#Wyrd and Wonder: Fantasy films and series (for when you've already binged 'Shadow and Bone')


So, after rushing through Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse too fast (to get all caught up for Shadow and Bone) I then made the classic mistake of binge-ing the TV series over two nights. For anyone in the same situation, looking for something YA fantasy-esque to fill that Ben Barnes-shaped hole in your heart, I've got you covered. I've already watched most of these though, so would welcome any other suggestions! 


Stardust 


What: Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, a young man from the village of Wall promises to bring his beloved a fallen star. But the star won't come quietly. Elsewhere, a wicked prince searches for a lost jewel that will bring him a kingdom and a witch seeks the star that will bring her eternal youth.

Where: Netflix

Why: This easy-watching fantasy film is fast becoming a classic. If you haven't seen it yet, where have you been? There's a great cast, including Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Strong and Robert De Niro. Ben Barnes too, but blink and you'll miss him.


Merlin 



What: In a land of myth and a time of magic, the destiny of a great kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young boy. His name? Merlin. Ahh the nostalgia. A BBC series about young Merlin, who comes to Camelot during the reign of King Uther, despite the fact that magic is banned. Standard Saturday teatime, monster-of-the-week deal. 

Where: Netflix, BBC iplayer, Amazon Prime

Why: It's loads of fun and the cast are wonderful. For me, it's all about the character relationships and the chemistry. Merlin and Arthur are the standouts. Just don't mention the ending. 


The Witcher 



What: Based on the books by Andrzej Zapkowski (and the game that followed) this series follows Geralt of Rivia, a Witcher and monster-hunter for hire. It's got a non-linear timeline and there's one series so far, with another in the works.

Where: Netflix

Why: Henry Cavill. No, just kidding (ish.) It took me a couple of episodes to get into, but once I got used to the style I really enjoyed it. And that song is so catchy.


Prince Caspian 

What: Disney's adaptation of C.S Lewis's book, sequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (The one where the Pevensies return to Narnia to find that centuries have passed and it's been colonised.)

Where: Disney +

Why: It was my favourite of the three films they made - possibly because I'm not as attached to the book as LWW and Dawn Treader, possibly because I liked what they did with Susan and Ben Barnes made a lovely Caspian. And it was just a fun adventure film. 


The Irregulars 


What: Based on characters from Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels, this is a young adult series about a gang of vagabond teenagers who end up doing detective jobs for Holmes's partner Watson. Also it's supernatural?

Where: Netflix

Why: I'm gutted that this hasn't been renewed for a second season, especially for the young cast who were really great. It's fun and the production values were decent. If you're a fan of the Crows the Irregulars should appeal (also, when they come to cast Wylan, I vote this lad who plays the prince!) and if you're a Sherlock Holmes fan it's interesting to see what they've done with Sherlock and Watson.


His Dark Materials 



What: BBC adaptation of Phillip Pullman's books. Two series have been released so far, covering Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife

Where: BBC iplayer, Hulu/HBO

Why: The brilliant cast (including James McAvoy, Lin Manuel Miranda and Ruth Wilson - who is so good as Mrs. Coulter) and the lavish production. It's supposed to be better than the film.


Fate: The Winx saga 


What: YA live-action re-imagining of the original TV series, about a gang of girls at a school for fairies. 

Where: Netflix

Why: First of all, it's nothing like the cartoon - so if you're looking for nostalgia this is really not the place to go - but I actually thought this was decent. Some of the characters were annoying but it was very easy watching, the acting was pretty good and it got better as it went on. Bring on series two! 


Cursed



What: Arthurian girl power series following Nimeuh, a druid and pivotal figure in this version of the legend.

Where: Netflix

Why: The women of Arthurian legend don't often get much airtime (other than Guinevere) but from what I've seen of this so far, I like what they've done with it. It's pitched somewhere between BBC's Merlin and The Witcher. Katherine Langford is always great, I like this version of Arthur, and the dynamic between the two.


A Letter from the King


What: Family friendly (from what I can remember?) coming-of-age fantasy series, based on a classic Dutch novel by Tonke Dragt. 

Where: Netflix

Why: If you fancied Game of Thrones but couldn't cope with all the sex and violence, try this instead. It's kind of a Tamora Pierce-y, medieval realm with kids training to be knights and discovering their magic. The young cast is talented, and includes the main girl from The Irregulars and the main boy from His Dark Materials. Also Andy Serkis's daughter. 


The Princess Bride 



What: Eighties fan favourite, originally spoofing classic adventure-fantasy films - but became one in it's own right.

Where: Disney +

Why: I resisted this film for a long time - but it is fun. Cary Ewes, Robin Wright, loads of other famous people. Lots of lines you've probably heard people quote.


Reign



What: CW show based (verrry loosely) on the life of a young Mary Queen of Scots. But there's magic and paganism and prophecies. 

Where: Netflix

Why: It's pure escapism, think The Tudors, meets Gossip Girl, meets Game of Thrones. The costumes are amazingly inaccurate and there's lots of Lumineers on the soundtrack. Oh and Megan Follows, as Catherine de Medici, is definitely the highlight. 



Beauty and the Beast



What: Live-action re-make of the classic Disney fairy-tale.

