In the next few months, Alex and I will be intermittently posting reviews and articles about the fantasy genre. Following the closure to the most successful film series of all time, Harry Potter, we want to analyze a few of the films that may have influenced Rowling and the many filmmakers that brought the epic eight film franchise to the screen.
We also want to expose some undervalued classics to those who only think of Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings when fantasy comes to mind. As fun as those films are, one mustn’t forget the great, poetic works of art that founded the genre, long before it became the cultural associations like Dungeons and Dragons and Eragon distorted the artistic potential of fantasy.
Throughout the marathon, we will examine what defines fantasy, the different kinds of fantasy, and how it has progressed throughout the history of film. Some of the films we will cover are: Being John Malkovich, Juliet of the Spirits, Brazil, and The Wizard of Oz.
First up, however will be my Criterion Collection DVD review of Jean Cocteau’s masterpiece, La Belle et La Bete, better known as Beauty and the Beast. This 1946 classic is the reason I wanted to do the marathon in the first place. It possesses the kind of poetic magic and awe that I think has been lost in fantasy. It lets the imagination do half the work. It only seems appropriate that the film gets the royal treatment, the week we decide to start this.
With only a little “childlike simplicity,” the world of fantasy can be opened up far beyond the realms of nerdy absurdity that usually define it, and into something more: art.
What are some of your favorite films? Which would you most like to see us review?