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A Guide To Fantasy Movies

January 4, 2013

This is a fairly comprehensive list of fantasy movies covering the worst to the best. Each of the movies will be listed under the number I would rate it as, and each rating is described. This list also illustrated how I rate movies in general by giving several examples of various ratings.

1/10

F- – A movie that will kill you if you watch it.

There are no movies that actually get a perfect “one” but the movie In The Mouth of Madness does present a movie that could fit that description. (See a trailer to In The Mouth of Madness here.)

Even so, Snuff Films would be close if they are real. 8MM starring Nicholas Cage is about how horrible it would be if one of these movies were real. (See a trailer for 8MM here.)

2/10

F – A movie that will cause you severe psychological pain.

Some zero budget are more trashy than you can possibly imagine. Many of them are “exploitation” or “sexploitation” films. The Cinema Snob has been reviewing several of them. An example is Dracula (the Dirty Old Man) seen here.

3/10

F+ – A movie that will hurt you.

Examples:

  • Wizards of the Lost Kingdom. There were tons of terrible trashy fantasy movies that were made to exploit the success of Conan during the 80’s and this was one of the less successful examples. I will call these movies “Conan-ripoffs.” James Rolfe, the Angry Video Game Nerd, reviewed this movie here. And there was a sequel that was a bit worse than the original. (See the trailer for the movie here.)
  • Yor: Hunter from the Future. A horrible Conan-ripoff. See Spoony’s review of it here. (See a trailer for the movie here.)
  • Barbarian Queen. A horrible Conan-ripoff. Barbarian Queen II was worse than the original. (See the trailer for Barbarian Queen here.)
  • Amazons (1986). Another horrible Conan-ripoff. (See the trailer here.)

4/10

D- – A movie that is mainly boring or slightly painful to watch; or a movie with some small twisted entertainment value despite a severely low production quality.

Examples:

  • Deathstalker 2 and Deathstalker 3. Both are horrible Conan-ripoff sequels to a slightly better movie. See James Rolfe’s entertaining review of that series here. It was a horribly bad Conan-ripoff with almost decent production values, but I thought it was still quite entertaining anyway. (See the trailer to Deathstalker 2 here.)
  • Lords of Magick. See Spoony’s review here. I think I remember my parents watching this with when I was little and had fond memories about it. I am only guessing that this is the rating the movie deserves based on his review because I haven’t seen it in ages. (See the trailer here.)
  • The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984) starring David Carradine. A slightly less horrible Conan-ripoff. (See the trailer here.)
  • Gor (1987). A Conan-ripoff about a nerdy guy sent to another planet where he gets to become a warrior-hero. (See the trailer here.)

5/10

D – A movie that is somewhat entertaining and has a low production quality; or a movie that is boring.

Examples:

  • The first Dealthsalker movie. It is among the best of the horrible trashy Conan-ripoffs. (See the trailer here.)
  • Barbarians (1987). Again, this is one of the best of the horrible trashy Conan-ripoffs. (See the trailer here.)
  • Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. See Spoony’s review here. The movie was completely silly and can be enjoyed for being so absurd. (See the trailer here.)
  • Masters of the Universe (1987). He-Man is sent to modern day Earth. (See the trailer here.)

6/10

D+ – A fun B-rated movie; or a movie that has some value, but is not fun to watch.

Examples:

