The Fantasy Genre: Themes Explained

Fantasy Films

Fantasy remains one of the great cornerstones in storytelling, from literature to modern cinema, and stands out as cinema’s most escapist medium. They teeter on the edges of reality or reveal reality as not quite as boring as you think.


Hollywood’s silent era began to introduce fantastical elements into an already mysterious, captivating medium. George Méliès’ famous A Trip to the Moon is highly influential, along with Fritz Lang’s short Die Nibelungen series; a predecessor to his seminal sci-fi/fantasy Metropolis.

The advent of sound and vibrant technicolor brought The Wizard of Oz, with Dorothy’s native Kansas portrayed in black and white before she is whisked to the outrageous and colourful land of Oz.

Animation had the natural abilities to build incredible, fantastical worlds, with Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Peter Pan. The Japanese animation from Studio Ghibli continually pushes the boundaries of fantasy to consistent critical acclaim with Hayao Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro.

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