Introducing the Fantasy Film Marathon!

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?

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  • “Being John Malkovich” might be in my top 10, so that should be fun to read. I would like to see some stuff on Miyazaki’s numerous brilliant contributions to the fantasy genre. “Spirited Away” is his most famous, but “Princess Mononoke” is in my opinion his masterpiece (followed closely by “My Neighbor Totoro”).

    As always, looking forward.

  • Froggy13

    Willy Wonka and the Chocalate Factory
    Edward Scissorhands
    The Nightmare Before Christmas
    The Neverending Story
    The Seventh Seal
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    The Princess Bride
    Fanny and Alexander
    Groundhog Day
    Adventures of Baron M…

  • Joseph Bridges

    Labrinth (Henson)
    Hook (Spielberg)
    The Princess Bride (Reiner)
    Jumanji (Johnstone)
    Willow (Howard)
    Time Bandits (Gilliam)
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Gilliam/Jones)

  • Jose

    Pan’s Labyrinth and
    Where the Wild Things Are

  • @Froggy13, I’m not sure how you see ‘Fanny and Alexander’ as fantasy, although it certainly is a favorite at Film Misery. We did that one for our 12 Days of Christmas marathon. ‘Groundhog Day’ is an excellent choice to show off a different form of fantasy though. And I love that one. Also, ‘Baron Munchaussen’ is a n original choice. However, we are covering Gilliam with ‘Brazil.’ Great, helpful list though, I’d forgotten about many of those films.

    ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ seems quite popular, I think we may have to do that one. Also, good call ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ Jose. I adore that film as well.

    It amazes me what an all-encompassing genre fantasy is.

  • I think it would be interesting to hear your definition of “fantasy” at least as you are viewing it in regards to this film marathon. Personally, I put Star Wars into the fantasy genre, though it wears some of the tropes of science fiction to disguise itself. I would be keen to hear your thoughts on the following films as well:

    A Chinese Ghost Story
    Conan the Barbarian (original)
    Conan the Barbarian (2011 remake)
    Hawk the Slayer

  • We are keeping the definition pretty open. Like I said, we want to explore the different types of fantasy. ‘Groundhog Day,’ It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and ‘The Purple Rose of Cairo’ cover a more realist kind of fantasy, whereas ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ are literally fairy tales.

    ‘Star Wars’ could be considered fantasy, although I usually draw a line between science fiction and fantasy. Even the less scientific films. ‘Brazil’ will be exploring a bit of that territory.

    That is one of the more eccentric lists I’ve seen.

  • Jose

    Don’t forget how The Star Wars Saga is considered by some to be a western for some reason, I find that quite odd.

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