  • Conan the Destroyer. I thought it was a lot of fun, but it was clearly a “bad movie.” The production values were also half-decent. I actually enjoyed it more than the original, but I realize that it’s not technically as good of a movie. (See the trailer here.)
  • Conan (2011). This is the new Conan, and it wasn’t as good as the one from the 80’s starring Schwarzenegger. The plot was too complicated and it was not as character-driven as it should have been. But it was okay. (See the trailer here.)
  • Red Sonya. It is a spin off of the Conan series, but the hero is a woman. It is very similar to Conan the Destroyer. It’s a cheesy, but fun movie. (See the trailer here.)
  • Mazes and Monsters. Check out Spoony’s masterful Mazes and Monsters review here. It had decent production values, but wasn’t as fun as it should have been.
  • Beastmaster. See Spoony’s review of the movie here. Beastmaster wasn’t as fun as it should be, but the story was decent and it had high production values. (See the trailer here.)
  • Legend starring Tom Cruise. Who has to fight the Devil. And the Devil looks pretty cool in this movie. (See the trailer here.)
  • Labyrinth. A very silly dark hideous movie involving a maze, goblins, and David Bowie… directed by Jim Henson. (See the trailer here.)
  • Krull. A high budget fantasy film about a world in the dark ages that’s attacked by an alien invasion. (See the trailer here.)
  • Kull the Conqueror starring Kevin Sorbo (from Hercules). A decent barbarian movie with a budget that could have been much better. (See the trailer here.)

7/10

C – An entertaining movie with high production quality, or an intellectually stimulating movie.

Examples:

  • Conan the Barbarian (1982) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It had high production values, but it could be a bit slow at points. The storyline wasn’t my favorite either. Still, it was an okay movie. See Spoony & Benzai’s compairson of the old and new Conan movies here. (See the trailer here.)
  • Willow, written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard. Willow was basically George Lucas’s version of the Hobbit about a small wizard apprentice who goes on an adventure. The special effects were great at the time, the acting is better than usual, and the story is okay. It was still not as good as it should have been. (See the trailer here.)
  • Dark Crystal directed by Jim Henson. An adventure film starring several muppets. Still quite good for what it is, although it could have probably been a lot better. The style of the film is perhaps the most memorable part, which was based on the art of various Swedish painters who like to paint trolls. (See the trailer here.)
  • Ladyhawke. A movie starring Rutger Hauer and Michelle Pfeiffer. It wasn’t a huge epic adventure and it was a bit dark. Even so, it was a decent movie. (See the trailer here.)
  • The Hobbit (1977). I’d rather watch that than a typical Disney cartoon. (See the trailer here.)
  • The Raven starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff. It was a fun fantasy film about wizards directed by Roger Corman. (See the trailer here.)

8/10

B – A top-notch entertaining movie with high production quality, or a very intellectually stimulating movie.

Examples:

  • The Hobbit (2012) directed by Peter Jackson. I would give it an 8.5/10. See Angry Joe’s review here. See Doug and Rob Walker’s review of the movie here. (See the trailer here.)
  • The Colour of Magic. A comedy featuring Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld. A tourist goes to a fantasy world and enjoys all the tourist attractions. I would give it an 8.5/10. (See the trailer here.)
  • Hogfather. A Christmas comedy featuring Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld. (See the trailer here.)
  • The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy. One of Eddie Murphy’s more entertaining performances as a skeptical smart alec. The story wasn’t perfect, but it was still a great adventure and Eddie Murphy helped make it all worth a watch. (See the trailer here.)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The first Harry Potter was one of my favorites. It was basically a Hardy Boys adventure in a fantasy word inhabited almost entirely by wizards. I would rate the first one as an 8.2/10 and most of them would get something around an 8/10. (See the trailer here.)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A no budget comedy with some of the best comedy ever. This is pretty much as good as a no budget movie can get. (See the trailer here.)
  • Neverending Story. A movie about a boy who gets sucked into a fantasy book and has to save the world. And it has a furry dragon that looks like a dog in it. (See the trailer here.)

9/10

A – One of the best movies ever made. It has a great story, great production quality, great acting, and great characters.

Example:

  • The Princess Bride. A movie with terrific characters, humor, adventure, and story. And the production values and acting is good. (See the trailer here.)
  • Big Trouble in Little China starring Kurt Russell. The personalities, humor, adventure, and story are all top-notch in that movie. And it has decent acting and high production values. (See the trailer here.)

10/10

A+ – The ideal movie. It has a perfect story, high production value, great characters, great dialogue, great acting, and it’s intellectually stimulating.

There are no fantasy movies that quite reach this score, but I would give the Lord of the Rings movies a 9.5/10 when taken as a whole, which could be rounded up to a 10/10. (See the trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring here.)

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