Looking for something different in Fantasy Movies

Looking for something different in Fantasy MoviesThe beautiful thing about the Fantasy movie genre is that you can think of almost anything to create a story. The power of imagination is infinite. If it is so, why don’t we see more original stories?

Fear of the unknown, fear of something different. The risks of coming with something new are higher and therefore not everyone is willing to take that path. It takes courage to create something different but there are filmmakers who take the risks and create something different.

Looking for something different in Fantasy Movies? Don’t think they exist? Here are 3 films where creator took an unconventional approach and presented unique stories and characters:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

The film is the first of the “Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise” and based on Walt Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction at Disney theme parks. The film tells the story of how Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp) and Will Turner (played by Orlando Bloom) rescue Elisabeth Swan (played by Keira Knightley) from Captain Hector Barbosa (played by Geoffrey Rush) onboard the cursed ship “The Black Pearl”.

The film was released on July 9, 2015 and received positive reviews from critics. And it unexpectedly did very well at the box office. Truth is many journalists expected the film to fail since according to them a story of pirates did not have a place at that time in cinema.  The film received five Academy Award nominations including Best Actor, Best Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

Why it’s relevant?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl was well received by audiences. It unexpectedly surpassed everyone expectations and became successful and popular.  

A concept that was unthinkable to succeed on the big screen (a group of pirates sailing seemed old-fashioned) managed to get the audience’s attention. Its popularity ensured the production of four more sequels.  Unfortunately, as it’s the case with many move franchises the stories that followed weren’t as great as the “Black Pearl” story.

Maleficent (2014)

Maleficent is a dark fantasy film based Charles Perrault’s original fairy tale “The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods” and inspired by the movie Sleeping Beauty (1959). The film was directed by Robert Stromberg. The film tells an unconventional story from the point of you of the antagonist Maleficent (played by Angelina Jolie) of the story.

Released on May 30, 2014 the film received mixed reviews which could be the best scenario for this kind of movies. The people who liked it praised the acting of Jolie and the refreshing storytelling.

Others didn’t like it because it may have painted Maleficent as the hero of the story which isn’t a lie either, she is the hero of her own story and the story of the film is about her (her struggles, her survival, and her wrong choices). Clearly, not everyone was happy with this movie but is completely understandable. Why?

For years we have been bombarded with the perfect princess and the perfect prince and pushed into thinking that we could be those princesses and princess. The human being is very complex and faces many choices and sometimes takes the wrong decision.

One of the reasons why the film did so well is because of the story and the acting. Even though she is the villain in the conventional perfect story, people could relate to her and understand why she took those choices.

Why it’s relevant?

When you think about its not surprising that it did well. There was a market for this kind of movie. One indicator was the fan following of the Avenges (2012). Even though the story of the film is about how the Avengers save the day and stopped Loki from ruling earth, Loki was unexpectedly one of the most popular characters among  Marvel fans. Why?

Even though his behavior was not right people could relate to his situation and could see why he did the things he did. While being a good human being is what everyone aspires to be there are situations where your actions may not be the best choice because there is nobody to help take that choice.

Even if you make the wrong choices acknowledging them and trying to do the right thing will help you but sometimes in those situations, you’ll need a push from someone. The success of “Maleficent” showed that there is a market for these type of stories.

Wonder Woman (2017)

Based on the DC Comics character “Wonder Woman” and directed by Patty Jenkins the film tells the story of the origins of Princess Diana (played by Gal Gadot) from the Amazon island of Themyscira.

One Day Diana sees a plane crashing offshore and goes to help the pilot (Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine) and brings him on land. But unfortunately, he was followed by Nazis who start an attack on the island. After the battle, Steve tells the Amazons (forced by the lasso of Hestia) about the ongoing world war. Diana then decides to leave her home to stop the war.

Released on June 2, 2017 the film received many positive reviews praising the direction of the film, the performances, the action sequences, the soundtrack and even the end credit design. It got the largest box office opening for a female-led comic book movie.

Why it’s relevant?

The success of the film showed that there is a market for female-led action heroes and there is a place for female directors in unconventional movie genres. The success of Wonder Woman will be very important for future projects that include woman as the protagonist (heroine) of the film and the inclusion of more woman in the creative teams as producers, directors, writers, etc.

While there may be some people that think its an exaggeration. Truth is that there are certain movie genres like action/ superheroes where we don’t see many female leads as we see many action heroes.

From the female-led movies that exist only a few, were well received by both the critics and the audiences (at the same time) like Sigourney Weaver in the Alien movie franchise, Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, Zoe fund in Ms. 45 and Gina Carano in Haywire.

It’s not that there aren’t enough stories.  on the contrary, there are many written literature (books, comic books) about strong female characters.  It’s really simple the action hero sells more because the male has been portrayed as the strongest providing and defending its family. For many years women have shown that they are able to provide for their families and defend them. Showing that they can work and deliver the same as men.

These are just a few movies we are mentioning but there are more. It is a scary position to take when you’re having something completely different from the rest but the results could be personally rewarding. There are many obstacles film makers face every day to make the movies they want to make. When they do and it’s something different we should go see it and evaluate it ourselves.

Most of times the movies that are different, and are not well received by critics, need the audiences support. We usually complain that we see most of the same thing. Right? When there is something different we should go watch it. Different could be bad but it also could be great.

What type of a movie watcher are you? Are you risk averse or risk taker? Are you more comfortable with traditional film making? Or are you open to new/ unconventional/ nontraditional concepts in movies? Feel free to leave your comments. I would love to hear from you.


12 thoughts on “Looking for something different in Fantasy Movies

  1. Hello Dira,

    Great post and an interesting list as always.
    For sure the fantasy genre has a lot to offer.
    My favorite one on the list is surprisingly (for me) ‘Wonder Woman’.
    It’s so well done!

    1. Hi Asen,

      Yes Wonder Woman is indeed the highlight of the Summer.
      Thank you for your comments and I appreciate you taking some time to comments on my posts.

  2. Watched Wonder Woman like twice already and now I’m waiting for the Justice League! Gal Gadot and Hermione will always be my favorite 😉 And yes, I’m a guy haha!

    1. Hi Chad,

      That’s great! Being a guy has nothing to do with it (even though that is what is being portrayed in the media). For many guys their greatest Hero (Heroine) is their mother.

  3. Interesting food for thought. I didn’t care for Maleficient at all. Have not seen Wonder Woman (yet) but was very impressed by the previews and the reviews of folks who have seen it. POTC was (and still is in my mind) one of the best stories coming out of Disney in decades. It went against every tried and true that the film industry lives by and proved them wrong. Unfortunately, the sequels never quite lived up to the original.

  4. I’m a huge supporter of strong female leads in movies, television, etc. The Kill Bill series and Underworld movies are among some of my favorites of all time. I haven’t gotten around to seeing the new Wonder Woman yet, but rest assured it’s definitely on my ever-growing watch list. I’ve heard only good things about it thus far.

    1. Hi Dom,
      You are awesome! Thanks a lot for taking some time to read my post. Hope to see you around commenting on more posts.

  5. Very good post! I am a fan of new concepts in movies, far from traditional ideas, movies must project society’s diversity!

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