Which fantasy films cost the most
Unicorns in danger, brave princes and the fiery eye of Sauron: This is the attempt to carve the best fantasy films of all time on a digital stone tablet. Contradiction is pointless.
"No! Never! ”I yelled when I was asked to write this list for Tor Online. I howled like a beaten dog and my fingernails left bloody marks on the marble floor when I was dragged in front of the PC by the Torans to commit myself to fifteen fantasy films. Only fifteen! Any times? An impossibility! Or?
In order to be able to limit the selection of fantasy films in any way, I will focus on real films, which unfortunately leaves out some very good animes and cartoons. It breaks my heart, believe me. My conscience is less bad with the superheroes. Since the beginning of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” at the latest, this sub-genre has burst at the seams so much that it deserves its own list along with classics and DC films.
Since the boundaries between science fantasy and horror are fluid anyway, films like Starwars, or. Interview with the Vampire do not show up. And whoever is crying bitter tears because he Pirates of the Caribbean or Indiana Jones couldn't find it in the list yet - don't worry! Despite their fantastic aspects, they get their place of honor in the "List of the Best Adventure Movies of All Time", which is also on my desk.
So, here are the films, which for the most part go in the direction of “classic fantasy” and trigger that certain “fantasy gut feeling”. They are sometimes heroic, often fairytale and always magical. They are the evergreens that have forever been anchored in pop culture.
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15th place: The Neverending Story (1984) by Wolfgang Petersen
Wolfgang Petersen only filmed the first half of Michael Ende's book, but the result still seems like a fairy tale to me today. Without any noteworthy computer effects, all the mythical creatures had to be built and brought to life electronically. Nevertheless, the rock-biter, the lucky dragon Fuchur or the ancient giant tortoise Morla leave a lasting impression. The timeless story about Bastian's quest to save the realm of fantasy enchanted, amazed and sometimes even scared me as a child. The sphinxes, which looked into Atreyu's heart and could have killed him instantly with a beam, made me sink very deeply into the cinema seat.
14th place: Big Trouble in Little China (1986) by John Carpenter
To include the antihero with the great reflexes in this list should be arguable. For many, John Carpenter's excursion into Far Eastern mysticism with its sometimes silly rubber monsters and B-movie effects is simply trash. But here we are still dealing with cult trash that has left undeniable traces in pop culture. The undead wizard Lo Pan, the three storms and the six-demon pouch will circling through the ether of entertainment for a long time to come. And who the wonderfully goofy Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) can not close in his heart, he is anyway slowly crushed between old B-movie video cassettes in the "hell of fantasy banausen". So be careful!
Rank 13: The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) by Gordon Hessler
Sindbad's dangerous adventures may stand here as the best entry for a handful of Sindbad films that inspire our imagination with wondrous images from the Arabian Nights. But especially the trip from John Phillip Law (Sinbad) and the adorable one Caroline Munro Every fantasy film fan should have (Margiana) zum Schicksalsbrunnen in their film collection. The monsters that the evil magician Koura throws at the two of them with all his precious life energy is a real joy: From the little homunculus to a multi-armed statue, to centaurs and griffins, we experience Harryhausen at his best.
12th place: Legend (1985) by Ridley Scott
Although the film flopped at the time, it can now join the classy ranks of cult fantasy films. Obviously from Peter S. Beagles novel The Last Unicorn inspires, abducts us Legend into a fairytale world that visually dances back and forth between dream world and kitsch. But that is exactly what makes this forgotten jewel so charming. If you don't like the combination of the charisma of a very young Tom Cruise and almost cheap shock effects, you probably weren't born near the 80s. The appearance and portrayal of the devil in Legend are still unrivaled in the film world today.
11th place: Clash of the Titans (1981) by Desmond Davis
2010 dared Louis Leterrier to tarnish the memory of this milestone in stop-motion technology with an unspeakable remake. But Harryhausen's plasticine monsters were so much more coherent and terrifying than the sometimes very average computer effects. The fight against Medusa in particular was a goosebump moment in the classic that went down in history. To try to reconstruct this with the help of a stupid, giggling special effect that blinks the soldiers who have no plan and mirror shields out of their socks, is almost criminal. Better to travel back to 1981 and petrify the octopus with the retro Perseus.
10th place: Stardust (2007) by Matthew Vaughn
I have a feeling that the fairytale fantasy film The star wanderer something flew under the radar at the time. At least these days you hardly hear anyone about Tristan's search for the fallen star and his fight against Michelle Pfeiffer talk as the wicked witch Lamia. The film was produced by none other than Neil Gaiman (among others) and has a full cornucopia of fantasy to offer. Green magic witchcraft, Robert De Niro as the captain of a flying ship and lots of "swahbuckling action" make this film an indispensable fun ride.
9th place: Harry Potter (2001-2011) by vers. Directors
Yes, I admit it. The entry for Harry Potter on this list is pure fan service. I confess that I have neither read all the books nor seen all the films. But the phenomenon Harry Potter made too big waves in the world of fantasy to deserve a place on this list. And you really have to bow to how J.K. Rowling has managed to bring together all the myths and legends of this world and prepare them for a new generation of "Wiz Kids" in a new and fabulous way. Magic hat off!
