Friday, August 28, 2009

Fantasy movies and why we love them!

Since I’ve been somewhat of a downer lately I felt that I should write an upbeat post that shines a spotlight on some of the greatest feel good fantasy films of all time. The good old days before CGI ruined the media world.

Now I know what you’re thinking, Fantasy Movies usually are stigmatized as either really nerdy or really girlie but my dear friends you must understand that the oldest and greatest stories ever penned were fantasy in concept. The hero’s journey has been around since the dawn of man and has been retold time and time again throughout a multitude of different cultures across the face of the world. As simple as this formula is it is timeless and resonates with all of us because we too have encountered the hero's journey in our own lives and probably haven’t even noticed!

The Hero’s Journey:

The Call to Adventure
Accepting the Journey
Teacher coming down from the mountain
The Ordeal
The Triumphant Return

Just from memory I'm going to pick a few movies that I’ve seen in my life and talk about the impressions they made on me and what special messages I believe were hidden within them.

Let's begin!


Recently I created a thread on the forums regarding the Highlander series. The original movie was an epic adventure filled to the brim with swordfights, immortals, and large supernatural electrical storms but other than all the flashy special effects the movie touches upon a timeless motif.


Since the beginning of time Human's have been attempting to make sense of their environment. How they would do this was to categorize all the elements and emotions they felt and anthropomorphize them into one specific deity. This deity of course would be immortal and embody their specified element (Earth, water, fire, wind, lightning, etc), emotion (love, jealousy, hatred, happiness, etc), or vocation (Medicine, blacksmithing, war, hunting, etc). In the movie Highlander however we see that the immortals have no power other than their universal immunity to death, unless of course they are decapitated. In an odd way they are similar to the Gorgans's from the ancient story of Perseus. All of them are semi-immortal unless their heads are separated from their bodies. The premise is gruesome but somewhat feasible if you think about it long enough.

Another idea which is taken from different stories throughout the ages is the battle of good and evil. It’s never said out loud but the personalities of Connor and his adversary Kurgan are polar opposites in every way. Connor is kind and thoughtful while Kurgan is a violent sociopath. The world of the immortals gets even more intriguing because they live among regular people but sadly have trouble taking part do to their long lives and sterility (all immortals seemed to be sterile until the newest Highlander movie "The Source" where it was shown that they can impregnate women some how..... but who cares about the Highlander sequels, they are all screwed up beyond recognition anyway), so by nature they are outcasts.

If you have already seen this movie and want some more immortal sword fighting action I would suggest giving the TV series a try. It really dives deeper into the world of immortals, the battles they fight, and how they interact within society.


Right from the beginning the movie draws inspiration from the biblical story of Moses. A woman who is holding a baby is being pursued and as a last ditch effort so save the child she sends it down stream. Luckily for the child it gets picked up by a nearby village of little people. I guess you can call them Hobbits, or dwarves, but in this specific movie they are called Pecks. I think? Peck may be a derogatory word used to describe them but I’m drawing a blank right now so it will have to do. They however are a good people who survive through agriculture and seem to be at peace with the land. After the baby is found by the main character (Willow) and his family they discuss about what to do with the child. The child is not of their race and must be brought to the council so that the elder can decide on what do to with it. This part in the story is known as the call to adventure because the Elder picks Willow to be the person to deliver the child to a nearby Human village. From there it the story goes on an exciting journey throughout their world. Chock full of Evil Sorceresses, a Skull Knight (General Kael!), and a multitude of other characters that really make the experience enjoyable. Mad Martigan is the typical Han Solo-ish character that starts out as an opportunist and as the movie progresses transforms into the white knight of the film. There are some very interesting supporting characters and different kinds of entities that draw the viewer deep within their world .
This is a very good movie and I must insist that all of you reading this should go and see it for yourselves. It is one of the last great fantasy films of all time. You shouldn’t miss it!


The world of Krull is a magnificent place. The environment is truly pristine and the inhabitants are colorful and pleasant. There is however an antagonist of mass proportions terrorizing the land. His name is the Beast and he commands an army of armored soldiers called Slayers who are equipped with weapons that are far superior to whatever the Krullites wield. The Beast is described as an all powerful entity who travels from world to world conquering the lands and doing what he pleases with the populations. The movie begins with Cowyln and Lyssa’s marriage to unite the kingdoms and from what it looks like after years of slayer onslaughts there isn’t that much left of either fiefdoms. As the wedding ceremony is about to be completed the slayers attack with a almost unstoppable power. They swarm the castle, grab Lyssa, and haul her back to the Beasts castle which seems to resemble a giant out of place mountain. To make matters worse this castle has the ability to teleport anywhere the Beast pleases and Cowyln is shot to pieces and has to be nursed back to health by the wise old hermit Ynyr. This is the mentor motif. An old sage of some sort who comes down from the mountain to bestow his knowledge on the up and coming hero. The movie Highlander had this as well with the teacher known as Ramirez (Sean Connery). Unfortunately most mentors tend to have short life spans after assisting their hero and meet their demise half way through the story. To make a long story short Cowyln who is commanded by Ynyr to find the “Glaive” which is an awesome weapon that looks like a gold five pointed star with blades that come out of the points. Its very well made and just to see it in action towards the end of the movie is well worth the wait. Now a lot of people were critical of how the weapon is used at the end but I for one thought it was done very well and I will explain why. The Glaive is supposed to embody power while love is represented in the form of fire. If you have seen the movie it’s a little easier to understand but it all comes together from one quote from the film.

“Power is fleeting, Love is eternal”

The reason why this cryptic message is so important is because the glaive (Power) is not strong enough to defeat the beast. Yes, it is used in many other important tasks within the Beast’s castle but it falls short of finishing the job. Only the fire (Love) of Lyssa and Cowyln together can vanquish the evil Beast and send him back into the void of space.

This is a very powerful movie and I remember searching for it forever before picking up the VHS (which I still own). It’s an amazing story that brings a message of how friendship and love is important to vanquish the evil and vices in ones life.

So ends this posting. I hope you have all enjoyed it and if you haven’t seen the movies I listed about please find time to watch them at least once. They are films that are very well made and have yet to be matched by any present day works.

Honorable Mentions:

Conan the Barbarian
Beast Master
Highlander III
Dark Crystal
Hawk the Slayer


  1. "Tron" should be here as well as "The Lord Of The Rings".
    Bob Dobbs

  2. I forgot my favourite (bad Dobbs), "Hawk The Slayer". This is my all time fav with Tron.

  3. I will add Hawk the Slayer and Tron to the Honorable Mentions right away. Thanks for commenting!

  4. gotta love these old fantasy/si-fi movies =)

  5. clash of the titans and the sinbad movies are real nice too.