Last one, you guys. Are you sad? I’m a little sad. It’s okay, though. There will be more lists in our future. Anyway. Onward.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – 1971, Mel Stuart
I hate a fucking musical. Down to the marrow of my bones do I detest the idea of people (and/or creatures) bursting into song for no good goddamn reason and then continuing about their day as though nothing weird happened. It’s ridiculous and I don’t know how the whole stupid thing got started in the first place. Having said that, I love Roald Dahl and I’m willing to make a small musical concession for this movie. It’s trippy and weird and completely ridiculous. And, honestly? Just a little scary. Gene Wilder played Wonka as both whacked out crazy and sinister at the same time. Love it.
Pan’s Labyrinth – 2006, Guillermo del Toro
This dark fairy tale crosses the line into horror, but barely and gently. It’s particularly interesting because it’s wartime escapism through the eyes of a scared child, and most of the horrible things are happening in the real world and not in the fantastical world inside the main character’s head. And while that might sound like a hideous thing to watch, like the most nightmarish of nightmares, when Guillermo del Toro got his hands on it he made it beautiful. Which is just how he rolls. Everything he does is great. I even enjoyed his first novel, which I was not expecting at all. Warning: it’s in Spanish so beware of subtitles.
Edward Scissorhands – 1990, Tim Burton
I put this one on the list for a bunch of reasons: it’s modern, but not. Beautiful, but not. Scary, but not. Pinocchio, but not. And of course on a list of fantasy films there has to be at least one nod to Tim Burton, everyone’s favorite arty goth recluse. His stuff is so odd, isn’t it? But I think Edward Scissorhands is his best. At the moment that’s what I think, anyway. I’m fickle about these kinds of things. It was close, though. I almost picked Beetlejuice. And, of course, Johnny Depp is a genius. Edward is sweet and innocent and, while dressed like an evening of bondage gone terribly wrong, adorable.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen – 1988, Terry Gilliam
This one is actually fantasy based in reality. Ish. A little. Sort of. But twisted, because the reality it’s based in was fucked up and backwards in the first place. The real Baron Munchausen was a pathological liar, as far as anyone can tell. He famously told fish stories about his wartime exploits in the far east. My very favorite mental disorder is named after him. (It’s disgusting and fucked up, so when I say it’s my favorite, understand that I mean that it’s the most interesting.) Unlike his other film on the list, this one positively drips with Gilliam-ness. His style is fantastic, and comes out more and more in his later work. Munchausen is a beautiful movie, and delightfully absurd. And Gilliam is a former Python so everything he does is witty and slyly hilarious. Bonus.
The Princess Bride – 1987, Rob Reiner
For my money, this one is the biggie in this category. Yeah, yeah, I know I said that about Python. But think about it: more people have seen The Princess Bride. It’s quotable as fuck. It’s the Star Wars of fantasy films (if you disregard the fact that Star Wars itself is just a fantasy movie that happens to be set in space). Everyone’s seen it, everyone loves it, everyone can recite at least that one scene of it. You know the one. You’re saying the lines in your head right now, admit it. The book is great, as well, and I like that William Goldman got to do the screenplay so the tone and the humor weren’t lost in the adaptation. That happens so rarely. It’s got a stellar cast: Andre the Giant, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest, Peter Falk, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and Wallace Shawn. All legends, in one way or another. I can only find one problem with this movie: in the scene when Fezzek and Indigo hear Wesley screaming and know it’s him because only a man whose true love is marrying someone else would make a sound like that? How do they know that Wesley’s girl is Buttercup? They shouldn’t know that. It bugs me. But otherwise, a flawless, lovely film.
And that’s it, you guys. Another busy fall, another silly list. What do you think for next year? Horror movies and books, maybe? That’ll be fun. Back to my normal bloggings next week. Although I’ve been so slammed, I haven’t really had time to watch or read anything new. I have no idea what to write about. So haphazard. So slapdash. I’m feeling very punk about the whole thing. Exciting, yeah?