Where: Disney +

Why: It doesn't come close to the original, but you don't always feel like a cartoon. Emma Watson is a likeable screen presence, the costumes are pretty, Luke Evans and Kevin Kline make a real impression as Gaston and Maurice respectively, and I love Dan Stephens singing the Beast's new song, Evermore


Game of Thrones 


What: Award-winning high fantasy series, based on the books by George R.R Martin.

Where: Sky Atlantic, HBO

Why: It's deserving of the hype. Don't be put off by the general dissatisfaction with the ending. We'd all built it up so much it was never going to meet expectations. Watch for the dialogues, complex cast of morally grey characters, twists and turns, political intrigue and, eventually, dragons. Oh and the costumes!!! The sex scenes are a lot, but after the first series they're not as prevalent. 


Maleficent 


What: Villain origin story for Sleeping Beauty's wicked fairy godmother. Starring Angelina Jolie. 

Where: Amazon Prime and Netflix (US)

Why: It's not my favourite (I loved Maleficent because she was so evil! I don't want to feel sorry for her!) but as a film in its own right this is fab. Angelina Jolie strikes the right balance between pantomime evil and wronged anti-heroine - and I love her wings! 



The Nevers


What: Victorian-set supernatural/sci fi-fantasy series, about a group of people called 'the touched' who develop strange abilities and must protect themselves against persecution.

Where: Sky Atlantic, HBO

Why: Not seen any of this yet, as we're not getting it in the UK until the 17th. There's an impressive cast though. Sounds a bit like X-Men set in Victorian times. 



Snow White and the Huntsman


What: Re-telling of the Snow White story starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron.

Where: Amazon Prime

Why: I saw this at the cinema and enjoyed it more than I was expecting to! It was better than Mirror Mirror anyway.



Jack the Giant Slayer 



What: Re-telling of Jack and the Beanstalk starring Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson and Ewan McGregor as the villain.

Where: Amazon Prime, Hulu

Why: As fun fantasy films go, this is underrated. Perfect for a grey afternoon in front of the telly. The leads are likeable and it feels kind of old fashioned. Probably because I'm pretty sure it's inspired by an old film - anyone ever seen Jack the Giant Killer?


Dragonheart 


What: Nineties fantasy adventure, starring Dennis Quaid as a con-man working as a Dragon slayer to collect the rewards - but the dragon (Sean Connery) is in on the scam.

Where: Amazon Prime

Why: I loved this when I was a kid (it always seemed to be on channel 5?) and I'm pretty sure it was one of the first films that ever made me cry... strange but true. Anyway, there are some good twists. I remember it being a bit too long, but it's fun. 


Penelope


What: Whimsical fantasy rom-com, about a girl who’s been cursed with a pig’s nose and her search for love and independence.

Where: Netflix

Why: It’s cute and so is James McAvoy. Peter Dinklage is a bit of a scene-stealer as the reporter with an old grudge. 


Peter Pan 


What: The 2003 version of J.M Barrie's classic book. Not as problematic as the Disney version, but overlooked by critics - probably suffered by comparisons with Hook.

Where: Netflix (UK), Hulu

Why: I always thought this film was really underrated. I'm not a Peter Pan fan at all, but this version has got a bit of magic about it. Also Jason Isaacs is perfect as Captain Hook. Probably best watched as a tween (Jeremy Sumpter was definitely in that Thackery Binx/ghost boy-from the end of Casper category - AKA if you were a nineties kid and liked blondes, chances are you had a crush) but it also works great as an afternoon family film.

 

Carnival Row 



What: Described as an American 'neo-noir fantasy' (no, me either) it's set in a world where mythological immigrants struggle to co-exist with humans, and focuses on a human detective and a refugee faerie who start a dangerous affair.

Where: Amazon Prime

Why: I've not watched this yet, but it's been renewed for another series so must be alright? The cast looks great and I love the aesthetic. 


What are your favourite fantasy films/shows? 



Comments

  1. Great list! I've seen quite a few of these too and there are some I've never heard of that I'll have to go watch. Have you seen the Shannara Chronicles? It's also on Netflix. I watched it recently and it was pretty good.

    I loved Merlin and The Witcher! I've been side-eying Carnival Row for a while now and I might start it now that it's been renewed. It seems like something I might enjoy?

    I also loved Prince Caspian in the Narnia movies! I'm still disappointed that Caspian and Susan never ended up together. She should have stayed in Narnia with him! I wonder if there's any fanfiction where they stay together? Hm...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha I bet there's loads! I loved them as a couple too. Oo I should try the Shannara Chronicles now they're on Netflix - watched a couple when they were first on TV a few a years ago, but kept missing episodes!

      Delete
  2. Fantastic picks! I've actually seen quite a bit of these. Love The Witcher, can't wait for season two! I have three episodes left of The Irregulars but I liked it so far. Cursed because the Weeping Monk. I've only seen the first two season of GOT but it's far better than I thought it was going to be. Super curious about His Dark Materials, mainly because of the cast.
    Carnival Row was really pretty, and I like anything involving faeries, but I didn't love it. It's gorgeous though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I thought the aesthetic might be the best bit of Carnival Row, haha, but will probably try it anyway. I never thought I'd get so into Game of Thrones either - I reckon series 3 and 4 are my favourites!!

      Delete

Post a Comment