After going through last week’s list, I decided to do something different with this week’s list. I decided to ask some friends to weigh in and tell me why I should see the following list of movies. Okay, I mostly asked Micah and got some input from other folks as well. So, here’s my list of fantasy movies I just haven’t seen yet, but I totally well someday. Eventually.
11. The Curious Case of Benjamin-Button (2008)
“Curious Case an interesting ride. Makes no goddamn sense, but it’s a fascinating treatment of a very weird “what if”.” – Rebecca
10. Wings of Desire (1987)
An angel falls in love with a human and decides to become mortal in order to be with her.
“A Franco-German love story beautifully rendered by director Wim Wenders. This is a film you experience more than you try to pick apart. It’s all about impressions and emotion. Great cinematography and storytelling. Avoid, AVOID, A-V-O-I-D the American remake, City of Angels (1998).” – Micah (Too late, Micah, I’ve already seen the American remake. Don’t get me started on that.)
9. Trollhunter (2010)
I know next to nothing about this film. So, I’ll let Micah speak to it as only he knows how.
8. Russian Ark (2002)
I couldn’t get anyone to comment on this movie. I’ve just seen it everywhere on lists of great films, particularly due to the fact that it was shot in one single take. The fourth one. Yeah. I said it. One take. It’s about a Russian aristocrat who takes a tour through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters figures from 200+ years of Russian history. Neat, no?
7. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
This is the Robin Hood movie that defined all Robin Hood movies. At least that’s what I’ve heard. I’m assuming that I don’t need to give you the plot for Robin Hood. Here’s Micah’s two-cents:
“Every Robin Hood depiction (and in many cases, every swashbuckling epic) since has in no small way references this film. Not only that, it’s a rip-roaring good time. Errol Flynn was THE action hero of his day, and the knowledge that he (like Douglas Fairbanks before him) just went out and DID this stuff when they shot it makes it all the more amazing to see. Plus, the lush costumes and sets are brilliant in their vibrantly rendered Technicolor.” – Micah
6. The Extraordinary Adventures Adèle Blanc-Sec (2010)
I remember seeing this trailer and I was all: “Dude! This looks so awesome and Steampunk and there’s a lady adventurer and a pterodactyl! Sweet!” I haven’t seen it yet, though. Basically, it’s about an adventuring novelist and her exploits.
“Victorian female Indiana Jones vs. a Pterodactyl. Do I really need to go further? Fine. From the same visionary director of the 5th Element, this comic book adaptation doesn’t get to the lofty insanity of his earlier film, but it’s still quite the good time. Besides, victorian female Indiana Jones vs. a Pterodactyl.” – Micah
5. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
When this came out, I remember rolling my eyes. I don’t know why because it’s Dreamworks. I don’t remember, but anyway, after he was framed for a theft he didn’t commit, Sinbad has to retrieve it, clear his name, and save the life of a childhood friend.
“Dreamworks’ final 2D animated feature was a spectacularly lush visual love letter to the Harryhausen classics like The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts. The creature designs were fantastically animated in 3D and well integrated into the 2D, the story was a fun bit of nonsense, and all of the voice actors were having a blast. It’s a real shame this bombed at the box office as hard as it did, because I would have loved to see the franchise continue…as opposed to the Pirates of the Caribbean which came out the same year.” – Micah (That reminds me of how I felt about The Road to El Dorado not doing so well at the box office.)
4. The City of Lost Children (1995)
This one just slipped my radar. I remember seeing stuff about it and I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Now, I really do. I mean, it’s got Ron Perlman in it. I love that guy. The movie’s about a scientist who kidnaps children to steal their dreams with the hopes that they’ll slow the aging process.
“Spectacular imagery, great music, and a bizarre french fairy tale about a mad scientist who, since he’s incapable of doing so himself, kidnaps children to steal their dreams. This was an early appearance of true Steampunk on the screen to make it to the states.” – Micah
3. Princess Mononoke (1997)
This movie has been on my to-watch list for a long while. I keep not watching it, though. It’s about man vs. nature, curses, magic, and spirits.
“This was my first experience with Miyazaki, and needless to say I was blown away. fantastic animation, and great art combined with a truly transportive story that was ahead of its time in terms of dealing with environmental issues. Ostensibly about the prince Ashitaka, I’m all about San. Because frankly, she’s a badass.” – Micah
2. Dragonslayer (1981)
When Micah asked me if I’d seen this movie about a wizard’s apprentice who’s sent to slay a dragon, he was shocked and appalled that I hadn’t seen it yet. Truth be told, I’m appalled that I haven’t seen it yet. It sounds like it’s right up my alley.
“Stop motion animation hit its pinnacle with this film. Using a technique the artists called “Go Motion”, they animated the dragon in the film by shifting the camera slightly with every movement, creating a motion blur. To date, it’s still one of the most impressive dragons to ever hit the screen and seeing it back in 1981 on the big screen was something to behold (I was 7 and terrified).
Sure, the plot is a bit wonky, but it does have some non-traditional twists and turns. Plus, in an interesting twist, the female characters had their own initiative and were pretty cool (even the “damsel in distress” was interesting). Also: early Peter MacNicol. As a heroic figure. That happened.” – Micah
1. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
I have wanted to see this movie for forever. I just haven’t had the opportunity, I guess. I don’t know. It’s referenced everywhere. I frequent a lot of t-shirt a day sites and there are a ton of shirts on them from this movie about two girls and their adventures with the forest spirits that live near the home of their ailing mother.
“My Neighbor Totoro is classic Miyazaki. It is probably the most beautifully animated anime film in existence. It has the happy, innocent charm that you can find with Winnie the Pooh. Did you know that Pixar are huge Miyazaki nerds, and there’s even a reference in Toy Story 3? Anyway, it’s about family living in the country, and is as natury loving as a Tolkien piece. It is super feel good. You will walk away singing ‘To-to-ro to-to ro!'” – Carolyn
“You should definitely see My Neighbor Totoro! It’s weird and sweet and just a little bit melancholy, and altogether awesome. An excellent example of Hiyao Miyazaki’s brilliance. Also, there’s a catbus. It’s completely bizarre, and somewhat disturbing if you think about it too closely.” – Kat
“I’m geniunely surprised you haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro. You whole love every Disney movie ever made. It’s basically a Japanese Disney movie. It’s one of those rare movies that is so sweet and relaxing you almost cry at the end because of it. Totoro is just cute and relaxing and you have to sit through the end credits to have your heart grow three sizes that day.” – Carlos