8th place: The Hobbit (2012, 2013, 2014) by Peter Jackson
What happens if you try to roll out too little dough on a large baking sheet? Exactly, it gets very thin at every nook and cranny. I have An unexpected journey had a lot of fun and got goose bumps at the song of the dwarfs, so the fascination with each part subsided more. Not nearly as good as that Lord of the rings, of course, the Hobbit trilogy still belongs on this list. In retrospect, one or two films at most would have been more than enough to tell the bedtime story "The Hobbit".
7th place: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) by Guillermo del Toro
I have nothing but love for this dark fantasy film, the Guillermo del Toro once again recognized as an exceptional fantasy director. Against the background of military repression in the period after the Spanish Civil War, del Toro co-staged Pan's maze a disturbing and sometimes almost nightmarish mixture of drama and fantasy. Ten-year-old Ofelia has to suffer under the influence of her stepfather, the cruel captain Vidal. In order to process and overcome emotionally difficult phases, she flees into a dark fantasy world, in which her problems in the "horror of reality" can be solved through the tasks of magical beings. This dark variant of Alice in Wonderland is certainly not a film for children, but a masterpiece for adults.
6th place: Willow (1988) by Ron Howard
Long before we were allowed to accompany Bilbo on his travels, there was the replacement hobbit Willow. The hair-raising journey of Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis), in order to save Elora from the clutches of the cruel Queen Bavmorda, is - in the truest sense of the word - an adventurous sleigh ride that has everything: small brownies, a two-headed dragon, Val Kilmer as a loud-mouthed swordsman Madmartigan and a magic wand, the safe use of which is often a challenge for little Willow. Willow is what we fantasy fans got when it wasn't Lord of the rings gave. It was a simpler time. But no less beautiful.
5th place: Shape of Water (2017) by Guillermo del Toro
Del Toro has always been known for its dark and unconventional monster films. But with the wonderfully disturbing love between a mute cleaning lady and a gill man from the Amazon, he has temporarily put the Oscar-winning crown on his monster love and his cinematic work. A film that shows in beautiful shots, with the music of the 60s and against the background of the Cold War, how love overcomes all obstacles and racial boundaries, is simply much more than an homage to them Creature from the Black Lagoon. It is a modern fairy tale with aspirations that I am including in this list with love and a kiss.
4th place: Highlander (1986) by Russell Mulcahy
The charm of this martial fantasy film, the Christopher Lambert brought the breakthrough is complex. The contrast between the neon lights of New York and the cleverly staged flashbacks in a lightning-pregnant Scotland is the atmospherically incomparable basis of the film. And if then the Spanish peacock (Sean Connery), Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert) and the barbarian Kurgan (Clancy Brown) try to get to the music of Queen To knock the immortal turnip off each other's shoulders, then that's pure 80s pop culture (detailed Highlander Review).
3rd place: Conan the Barbarian (1982) by John Milius
The parents lost in a robbery, turned the wheel of pain for years and in the end turned the high priest's head down as a mountain of muscles. Many of us have experienced similar things. But the film adaptation of Conan's low-fantasy adventures has gone down in the history of fantasy films, especially through the legendary gross performance by Arnold Schwarzenegger and the epic soundtrack by Basil Poledouris (detailed Conan Review).
2nd place: The Princess ’Bride (1987) by Rob Reiner
This good-mood mixture of fairy tales and cloak-and-sword film belongs on this list like the hops to the malt. The love story between Westley and Buttercup, which is sweet to the point of silliness, and the funny dialogues make the difference The Princess ’Bride almost something like that Hot shots (1991) of fantasy films. Anyone who has never heard of the swordsman Inigo Montoya, the RVAGs (rats of extraordinary size) or the years-of-life-sucking machine in the “Pit of Despair” should catch up on this film as soon as possible (detailed review of the prince's bride).
1st place: The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003) by Peter Jackson
“Hotter than Potter” was what the media said back then when The Fellowship of the Ring, shortly after Harry Potter, came into theaters. For me it was more "wetter than Potter". Because when Gandalf rattled his cart to Hobbiton for the first time, tears flowed with gratitude. And also The Two Towers and The Return of the King elicited goose bumps and tears from me with pathos and breathtaking epic. The Lord of the rings (and its extended cuts) is something like the philosopher's stone for the world of fantasy films and with 17 Oscars it is probably the heavyweight of this list.
Really close to it - The Honorable Mentions:
The "puppet films": labyrinth (1986) and The Dark Crystal (1982) by Jim Henson. (Full review of The Dark Crystal).
Ladyhawke (1985) by Richard Donner. (Full Ladyhawke Review).
Dragonheart (1996) by Rob Cohen. (Full Dragonheart Review).
I can feel Harry Potter wands and dwarf throwing axes pointed at me. I would now like to slip over the One Ring and slur off the field. But instead I will drop my magical tower shield and bravely face your comments. What fantasy films has an evil wizard erased from my mind? Which film should be listed higher or lower? And does anyone know the secret of steel? Recipe or instructions are also welcome in the comments.
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