Fantasy in Film and Books

Read and Watch


This page of a medley of fantasy and film and is simply to highlight some really good reads that perhaps we first come across in the movies – with the authors varying in style and skill – but none failing to write well.

The Princess Bride is a 1973 novel written by William Goldman and presented (as a literary device) as an abridgment of a work by supposed author S Morgenstern.

Originally published in the U.S. it combines elements of comedy, adventure, romance and fairy tale. The story is presented as a fairy tale being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson.

Made into a movie in 1987 by Rob Reiner who made the excellent “Stand by Me” – taken from a Stephen King short story.

The plot of the movie is the enactment of the story as it is being read, which is interrupted by comments from the grandson and grandfather.

According to Wikipedia this film is number 50 on Bravo’s"100 Funniest Movies" and number 88 on The American Film Institute‘s (AFI’ 100 years ….100 Passions)listing the 100 greatest film love stories of all time.

Even if you don’t want to read the book – hire the DVD – it is hilarious! Like the book, the film is wickedly funny and a grand satirical romp through all the sacred cows of fantasy and swashbuckler movies, with dastardly villains, classic dashing heroes and helpless heroines and pure than the driven snow romance…... yes, there is even a bit of kissing!

The cast is excellent and the pace is spot on. Mandy Patinkin gives a standout performance. Well worth your time.


Chronicles of Narnia (CS Lewis)

These probably need no introduction by me – firstly because the two recent movies has revived interest and, secondly, because they have been famous for what is now generations.

A series of seven novels that are both classic children’s literature and a more adult take on the complexity of right and wrong, of the struggle for redemption. Read either way – as fun fantasy books or as an analogous Christian thematic – they are an entertaining, thought provoking and imaginative trek into the world of fantasy.

Like Lewis himself, it is better to read them, or view as the case may be, as he intended: he didn’t write them as a Christian allegory first and foremost – that element is as he calls it “suppositional”.

This aspect with other so-called controversial criticisms about supposed racism and sexism are better left alone if one wants to read simply for the pleasure. There is a little bit of the “Peter Pan” about them – a wistfulness for never growing old.

If you want to drill down deeper – simply Google the author or Narnia and find tons of articles.


Star Wars

I am going to be perverse here…. by including Star Wars – it is arguably fantasy under a sci fi banner! There are a plethora of Star Wars books out there as you probably know – and a good list is on Wikipedia.

The authors are numerous – and include Terry Brooks, R A Salvatore, Kevin J Anderson, Alan Dean Foster, Timothy Zahn and Barbara Hambly.

I mention those because they are excellent writers in their own right – exclusive of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, their participation endorses the worth of reading various of the Star Wars novels available.

So if you are looking for fresh ‘reads’ I encourage you to check them out. Terry Brooks is featured on this site and eventually the others will be too.


Smallville

Sci fi or fantasy? Well, like Star Wars it is fantasy, but embedded in this world. My perversity strikes again, I know – but to ignore Superman in a section on Fantasy is to cut out a part of the childhood of many of us. I grew up with Superman comics and the dreadful TV series (George Reeves).

And, found that we could ‘believe a man can fly’ when the Christopher Reeve movie came out in the late 70’s.

Since then, while the franchise has had varying degrees of success and quality, the technical wizardry of modern film making keeps the stories alive and watchable.

Smallville has renewed the franchise in an appealing way – although with a little too much teenage angst at times. It is generally well done, although with some dubious storylines that don’t quite fit into the Superman scenario. Tom Welling has been excellent, though I wish they would bloody well get him flying!

BTW: He should have been the choice for “Superman Returns” rather than the colourless Brandon Routh.


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