Motion pictures have always been considered a way to escape the dreariness of the everyday ordinary. That’s why people have a love-hate relationship with this particular genre as it is not just for kids nor is it only for grownups. While fantasy movies do allow local and global viewers a good dose of the superhero, magic, and all kinds of imaginative extravaganza, that takes them supposedly light-years away. However, not all fantasy movies are about epic battles, enigmatic riddles, or superheroes saving the world. Sometimes, it is just about the basics coming alive through symbolic emblems that mean a lot more than expected. Why not go through the selective list below and see if any of the below-mentioned fantasy movies left a mark on your psyche?
Genre(s): American Fantasy, Action, Adventure
Synopsis: ‘The Mummy’ is a remake of the 1932 movie with the same name. Under Stephen Sommers’ direction, this one took audiences by surprise. The action-packed fantasy adventure is set in the 1920s and follows the journey of Rick O’Connell, an Indiana-Jones kind of voyager, who travels to the Ancient City of Hamunaptra in Egypt with the aspiring Egyptologist/Librarian, Evelyn Carnahan, and her brother Jonathan. Hamunaptra, literally translated into The City of Dead, has been dormant for centuries but as various tourists and explorers reach the city, more to take some of the ancient treasures, they inadvertently awaken the cursed Imhotep, a priest with extraordinary supernatural powers.
As the modern-day dwellers along with the native inhabitants try to control the horror that is unleashed with the reawakening of the monster coming alive again, none are sure, if they will walk out alive or not. Ultimately, leaving it up to Rick, Evelyn, and Jonathan to bring the curse back in control and restore peace in the region. The terrific visual effects included the cast and crew facing actual dehydration, desert storms, and even encountering reptiles such as snakes sprouting on-location while the movie was shot in the Sahara Desert, Morocco, and some locations in the U.K. Even though the movie development was slow with the principal preparation changing multiple times over the years, the movie was an instant box-office success as audiences fell in love with the adventurous yet romantic version of the original pitch.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery
Synopsis: Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts opens with the escape of the deranged prisoner, Sirius Black, who is the right-hand of Lord Voldemort. Black is feared for obvious reasons but moreover, it is believed that the reason for his escape is to seek revenge from the now thirteen-year-old Harry Potter. Since no one has ever escaped from the wizard prison, Azkaban, this is a frightening first for the wizarding world. However, Rowling’s beloved trio, Harry, Ron, and Hermione have greater issues to tackle than finding Black on their own. There is Malfoy’s case against Hagrid and his dearly loved Hippogriff, Buckbeak, Harry’s fear of the Dementors, and much-needed trip(s) to the nearby student village, Hogsmeade. More so, the constant bickering between his two best friends over their pets, Hermione’s full timetable, raging hormones, Quidditch, Professor Trelawney’s eccentric Divination class, Professor Lupin’s DA class, and the private class with Lupin ensure that Harry doesn’t have much time to think about Black.
Nonetheless, Black does find Harry and finds out his surprising connection with Black. The Prisoner of Azkaban stands out in the HP series for obvious reasons. Firstly, this installment in the Harry Potter franchise truly belongs to the Spanish film director, Alfonso Cuarón, who brings a subtle dark undertone to a squeaky-clean storyline, set by Chris Columbus in the previous two installments. After Columbus stepped away for personal reasons from the HP franchise, Cuarón took up the challenge to direct the third one. Unlike other HP movies, the third movie saw several changes: Michael Gambon replaced Richard Harris, who played the much-loved Principal of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, while this was the last time, the music composer John Williams was directly involved in the movie’s music direction. But in some ways or other, Cuarón’s picture of Rowling’s Hogwarts is dismal yet much closer to the visual description written in the books. Yet it was this singular novel, which has successfully stood the test of time.
Beauty and the Beast
Genre(s): Musical, Romantic, Fantasy
Synopsis: ‘The Beauty and the Beast’ is a beloved fairytale based on the notion: never judge a book by its cover. Considered a masterpiece, it is also known for other universal themes that it projects: truth versus falsehood and good versus evil among many others. Innumerable versions of Beauty and the Beast have been crafted and produced over the years; the most popular ones, being the animated and the live-action movie produced under the banner of Walt Disney. The Beauty and the Beast is one story that remains a cult classic. Yet it is a paradox, for the simplicity of the story combined with the myriad of layers it offers, continues to stay relevant to audiences, new and old.
One rainy night, an enchantress disguised as an old woman turns up at the doorstep of a castle, she is turned out by a proud young prince because she is old, ugly, and simply hideous. Unbeknownst to the Prince that the woman he has just turned out is a sorceress, he is cursed by her to become the ugly beast that he truly is. The young prince is meant to live as the horrible beast until he finds true love. But within a deadline – before the last petal falls. However, the beast soon gets a chance to make amends when an eccentric clockmaker is lost and comes across the old castle, where the prince and now a beast reside. Unfortunately, on his way back home, he commits a crime – picks a red rose for his daughter, Belle, since this is all that she has asked for. Imprisoned for his crime, Belle knows something is wrong when the horse turns up empty without its master at their residence. Taking up her father’s place in the dungeons in return for his freedom, a completely new world is revealed to Belle.
Is Belle ‘the one to break the spell?’ Will she ever see beyond the fearsome façade of the Beast and find the gentle yet sensitive side as claimed by his animated servants? What about Gaston, Belle’s cocky yet relentless suitor, who does not see Belle as a human being with dreams in her eyes and a mind of her own? Watch the beloved live-action version of the fairytale on Select TV and find out whether the Beast turns back into the Prince or lives the hideous horror of loneliness, forever.
To end things off, while fantasy films are meant to transport viewers to another faraway land, sometimes they help us to transport to stories, which are hidden in our heart. After all, Maya Angelou did get it right when said, ‘If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities’. And that’s what these movies do, take the audiences somewhere, where they haven’t ever been before. And make them feel things that they have never felt before.