The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
“The Lord of the Rings” is the series that arguably revolutionized the fantasy genre with its incredible set pieces, memorable characters and grand action scenes. It follows many characters, but most importantly Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood), as he and his friend Sam (Sean Astin) travel to Mordor to destroy a ring so powerful that whoever wields it can control all of Middle-earth. Many fantasy stories that have come out since this series all try to capture that same magic that Lord of the Rings had. It’s one of those series where as soon as you finish one movie, you have to watch the rest so you get the full story. Though if you are going to watch these, be sure to have nothing going on that day because these movies are long, and that’s not including the extended editions. If you really like this series, consider watching The Hobbit prequel trilogy.
The Harry Potter Series
One thing to note about fantasy movies is that a lot of them tend to follow kids as the main characters. This series starts that way but ends with the characters almost adults. It matures as it goes along, dealing with darker stories and more action. This series follows the aforementioned Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) as he and his friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) attend a school for wizards called Hogwarts to magic and stop an evil wizard named Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). Aside from the memorable creatures and likable characters, this series also deals with things like family dilemmas and the pains of growing up. So, if you want a series that has action but also has a lot of character depth, then watch these movies.
Yes, there are sci-fi elements in this with aliens, droids, spaceships and weapons that shoot lasers, but still plenty of fantasy elements for this to count. There’s a mystical energy that controls everything, beings coming back as ghosts, magic swords and talks about destiny. The original trilogy follows Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as he tries to stop the evil galactic Empire. The groundbreaking nature of “A New Hope” upon its release cemented it in film history for years to come. The action, music, characters and creature designs make it not only stand out from other fantasy movies but makes you want to know more about this world and how it operates. If you want a fun, action-adventure fantasy, then this is for you. If you really enjoy it, there’s a prequel and sequel trilogy, along with a trove of video games, books and more.
One thing to note with fantasy movies is a lot of them tend to have the same look. There will be things that differ between them, but similarities abound. “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a movie that looks nothing like any other fantasy movie. Some of the sets and creature designs are very unique and imaginative, as well as turning horrific and violent on a dime. This movie follows a little girl named Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) who, while staying with her brutish army captain stepfather and pregnant mother, learns she must complete three tasks to fulfill her royalty as a princess and meet her true father. Highly regarded for its terrifying monsters and even more terrifying real world context, if you want a fantasy movie that really stands out, then see this.
‘The Wizard Of Oz’
You can’t talk about fantasy movies without mentioning this film. It’s been over 80 years since this film came out and people still talk about how much they love it. From the colorful world, to the lovable characters, to the songs that will be stuck in your head for weeks, this a movie that all generations enjoy. This movie follows a girl named Dorothy (Judy Garland) who is transported from Kansas to the land of Oz and must find the Wizard to return home. On her way she encounters a scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a tin man (Jack Haley), and a lion (Bert Lahr). If you want a fantasy movie that set the foundation for all other fantasy movies to come, “The Wizard of Oz” is a must-see.