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The Friday Five - Fantasy Movies That Inspire Me

This Friday seems to have taken its time rolling around, huh? That's because it was a short week with MLK Jr. Day and somehow instead of seeming short, it feels like someone actually added an extra day in there somewhere.

And another thing? Will winter ever end? I feel like I'm going crazy for want of a little warmth. I can't really remember what it's like to walk out of the house with a t-shirt on. My legs have gone this frighteningly pale color that reminds me of corpses. That is... when I actually see my legs which amounts to maybe once a day. I suppose I shouldn't complain too much because I've only had one snow day. The February snows are lurking, prepared to laugh an evil laugh and mess with me. Just like last year.

Anyway, back to TFF. Today we're talking about five fantasy movies that shaped the way I write. In no particular order. And go!

#1) Alice in Wonderland (2010)- I assumed I would hate this movie because the previews for it looked insane. It's the Chessy cat. That cat is just C-R-E-E-P-Y. Also, I could do without Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee. They annoy the snot out of me. Johnny Depp won me over though. Maybe I'm imagining things, but when the Mad Hatter looks at Alice, you can see how much he loves her. Only the end bothered me because all the characters reflected another character she knew in her "real life". I think she should know the Mad Hatter there too. I really love how this girl who leads a plain life where she's expected to do one thing is thrown into another life and she has to take up the mantle of a hero in order to save Underland.

#2) The Postman (1997) - Largely hated by audiences everywhere and known as another one of Kevin Costner's long, post-apocalyptic movies, it didn't get very good reviews. But you know what? I freakin' love this movie. It's long all right, but the hero's journey in this one is amazing. The Postman goes from a Shakespeare-spouting wiener to a man who has to bring down a tyrant. From a man with nobody and nothing to a much-loved hero and father. Who says one person can't make a difference in the world? FYI, hated the book this movie is based on. It had something to do with some super-computer, although it's been so long since I read it, I can't really remember it.

#3) Van Helsing (2004) - This is another one of those movies that didn't do terribly well in the box office despite a decent cast. Somehow I thought we'd see a sequel, but it wasn't meant to be. What I liked about it is the subtle steampunk inventions used to capture beloved literary characters. I'll admit, going into this, I didn't know who Van Helsing was. You kind of have to feel bad for the guy, because pretty much everything he touches turns to poo. Get attacked by homicidal monsters? Well, now you have a hole in your hat. Think a girl is hot? Oops, too bad, she's dead. Forced to live forever? So sorry, you're going to bend to the will of the Church, which keeps us safe from monsters. Sucks to be you.

#4) Pirates of the Carribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) - Johnny Depp aside, what drew me to this movie was not pirates (in fact, I used to loathe pirates), but in fact the ghost story aspect. I heart me some good ghost story. Cursed treasure, angry pirates, damsel in distress, I can go for that every time. With those details in mind, it was that anything, absolutely anything (I'm really pushing the use of italics today, huh?) could happen in this pirate-y universe. Looking at all the sequels as well, it was fantastic and insane all at the same time. These are the perfect movies to take you out of the real world for a while.

#5) The Warrior's Way (2010) - Honestly, for the most part, I already had The Treasure Hunter's Lady written by the time I saw this movie. So it wasn't really an influence on that writing, though it followed some of the same themes as I wanted for THL. Western-y, full of odd characters and a hero who will fight to the death for something he believes (but all the best books and movies are crammed full of these things). I like this one because the heroine, Lynne, played by Kate Bosworth, reminded me of Romy. Stubborn, dead-set on her goal, but feminine at the same time. I kind of hated the end because I'm a romantic, but it was traditional in the western movie way. It has a wonderful cast as well.

So those are the five that I can watch over and over and draw inspiration from. Each of them, if you'll notice, has a bit of a love story in it. It might not be the traditional man and woman fall in love kind of romance, but they all have heroes and heroines ready to make sacrifices and face down big nasties to make the world better. I supposed I should've thrown The Princess Bride in there as well. Ah, you know it's one of my faves.

 Now tell me about your favorite fantasy movies.


  1. Ah, Ok. This is the best topic ever. I am ready. Hello. My name is Inego Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

    1. The Neverending Story: Because a world where people turn into grown ups and stop dreaming is killing Fantasia, the world that dreams come from, and it will only take a child with a pure heart and an imagination uncorrupted by stupid grown up desires to dare to dream and make the wishes to drive away the Nothing and bring Fantasia back. This is also my favorite book, period.

