Top 10 Fantasy Films of 2016

Movies, Fantasy, 2016

Fantastical Fantasy of 2016 

This year has seen many films released in the fantasy genre. Some films have been mind-blowing and absolutely fantastic, others have been complete disappointments and others held such promise yet did not deliver what many fans expected them to deliver. Let’s take a look at the top ten fantasy films of 2016.

10. Gods of Egypt

Set in ancient Egypt, the story woven is one of good against evil. A young mortal man by the name of Bek, who has little time for the gods, is thrown together with one, Horus, in a battle against Set, the god of darkness who usurped the throne and threw the land into chaos. 

Unfortunately, this film of gods of old seemed to possess a negative view before it even made its way onto the cinemas in February of this year, and the critics’ views once it was released did not improve. The overall view of this one has been a bad one and, there are many criticisms that I do agree with however, the film wasn’t all that bad. The story, although not a very strong one, made for a ‘feel good’ entertainment film with action packed scenes, a love story, struggles of gods and fantastical CG effects that could make an audience go ‘Wow!’. The downfalls of this movie were simple: Firstly, the depictions of parts of Egypt that held such fantastical cities with their blinding gold and sparkling jewels. It just seemed a little too much. Not saying there were not cities built with marvels to behold, I just feel that they wouldn’t have looked as extravagant as those seen in Gods of Egypt. Secondly, the choice of cast could have been better. The performances were good from most of the actors, but surely there were better choices that could have been made, ones that perhaps would deliver a bit more ethnicity to the movie as a whole. Being a fond reader of things based on Egyptian mythology, I found this movie to be good for what it’s worth. I enjoyed seeing the gods when they took on their true forms, enjoyed the action scenes that unfurled and even the humour in the film was pleasing. It could have been better and, perhaps in the future, someone will decide to do a remake of the movie and deliver to us all a more powerful piece of work. 

9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Out of the Shadows

The heroes in a half shell defeated the evil Shredder and had him locked away, but it seems the battle isn’t over yet. This time, Shredder teams up with a mad scientist known as Baxter Stockman who helps bring to the evil party, mutants just like the turtles. But, the evil villainy doesn’t stop there and soon, the turtles find themselves facing a greater foe…Krang.

As much as I enjoyed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film brought out in 2014, the sequel, Out of the Shadows, was considerably better. Being a fan of the animated series released in the late ‘80s, I was thrilled to see the likes of Bebop and Rocksteady brought to life and, the choice of who was to play Shredder this time around was far better. The only disappointment I had with the film was the voice of Krang. Fans of the animated show will know that Krang’s voice was considerably different. But, I suppose that we can’t have it all. Even though many critics did not find this to be a favourable movie, I thoroughly enjoyed the story delivered and was thrilled to see them using the animated series as direct inspiration for this film. The cherry on top, of course, was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song used in the animated series being played in the credits at the end of the film. This was a wonderful surprise, I am sure, for all who loved the animated series and it had me singing along and tapping my foot to the beat as the credits rolled at the end. I do hope they have plans to bring out a third film for this franchise. 

8. Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice finds herself returning to the world of Underland, this time by slipping through a mirror as a opposed to falling down a rabbit hole, and finds her services desperately needed in saving the Hatter who appears to have lost his, well, his madness.

I had high hopes for this film, a sequel to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, but found myself disappointed. Tim Burton did not direct this one, however, he was still a producer and and that was enough to have me excited to see it. The first had been wonderful so why wouldn’t the second? After all Tim Burton’s works are, to me, always amazing to watch. Though the beautiful and very ‘Tim Burton-esque’ world of Underland was there visually, there seemed to be something lacking from it; it appeared to have lost its ‘muchness’ as the Hatter would say. Speaking of the marvellously mad Hatter character, I felt he too had lost his muchness, and not just because the character had changed due to events that had happened in Underland, no, there was something missing from the portrayal of the character. It felt, to me, as if Johnny Depp was simply on an ‘auto pilot’ mode, which is quite sad because I’ve always loved his performances in Tim Burton’s movies. Though it was lovely to see new parts of Underland and to learn of the past that shaped the present, I feel that this film would have been far better had Tim Burton taken the directorial wheel and steered the Underland ship. 

