Netflix doesn’t have a huge collection of fantasy movies, but you can find some lovely (and eclectic) gems. Many combine the fantastical with real world fights, including the extraordinary Closet Monster. Or immerse yourself in the realm of high fantasy with The Golden Compass, based on the classic novels by Philip Pullman.
Hopefully, you’ll find an intriguing gem below.
Unlocking multiple genres, Closet Monster uses its fantasy elements to open the door to a fresh and heartwarming coming-of-age story. Scarred from witnessing a homophobic attack, closeted and imaginative teen Oscar must deal with his feelings for Wilder. Be warned, Closet Monster splices David Cronenberg’s levels of body horror into his larger picture of internalized homophobia. Crowned by Connor Jessup’s terrific performance, Closet Monster is an indie gem.
The man of the water will not be for everyone. More drama than pure fantasy, this family adventure deals with themes of grief, loss and friendship. Eleven-year-old Gunner and his family move to a new town, where the bookworm must deal not only with a lack of friends, but also with a harsh father and a mother suffering from leukemia. His escapism takes him to a fairytale forest, where his imagination comes to life. An adventure story dealing with larger issues.
This 2015 movie dove into the origin of Peter Pan and Captain Hook. It features Garrett Hedlund as Hook and High Jackman as Blackbeard the pirate.
Co-produced by Sam Raimi, this dark fantasy is inscribed with the best horror credentials. Still aimed at younger viewers, Nightbooks skims through a mystery about a boy who must figure out how to escape from a magical apartment owned by Krysten Ritter’s witch Natacha. A tomb of fun.
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Get ready for a fantastic tale that may or may not be true. Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) visits his dying father, whose exciting and impossible stories about his life begin to gain credence. This sprawling adventure directed by Tim Burton takes us back to the youth of Edward Bloom (Ewan McGregor), where we see his stories unfold for ourselves. With witches, a circus, and bank robberies, Big Fish is an enchanting prize.
Technically a superhero movie, The Old Guard brings a series of impressive action scenes, appearing with every one of star Charlize Theron’s shots. Theron plays Andy, leader of a group of immortal mercenaries, including a knight who fought in the Crusades. The centuries-old warriors embark on a quest for revenge, bringing forward-thinking heroes and witty fights, though they can’t dodge all the clichés.
The Sea Beast joins Netflix’s collection of stellar animated adventures for the whole family. A young woman named Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator) stows away on sea monster hunter Captain Crow’s (Jared Harris) ship, and finds herself swept up in a thrilling journey through uncharted waters. Bringing originality to the high seas and swashbuckling characters, The Sea Beast is a must-see chapter of enchanting fantasy.
Errementari, translated from Basque as The Blacksmith, is a horror fantasy about a pact with the devil. In northern Spain during the 1830s, a blacksmith holds a demon captive, until an orphaned girl inadvertently frees him. War, murder, kidnapping, suicide and more await you in the furnace of this hellish horror with amazing black comedy whiplash.
The Golden Compass (2007)
Fans of Philip Pullman’s classic series of fantasy novels are probably best served by HBO’s television show adaptation. But The Golden Compass, based on the first book, is a solid chapter with generous doses of fantastical escapism. Follow Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a young adventurer who embarks on a journey from the prestigious halls of Oxford universities to the kingdom of polar bears in the frozen north. Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Eva Green complete a rich cast.
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It’s not Tim Burton’s best entry, but Dark Shadows offers another chance to admire the director’s trademark gothic visual style. Based on the soap opera of the same name, the horror comedy follows a wealthy playboy who recklessly breaks the heart of a witch (Eva Green). She turns him into a vampire and buries him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas (Johnny Depp) emerges, discovering the world of the 1970s while harboring a taste for revenge. Although the characters and plot could be fleshed out significantly, Dark Shadows boasts an all-star cast, including Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter. Plus, it gives you Barnabus’ hilarious fish-out-of-water reactions to ’70s pop culture.
This dark fantasy drama comes from Spanish director JA Bayona, who has since branched out into major franchise chapters, including Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and the first two episodes of Prime Video’s upcoming Lord of the Rings series. But perhaps his best work focuses on coming-of-age stories; A Monster Calls follows a troubled boy who comes across a tree that promises to tell him three stories, as long as Connor tells him one in return. Rooted in darker themes, one of them being death, A Monster Calls is a smart and moving fantasy story.
A Boy Called Christmas (2021)
A Christmas cookie that brings a lot of Christmas spirit. A Boy Called Christmas won’t win any awards for originality, but it certainly does what it says on the tin. Young Nikolas embarks on a quest to find the legendary elven village, with his friend Blitzen in tow. There are no prizes for predicting the gift-giving shenanigans that will ensue.
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