Sometimes, there’s really nothing better than switching Netflix on and going to the selection of fantasy movies. There may not be many movies, but what you will find is stories full of not just magic and adventure but also of the heart. We recommend all six of these titles for all enthusiastic fans of the fantasy genre. The recommended movies range from fantasy and comedy to fantasy and horror. You can also find picks from emotional animation movies to some live-action adventure. While all these movies have different stories, what holds them together is a wild imagination and the urge to explore the impossible to illuminate the meager everyday life issues.
Netflix has invested heavily in original fantasy episodic series such as Shadow & Bone and Sweet Tooth, proven to be successful. The streaming giant was also recently developing a sequel to their first original fantasy film, The Old Guard. When it comes to fan-favorite adaptations, it was announced that The Selection movie would come to Netflix on 10 April. However, due to the pandemic, the production has not proceeded beyond scripting, and thereby The Selection movie will be released on Netflix sometime in mid-2021.
Fanatics of the genre can only hope these are signals that Netflix is willing to commit to fantasy filmmaking in the future. Before then, here’s a list of 5 must-watch fantasy genre movies currently streaming on Netflix.
Director: Mamoru Hosoda
Stars: Haru Kuroki, Moka Kamishiraishi, Gen Hoshino
Runtime: 98 minutes
Mirai, is an animated adventure movie about a young boy named Kun, is a treat for all ages. Kun begins to feel alienated by his family when his little sister Mirai arrives. As he decides to run away from home, Kun stumbles upon a magical garden that doubles as a time-traveling gateway. Here, he encounters his mother as a little girl. He has a series of adventures with his baby sister, who is all grown up and helps open a new perspective for his world. Parents may enjoy this animated movie more than their kids, as this magical sibling adventure is not just dreamy in visual but also touching in its portrayal of family lies and knowing your personal history.
Lu Over the Wall (2017)
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Stars: Kanon Tani, Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh, Shota Shimoda, Christine Marie Cabanos
Runtime: 107 minutes
The story of Lu Over the Wall follows Kai, a talented but adrift boy who spends his days sulking in a small fishing village after his family moves from the bustling Tokyo. When his classmates invite him to play the keyboard in their band, a quirky spin meets viewers. An unexpected guest Lu, a young mermaid, is introduced. When Lu sings, humans compulsively dance, even when they don’t want to. As Kai spends more time with Lu, he finds himself at ease to tell her what he is really thinking. The movie takes a classic folktale and makes it contemporary as an introverted teen musician forms a spiritual bond with a sweet, music-loving mermaid. There is hardly any moment in the movie that comes close to touching base with reality. Lu Over the Wall is a movie that does not take itself seriously. For the average moviegoer, that’s an important trait to embrace. It is a brave movie as it blends joy with political allegory with vibrant color palettes with magical storytelling. Of course, there’s actual magic, too.
A Monster Calls (2016)
Director: Chris Butler, and Sam Fell
Stars: Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones
Runtime: 108 minutes
A Monster Calls is a dramatic fantasy that follows Conor, a twelve-year-old boy. He encounters an ancient tree monster who offers to help him cope with his mother’s terminal illness and being a victim of bullying in school. Directed by Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona from a script by Patrick Ness, based on his low fantasy novel of the same name, the movie is about a troubled child with an imagination that gets him through troubled times. The plot is so engaging that it will find your soul, even if it’s hidden, and speak to it. There’s simply so much magic in the ordinary story of a twelve-year-old boy. A Monster Calls is akin to a raw nerve, as it highlights a phase of great emotional stress and the point in time when a boy’s childhood is forcibly shattered against the complications of the adult world.
The Old Guard (2020)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwitel Ejiofor, Henry Melling, Van Veronico Ngo
Runtime: 93 minutes
The Old Guard follows a group of mercenaries, centuries-old immortals who have the ability to heal themselves and discover someone is onto their secret. They must fight to protect their freedom. The Old Guard may feel fresh and new. But in some ways, it’s the same old story. However, there are some delightful things about the movie, most notably the emergence of Kiki Layne as an exceptionally promising action star. She executes a one-handed pistol cocking with so much confidence, we stan!!!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Directors: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Stars: Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Connie Booth
Runtime: 92 minutes
This is the oldest movie we have on this list, but by no means is it any less iconic. The plot is kind of a comedic send-up of the grim circumstances of the Middle Ages. It is as if it’s told through the story of King Arthur. The story follows the mythical king of the Britons who leads his knights on a quest for the Holy Grail. A wide array of horrors are thrown their way: a persistent Black Knight, a three-headed giant, a cadre of shrubbery-challenged knights, the perilous Castle Anthrax, a killer rabbit. You will even see a house of virgins and a few rude Frenchmen in the mix. It is the most densely packed comedy in the Python canon. The movie is teeming with jokes, and it’s surprising how easily people forget that considering the movie’s reputation. The first-time co-director Terry Jones (otherwise onscreen performer) and American Terry Gilliam create the movie with surreal efficiency.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Stars: Ivana Baquero, Sergí Lopez, Maribel Verdu, Doug Jones, Alex Angulo
Runtime: 115 minutes
Pan’s Labyrinth sees the character of Ofelia move with her mother to her stepfather’s house. A fairy leads her to a faun at night, and the faun informs her that she is a princess and thus needs to participate in three tasks to prove her royalty. The premise may come off childish, but the movie is brilliant. It’s dark, twisted and beautiful as it entwines a fairytale fantasy with war-like horror to startling effect. We can go so far as to call it one of the most imaginative films of the 21st century. The Spanish fable has magically engaging storytelling and is a work of art. stunning cinematography and production values. Pan’s Labyrinth is actually a political fable disguised as a fairy tale. Guillermo del Toro’s out-and-out masterpiece helped him claim his spot as one of the most exciting and talented visionaries of the generation.