7. Suicide Squad

A secret government agency has a plan and that plan involves assembling a defensive task force that has some of the most dangerous, incarcerated villains ever know, and have them fight evil but with their own kind of evil. The problem is, their first mission as a team is to save the world from a total apocalyptic event. They have no choice but to run in there guns blazing, swords flying and bats swinging because it’s either save the world in order to save their skins or let the world burn around them. 

Another film that didn’t gain much favour amongst the critics is Suicide Squad. I think there was just far too much crammed into one film with hopes and prayers being sent out into the universe that it wouldn’t all fail. Or perhaps the vision in the minds of the creators of this film just didn’t quite turn out how they had imagined it. But, it was nice to see a bit of change from Marvel’s superhero movies in the sense that the ‘heroes’ of this movie weren’t heroes at all. They were simply the bad guys thrown together in order to take on the evil that now threatened the world, the saying ‘Fight Evil with Evil’ ringing true for this story. But, there are two good pointers in this movie. The first being Margot Robbie’s amazing portrayal of the bat wielding, ‘Mistah J’ loving little psycho known as Harley Quinn - and to be honest, I think most people went to see that movie just to see her - and secondly, Jared Leto’s depiction of The Joker. I was a bit worried that he may try to do a version of The Joker exactly like Heath Ledger’s - one of the best depictions of course - so I must admit I was quite relieved to see he hadn’t. His take on the Joker was definitely different but also something expected of a psychotic character. Though I don’t think many found it to be a favourable one, I found it to be quite good. I was just happy to see he wasn’t trying to simply mimic past performances done of the character. All in all, the film was good, but it could have been better. 

6. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Jacob has been told all his life about things of a strange nature by his grandfather, stories about monsters that were battled, of children that possessed unique abilities and about Miss Peregrine and her home for peculiar children. Jacob’s father put no stock into the ramblings of the old man and urged his son to do the same. But, after the mysterious death of Jacob’s grandfather, he feels there is much needed investigation into the stories told and this time, all the stories told are very, very true.

Another Tim Burton film and this time, it was done by the great man himself. The result of this was a stunning film filled with the usual style that can be expected by none other than Tim Burton. Aside from Eva Green, who had starred in Dark Shadows alongside Johnny Depp, the film did not boast the names of the usual start found under the ‘Tim Burton movie list’. However, the cast brought such life and soul to their characters and managed to draw the viewers into their strange world that Tim Burton had so skilfully crafted. The one thing I do wish had been a part of this peculiar world was the music compositions of Danny Elfman. A Tim Burton film is instantly recognised by the music alone and that is thanks to Danny Elfman. I believe he would have been able to conjure up some wonderful music that would give that proper ‘Tim Burton’ feel to the movie and still give to the film the feel that the Director wanted. Eva Green’s performance as Miss Peregrine was flawless, as were those of Samuel L Jackson and Dame Judy Dench, whom I was quite surprised to see making an appearance in a Tim Burton film. 

5. Warcraft

With their home planet of Draenor dying, the orcish horde look to Azeroth as their new world to claim as their home. Lead by Gul’Dan through a mystical portal, the arrival of the Orcs brings chaos to the land of Azeroth. The Orcs reign terror down on their new home world, staking claim to the lands and taking human prisoners needed by the warlock Gul’Dan. But there are some within the Orc ranks that realise the true enemy is not the humans they fight, but one of their own. If they are to make a home in the world of Azeroth, the Orcs must band together with the humans and fight against this enemy.

This has been a long awaited film for the fans of the warcraft video games. Some may have been disappointed at what they saw but I was not. I felt myself being taken into the world that was so amazingly brought to life on screen. The orcs and their wolves that looked so very real, even the Draenai that made their brief appearance were done so well. But what really made me excited, was to see the likes of Stormwind on display upon the screen, the detail of that city perfect, just the way it is seen in the MMORPG game, World of Warcraft. Having played this game myself, it was thrilling to see this all on the movie screen, watching the tale unfurl, seeing if I could spot anything else in the movie that was in the game. Fair enough, there may be inaccuracies in the film that many hard core fans would have picked up on, but we cannot deny the effort gone into this movie. I personally hope to see future Warcraft movies as the world of Azeroth - and those that surround it - is vast and the tales that can be told are in abundance. 

