Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fantasy movies: A list!!!

Over at World in the Satin Bag, S.M. Duke gives a list of his top ten fantasy movies. As always, I shall reproduce said list, with comment. Huzzah! (Cue the chirping of crickets...anyway....)

Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson)

Absolutely. This is probably the greatest fantasy film of all time. (Referring, of course, to all three films collectively, which is the only sensible way to think of them.) They're not without flaws, God knows, but the sheer edifice of the creative effort here is so massive as to render the flaws minimal by comparison. It's hard to imagine a production of this scale ever taking place again.


I think I watched this in college, but I'm not even sure if that's the case. I don't remember the movie being memorable. This movie tends to be particularly reviled by film music lovers, because its original score by Jerry Goldsmith – one of the finest he ever wrote – was replaced for the US release with a lesser score by Tangerine Dream.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

I'm fine with this being here; I loved the first movie and consider it one of the better cinematic adventures of the last ten years or so. Captain Jack Sparrow is virtually iconic. Now, I would note here that I don't hold the two sequels in nearly as low regard as most others seem to do; I think there's a lot of good stuff in those movies, and had they made one more pass at those scripts in the rewrite phase and recast Lord Cutler Beckett with an actor who had any screen presence whatsoever, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End would be viewed in a much better light.

The Wizard of Oz

Sure. I loved this movie when I was a kid, then I went through a long phase of thinking it was a piece of mawkish, sentimental rubbish. Then I watched it again in college and realized how full of crap I'd become. I'll never forget going with The Wife (she may have been The Girlfriend at the time) to see Wizard of Oz on the big screen.

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime)

Picking a Miyazaki film is hard! You have to have one; he's probably on a consistent basis the best fantasist working in film today. Oh hell, forever that "probably" – Hayao Miyazaki is the best cinematic fantasist alive today, and I could make a case for any of his films appearing on a "Top Ten Fantasy Movies" list. I'll go ahead and agree with this one, simply because Mononoke Hime is the first Miyazaki film I ever saw. It is a beautiful, challenging, magnificent movie.

Toy Story

Well...I suppose it gets mentioned because it's the first of Pixar's films, and yes, it's a wonderful, wonderful movie. But if I'm required to have a Pixar movie here – and the Pixar body of work is almost as good as Hayao Miyazaki's – I'd go with my personal favorite, Finding Nemo. That movie just hits my sweet spot in every possible way. I'm sure there's something wrong with it. I just don't know what that is.

The Princess Bride

How I remember first seeing this movie. The commercials on teevee made it look like a fun fantasy romp, so I was confused when the theater darkened and when the movie started we were in some sick kid's bedroom. What the hell kind of fantasy movie was this? Well, I sure found out. People who don't love this movie are sick, sick individuals who shouldn't be allowed to leave their homes for fear of infecting the populace.

The Neverending Story

I didn't like this movie, I'm sorry to say. It just didn't do it for me. Yeah, it's about the magic of reading and of imagination – but it's also boring.


Meh. I really loved it when it came out, but when I watched it again a few years ago, I didn't think it had aged well at all. It's very well made, and the acting is generally good, but the story is relentlessly derivative. It's watchable, and I don't hate it, but it's certainly not all that great.

Alice in Wonderland

Not really sure. I haven't seen it in a few years, and even then it was never one of my favorites. (We're talking about the animated Disney one, right? Was there another version out there somewhere?) For Disney, I'd cite Pinocchio, or better yet, my favorite Disney film, Peter Pan.

So, I'd probably replace five of the movies on this list. I already named two replacements, so I need three more, replacing Legend, Willow, and The Neverending Story. Well, then: let's go with The Thief of Baghdad for an old movie, Krull for an 80s fantasy flick (no, it's not that good, but I certainly like it better than Legend), and for a dark fantasy, The Sixth Sense (a movie I still like).


Charlie said...

I found this comment (from the linked article about Willow) particularly interesting - "Watching Willow again, after seeing the first two Lord of the Rings films, is not unlike following the reading of Tolkien's novels with those of Robert Jordan."

Truer words ne'er spoken, sir, although many of my immediate social acquaintances would hang me by my toes for presuming to insinuate that Tolkein deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Jordan (I know, I know). If you're looking for a post idea (and haven't already posted on the subject - if so, I'll cheerfully settle for a link), I'd be most interested in your thoughts on the Jordan oeuvre.

Kelly Sedinger said...

I'll add that to my list of "Ask Me Anything" questions. (It'll be a fairly short answer.)

Kimie Hime - The Changeling said...

I think The Mists of Avalon is the greatest fabtasy movie of all time, and it's not even on the list :(