As I've watched Harry Potter mania spread around the world like something out of The Stand, I've been feeling a little left out of the phenomenon (having never been a huge fan of the fantasy series). But as the kids line up around the block in their 'Snape capes' and plastic spectacles, I've been thinking back to my own days as a 'rugrat' and the fantasy flicks I used to love. So without getting too specific (remember, nobody ever asks a lady her age), the movies I loved as a child were made in a wild and crazy time better known as the 80's, and what a decade it was for fantasy.
The 80's brought us some of the most iconic fantasy flicks ever made, like Conan, John Boorman's Excalibur, and Highlander. But today isn't about ranking the best and the worst -- it's about my favorite fantasy flicks of the 'me generation' and, who knows, you might just find some recommendations for the little ones in your life once that boy wizard finally exits stage left.
After the jump: my fantasy favorites, and a glimpse into the world of prime 80's cheese...
If I had to pick a favorite on this list, Dragonslayer would be it. This might have been a Disney film, but there is some scary stuff going on in the tale of a young wizard in training who saves a village from a dragon -- and a testament to the dying art of 'go-motion' F/X.
The NeverEnding Story (1984)
This film has the ability to scare the hell out of most people I know, but I was a pretty twisted little kid because it never bothered me in the slightest.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Now if you want to talk freaky, let's talk about The Dark Crystal. This sci-fi fantasy was directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, and was the story of two races at war in a faraway world. If you haven't seen it and aren't horrified by the prospect of animatronic 'Skeksis', this flick is well worth viewing.
The Secret of NIMH (1982)
If you have a PETA supporter in your life, then Don Bluth's tale of super-evolved rats is the perfect movie for you.
The Last Unicorn (1982)
This one's got music by America and some trippy visuals, and as a result is beloved by kids and stoners alike. The story of a unicorn searching for her kind and transported into the world of humans is a bit of a downer, but if your little one can make it through Bambi, you should be fine.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Robert Zemeckis' loony masterpiece was at the time the most expensive animated movie ever made coming in at $29.9 million, and it was worth every penny.
Clash of the Titans (1981)
"Release the Cracken!" Need I say more? I didn't think so.
David Bowie in tight pants and more magic from the Jim Henson crowd -- the perfect combo for a fantasy loving little girl-geek like myself.
The Princess Bride (1984)
Who doesn't love The Princess Bride? Like Roger Rabbit, this flick deserves all the credit it gets and is responsible for a phrase I use in my day-to-day life some 20 years later: "...find out who is right... and who is dead."
Not exactly Ron Howard's most beloved film, but a swashbuckling Val Kilmer, a badass princess played by Joanne Whalley, and Kevin Pollack as a drunken 'brownie' are enough to keep this film a guilty pleasure.
So what about it? Give us your favorite cheesy 80's fantasy films ...