Skip to content

Fun Friday–Favorite Fantasy Series/Movies

Friday, August 29, 2008

The winner of this week’s critique is Alexandra R. Congrats, Ally!


“Still round the corner there may wait,
a new road or a secret gate.”
~J. R. R. Tolkien

My definition of fantasy is slightly different from AFI’s based on some of the movies they had listed as fantasy instead of SciFi. As a writer, I believe that all storytelling is an exercise in fantasy. But there are storytellers who take it further and make up their own settings and give us characters with special abilities or supernatural talents. So here are my favorites—again, combining TV and movies:

5. LOST (2004–2010, ABC Studios)
Starring Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell, Henry Ian Cusick, and many more. This is why I had to include TV in this topic—because this is my favorite TV series of all time. Why is it fantasy? Well, if you watched the end of the fourth season, you’d know why this now falls firmly in the realm of fantasy.

4. The Mummy/The Mummy Returns (1999, 2001, Universal Pictures)
Starring Brendan Fraser, John Hannah, Rachel Weisz, Oded Fehr, and Arnold Vosloo. Not being a fan of horror/thriller movies, I waited to see the first one of these films until it came out on DVD—so that I could stop it if it got too scary for me. Of course, I felt pretty silly for thinking that once I actually watched it. Brendan Fraser plays Brendan Fraser in this film that’s almost a send-up of the adventurer/treasure-hunter films of the 1930s/40s. The dialogue is witty and snappy (and occasionally a bit melodramatic, but in a good way), and the graphics are pretty good until we get to the end of the second movie and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appears as a poorly computer-generated scorpion/man hybrid monster. But in a way, it just adds to the fun. I can’t rightly add the third film (Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) to this list, because even though it’s a fun movie to watch, it just doesn’t match these two for entertainment value (and Oded Fehr isn’t in it).

3. Ladyhawke (1985, Fox).
Starring Rutger Hauer, Michelle Pfeifer, and Matthew Broderick. I’ve mentioned this film twice before on the blog: once on Favorite Medieval Movies and once on Best On-Screen Kisses. I fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it as a teenager. Typically, if I heard “Matthew Broderick in a medieval-fantasy movie,” I would laugh and pass on by. But with the gravitas brought to the roles of Navarre and Isabeau by Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeifer, Matthew Broderick’s character (Mouse) brings a much-needed comic relief to the story. Though the music has not aged well, this is a classic for the ages.

2. The Harry Potter Series (2001–2011, Warner Bros.)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Gary Oldman, and many, many more. I love the books. I love the movies. That doesn’t usually happen. Typically, I’ll either like the book better than the movie (like with Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games) or I’ll like the movie better than the book (like with Michael Crichton’s Timeline). But with the Harry Potter series, I anticipate each film’s release because they are so well-done. Even when the movie deviates from the books, it isn’t as bothersome as it could be (as it is with adaptations of Jane Austen’s novels), mostly because it’s just so wonderful to see Rowling’s fantastic world brought to life. The movies are like checking in to make sure that as I read the books, I’m picturing everything and everyone properly. I know there’s a lot of controversy over these books in Christian circles, but I have to defend the powerful message of good versus evil, and the theme that no living person can become more powerful than death no matter how much magic he possesses. The sixth film (Half-Blood Prince) was originally scheduled for this November, but apparently they decided it could make more money as a summer release, so it’s been pushed back to summer 2009:

1. Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003, NewLine Cinema)
Starring Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Sean Bean, David Wenham, KARL URBAN, Miranda Otto, Liv Tyler, Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee, and a cast of hundreds. Though I had a really hard time reading the books, filmmaker Peter Jackson’s take on Tolkien’s classic trilogy is, in my opinion, the best fantasy movies that have ever been made.

  1. Friday, August 29, 2008 9:13 am

    Kaye, I want you to know that I’m trying very, very hard right now to abstain from incredibly unfriendly language. TIMELINE IS TERRIBLE. When did you even read the book!? It’s not even a competition! Paul Walker might as well be Ben Stein’s son considering his two note range for line delivery. He can barely support other actors let alone lead as one. Even if Paul Walker wasn’t single-handedly sabotaging any integrity the movie might have had, the story is just a horrible mess that barely has anything to do with the original. The cinematography doesn’t even look good! BAD CALL.

    Now that that’s off my chest, I agree with the top two choices for sure (just not some of the parenthetical comments in #2 ;-)), and LOST is awesome, so my only complaint would be that it isn’t a little higher.

    I love The Mummy series for what it is so I’m not really against its inclusion, but I think Stardust is sadly missing and would’ve been a much better choice for that spot.

    I’ve never even heard of Ladyhawke. It looks really cheesy, but I try not to judge movies too much until I’ve actually seen them.


  2. Friday, August 29, 2008 9:40 am

    Love Ladyhawke, Love LOTR, and Love The Mummy series. You’re right, number 3 in the Mummy series (I refuse to even consider the Scorpion King or its sequel as part of the Mummy series) wasn’t as good…possibly because of the ommission of Oded Fehr…but I will get it on DVD so I can complete my collection. 🙂


  3. Friday, August 29, 2008 10:17 am

    Great post. I’d probably stick Stardust in that list somewhere in my own top five, but can’t argue with your choices!


  4. Friday, August 29, 2008 11:12 am

    Oh, Caleb. Timeline is so NOT about Paul Walker. Paul Walker could be left completely out of the movie and I couldn’t care less. Timeline is ALL about Gerard Butler. But you will notice that though it’s mentioned in this post, it’s not part of this post!

    And you really need to see Ladyhawke. Even though the trailer makes it look cheesy (and the music is), it’s a wonderful movie.


  5. Friday, August 29, 2008 11:20 am

    It IS part of this post by default of being mentioned in this post. That’s like the definition of being part of this post, though it may be a very small part. It’s such a bold, unfair statement that attention must be drawn to it.

    And Paul Walker is the main character and the vast majority of the movie revolves around him. Gerard Butler’s sidestory cannot save it. That’s like saying The Return of the King was about Faromir or the Harry Potter movies are about Hermoine.


  6. Friday, August 29, 2008 11:20 am

    I’ll see Ladyhawke someday. I just don’t know when.


  7. Friday, August 29, 2008 11:28 am

    Ha! The Mummy. I so loved those two movies!

    My Fantasy List:
    1. Angel (hands down, no questions asked my favorite)
    2. X-Files (I know this could/should go with sci-fi)
    3. Charmed (yes I own all 8 seasons, if fact Charmed is what got me started writing! Seriously. The very first thing I ever wrote was a fan fiction piece for Charmed.)
    4. Stardust (the movie, and the book, and the score)
    5. Smallville



  8. Jess permalink
    Friday, August 29, 2008 1:31 pm

    I definitely want to check out Ladyhawke now!


  9. Friday, August 29, 2008 1:47 pm

    I think I must totally block out any Timeline scene that doesn’t have Gerard Butler in it. 😛

    And Faramir rules. 🙂


  10. Friday, August 29, 2008 1:59 pm

    Hermoine rules too, but that doesn’t make her the center of the movie.


  11. Friday, August 29, 2008 4:20 pm

    It all depends on one’s perspective. That’s all I’m saying… 😛


  12. Friday, August 29, 2008 5:31 pm

    I guess I just have higher standards than accepting a decent secondary character as a redeeming quality for a movie that’s 60% garbage, 30% meh, and 100% worse than the book. That adds up to 190% not worth watching and that’s shouldn’t even be mathematically possible.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: