerely hope that they’ll have a long career of working together (without becoming as predictable and tired as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp).

E
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I decided to forego all the obvious classics, and reccomend something that may be a little less known. The Ghost and Mrs Muir is an absolutely lovely story about a young widow who moves into a new house to find that it’s haunted by a handsome, if a little rough around the edges, sailor. After the initial shock of finding a ghost in her house, the woman comes to care deeply for the ghost, and he her. If you haven’t seen this wonderful little film, I really reccomend it.

F
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It may not be the franchise that has the most films in it (there’s only three), but its quality is unmatched. I don’t really think I need to explain why. If you’re one of the three people on the planet who haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy, go, now. Schnell!!

G
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I like a lot of different genres, but my favourite by far is horror. Fantasy comes in a close second.

H
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So, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert isn’t really a “hidden” film, I’m sure a good number of people have seen it, but I can’t really think of anything else off the top of my head. But, still, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who haven’t seen this yet, and to them I say: shame on you!! hehe This film is so fun and so touching all at the same time. Or watch it simply to see Agent Smith (and Lord Elrond) in drag :-p

I
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So I don’t really have a movie that helped me through a tough time, or really impacted my life in a huge way or anything like that, so I had a bit of trouble picking a movie for this category. So I went all the way back to when I was a wee little thing, to the first time I saw The Lost Boys. My mom bought it on good ol’ VHS when it came out, I was about 7 years old. She hid it instead of putting it with my other movies, telling me it was too scary for me. So, of course, when she wasn’t home I hunted for it till I found it and popped it into the machine. And there began my life-long love affair with vampires. Did my mother ever catch me watching it, you ask? Well, yes, she did. But not before I’d watched it so many times that I could recite almost the whole film word for word. Exasperated at me, she nevertheless let me watch whatever I wanted from that moment on, since it obviously wasn’t giving me the nightmares she’d promised I’d get after watching.

J
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Another little cheat here, but really, can you blame me? It’s not like there’s only one film I ever watch when it’s raining. But Netflix is perfect for those rainy/lazy/sick/sleepy days. With tens of thousands of movies and shows to pick from, slacking off has never been easier! hehe

K
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There was absolutely no way that I was going to be able to choose a single film for this one. There are so many awesome films from my childhood, and I still watch them all. And I’ve got my own child now, and I’m enjoying watching him enjoying them now. They don’t make ’em like this any more. Such a shame.

L
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Obviously. I wouldn’t bring beer, but oh, to sit on the moon looking out at the Earth. Or to float around space, seeing all the majesty of the planets, stars and everything else in the universe. In a protective bubble, of course. I want to see the majesty, not have it murder me.

M
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I had to sit and think about this one. I binge watch stuff often, but rarely do I do it with movies. In fact, I always wait till the end of a season to watch the shows I like, so I can watch as many as I want, without the frustration of waiting a week (or more) to know what happens next. But every so often I’ll watch a few movies in a row, and when I do, it’ll invariably be one of these.

That’s it for now, hope you enjoyed!

Stay tuned for part two, N to Z, coming soon(ish), hehe. No, but really, I’ll try kick myself in the butt to get it done. I’m such a lazy bones…. :-p

M.