4. Star Trek Beyond

 

The USSE Enterprise finds itself on a rescue mission that takes it and its crew into uncharted space where a dangerous enemy attacks, forcing the crew to abandoned ship. Soon the real reason for their mission to an unknown planet is revealed and the enemy they are up against is ruthless and will stop at nothing to tear down everything that the Federation stands for.

I am sure there are many fans that either love the reboot on the Star Trek franchise or hate it. I quite enjoy the reboot done on the franchise, even if I have never really been much of a Star Trek fan myself. Star Trek Beyond was received fairly well by the critics but there were a few that felt it fell short here and there. The advancements in special effects from the time of the original series of movies has vastly improved and, even if the fans of the originals do not particularly favour the rebooted series, they cannot deny that the famous Enterprise ship looks far better in these movies. With action packed scenes, a little bit of romance and a fair share of humour, I say this is a great ‘feel good’ movie for those who enjoy the sci-fi part of fantasy. 

3. X-Men Apocalypse

Taking place after the events of Days of Future Past, the mutants are faced with a deadly foe. The worlds first mutant was worshipped as a god in Egypt. But, after an assassination attempt on him fails, Apocalypse emerges from the ashes many years later and does not like the world that he sees. In order to stop him from destroying the entire world and rebuilding it the way he thinks it should be, the X-Men must stand and fight, united against a common enemy.

The movie brought to its views a look into the past of some of Marvel’s most iconic mutants such as Storm and Cylops. The story is a good one but, not great. It felt as if the film had been made simply for the sake of making another film in the franchise. But, what the filmed lacked in story, it made up for it in some wonderful visual effects as well as star performances from the likes of James McAvoy, Sophie Turner, Michael Fassbender and Oscar Isaac. 

2. The Junglebook

Rudyard Kipling’s story is once again brought to life but in a live action movie. Shere Khan, the tiger feared by all, has issued a warning to the wolf pack about the man cub. The warning becomes a threat on the young man cub’s life, forcing him to flee from the only home he has known. But, with the help of his friends, Bagheera and the care free, grizzly bear Balou, Mowgli shows that he belongs in the jungle just as much as any other animal.

I must admit I was a bit sceptical about this film when I first saw the trailer for it but, after watching the film, I fully agree with the positive reviews it received. The retelling of this classic Disney tale based off of the book by Rudyard Kipling has certainly earned its spot at number two. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the ‘Bear Necessities’ song being sung as well as ‘I Wanna Be Like You’, two of the well-known songs from the animated film from the ‘60s. Though some parts of the film held some rather ‘dark’ tones to it, some that even made me a little frightened and unsettled, it wasn’t the type of ‘dark’ whereby children could not sit and enjoy the film. The choice of voice actors for the animals was brilliant, especially King Louis and, for those that know Christopher Walker will have seen his face in the gigantic Orangutan. 

1. Doctor Strange

Doctor Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon, finds his world turned upside down after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands and, ultimately, his career. Unwilling to believe that he will not be able to use his hands again, Stephen Strange finds himself on a journey of healing. However, the good doctor gets more than he bargained for on the road of healing, finding himself flung into the world of mystical arts.

As much as I enjoyed the past movie releases done by Marvel, I have to admit that Doctor Strange has flown to the top of my list of Marvel releases. Benedict Cumberbatch, I feel, was made for this role, just as Ryan Reynolds was made for Deadpool. What makes the character of Doctor Strange relatable is his perfectly flawed nature as a human being. He is an arrogant man, believing that he is better than all others at what he does, but all that changes as the movie progresses. As is the case with most Marvel movies, we are never left wanting in the action, visual effects and humour department, though the effects in this movie have been particularly amazing.

 

There you have it, the top ten movies of 2016 found in the Fantasy genre. It was a year of some really great titles and I look forward to seeing what movies will be hitting the cinemas in the New Year.

You may also be interested in:

11 Fantasy Movies Like The Lord of the Rings

10 Underrated Movies you missed in 2016

 

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Gamer Since: 2005
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