    Oh good grief, I cried just writing that. SAP! How in the world will I ever finish five of these bloody things? Ok… nevermind that, carrying on.

    2. Wall-E: A movie where a robot displays the finest qualities humanity has to offer and a bunch of people that have lived like robots for centuries, become inspired enough to fight against all they have ever known and take the first steps toward becoming human again. A robot that is so humble, his best friend is a cockroach and all he wants out of life is to hold the hand of the robot woman he loves. Man, that’s good stuff.

    Ah Geez. I want to watch that one right now! I cried writing that synopsis too. I’m never going to make it to the end of this in tact.

    3. The City of Ember: An underground world created by scientists to preserve the human race until life above ground becomes sustainable again after total destruction due to war. Two teenagers that have lived their whole lives underground refuse to ignore the fact that their world is crumbling, the lights in the city are beginning to go out for longer and longer and they are the only ones facing the terrifying fact that these outages are a harbinger of the total darkness that is to come. They must question everything they know so that they can find the way OUT and save themselves and the people of their world from a life without light. Lina dreams of blue skies…. She dreams of seeing the sun. The scene at the end of the movie is AMAZING.

    I almost made it without a single tear that time but the sentence about Lina got me in the end of it. I actually read all these books after seeing the movie, and they were fantastic. I also wrote an email to the author and she responded back to me! Humble and intelligent, just as I thought she would be. I’m not gonna lie, I’m still totally geeked out about it and it happened over 2 years ago.

    4. Babe: Yeah, that’s right, the PIG movie. Because in a world where sheep dogs are vicious, sheep are stupid, ducks dream of being roosters, cats are shown for the evil worthless scum that they are, a big hearted little pig dreams of being more than a slab of pork. Where a farmer who hardly ever says 5 words to anyone, can dance a jig to make his prize sheep pig come back from the brink of death and then say the most wonderful 5 words to end the most momentous scene in the entire film “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

    I could seriously watch this one every single day. I had forgotten how good it was until about a month ago… when it restored my faith in mankind and even made me question my unnatural love of all things bacon.

    5. Toys: A whimsical toymaker with a childlike purity dies leaving his company to his eldest brother, a military man who seeks to ruin everything the company stands for by insisting they begin making War Toys. The son of the original owner must defeat his uncle and take back his father’s company to insure the legacy of purity and goodness survives.

    It’s a brilliant film, amazingly well cast, and has all the elements of the greatest Heroes Journeys since man has begun his search for heroes. Oh, and it does all of it without killing anyone, which is the best part. Plus, LL cool J and Joan Cusack’s best roles to date are in this movie… so that’s something. I adore them both… as well as Robin Williams.

    Alas, I can only pick five. Such a tragedy because I could have written at least 5 more, if not 50 more (given enough time to reflect). I didn’t put Princess Bride on mine either but it is definitely worthy of it.

  2. Not much into fantasy movies. I know, you're surpised. But unless it's based on a true story, aren't most movies fantasies? So having said that, here goes.
    1. I'm stealing The Princess Bride. So dang funny and the hero overcomes death of all things.
    2. Bull Durham. Another Kevin Costner movie. But everyone wins. He gets the girl and the kid makes it to the majors. "Oh my."
    3. Fried Green Tomatos. "The secret's in the sauce." Pretty self explanatory. And "I'm older and have more insurance."
    4. To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Love, Julie Newmar. (has to be the longest title ever) but what a hero's journey. Even if the hero is a drag queen. That drag queen sure teaches Virgil a lesson!
    5. Slumdog Millionaire. A little too violent in some places for me, but when the hero wins you want to stand up and cheer.

  3. Loved Van Helsing.

    Fellowship of the Ring

    Two Towers

    Return of the King

    All the Underworld movies--a new one is coming out--yay!

    And in December 2012 The Hobbit is coming out, and going by the trailer I saw of it, I'm going to freaking love it!!!!!

  4. Aww, yes. I love Wall-e and City of Ember was good. Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my fave movies.

    Brenda, I have never seen Underworld, but I saw a preview for the new one and it looks awesome!

  5. I'm skeptical of any listen excluding "The Princess Bride" :P


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