Saturday, June 11, 2011

Top Five Eighties Fantasy Movies From My Childhood

Few movies affect us so closely as the ones we watch when we are children.  For instance, though it is regarded as Sci-Fi rather than Fantasy, ET profoundly affected me as a child.  In this vein I present to you my personal Top Five Fantasy Films From the Eighties.

Prince Colwyn (Ken Marshall) and Princess Lyssa (Lysette Anthony) in Krull

5. Krull

This film hasn't aged very well. For one, many people aren't familiar with it. For its time, it had a very orginal storyline, and the special effects were brilliant for the day. Despite the hero's tight pants and terrible beard/moustache, and tight pants (come on, it was the '80s, this film was groundbreaking for its time.

Elora Danan and Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) in Willow

4. Willow

Warwick Davis, known for playing many other roles (Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Hitchhiker's Guide, Three Characters in Narnia films), is best remembered, at least to my mind, as Willow from the eponymous film. It's
your typical story about a Chosen One who will defeat the Big Bad, and yet there's a twist... the chosen one is a baby and needs to be protected by the Nelwyn Willow (think Halfling before Lord of the Rings hit the big screen), a Rogue (Val Kilmer), two Brownies (like Faeries, but different, and no where near as tall as Orlando Bloom), and Sorsha, the warrior daughter of the evil queen Bamorda. Unlike many stories where the Chosen One fights the battle against the Evil, this story tells the tale of a rag-tag band of normal people banding together to protect their one true hope from the ravages of evil. Unlike Krull, this movie has stood the test of time and remains a popular film to watch with the kids.

A Skeksis, Jen - Last of the Gelflings, and UrRu the Mystic from The Dark Crystal

3. The Dark Crystal

Again we have more awesomeness from Jim Henson. No humans, everybody is a puppet. It's all about the last surviving Gelflings. You think there's one, and then there's two. Unlike many fantasies, this one creates its own characters, so you won't find goblins and elves and faeries in this one. The Gelflings might look elfish, but appearances are deceiving, they have wings like faeries, and they aren't as magical (or as tall) as the Orlando Bloom style of elf (who is still incredibly hot). They're no epic an all knowing, there are only two of them left, and they know bugger-all about what's going on. The villains, the Skeksis, are unbelievably scary, but as is not surprising for a Frank Oz/Jim Henson production, are oddly endearing. And you can't help talking like them on occasion once you've watched the film. They keep saying there is a sequel coming out, but like most Dark Crystal fans, I don't have high hopes. But I will totally watch it!!!

Darkness (Tim Curry) from Legend

2. Legend

Awesome movie. Faeries, a great big demon (Tim Curry, how can you not like that), humans, dwarves, Unicorns, and elves (still shorter than Orlando Bloom). Tim Curry is the most awesome thing about this movie, as is true about most movies Tim Curry is in. It's all about saving the unicorns, which are all about hope and light and goodness, and Tim Curry is trying to destroy them, and so Tom Cruise and his heroine are trying to save them. Once again a movie where the plot forces you to side with Tom Cruise instead of "The Bad Guy," no matter how gormless Tom Cruise may be. Cause Jack Nicholson was so cooler in A Few Good Men then Cruise was, and you know it. Also, Spoiler Alert, sunlight kills the bad guy, so that's pretty cool. Unlike Twilight, where sunlight just makes vampires look fabulous. There is puppetry, but not so much as in Labyrinth and Dark Crystal.

Hoggle and Sarah (Jennifer Connolly) from Labyrinth

1. Labyrinth

It's got David Bowie in it.  That's a reason in an of itself to go see it.  As a young girl in school, I owned this film, and I was the one who controlled who got to borrow and watch it.  All the girls fancied him.  We didn't care that he was a man in tights, in fact, we liked it.  Freaky 80's hairstyle, yeah, that's cool.  Mad make-up, check.  None of this changes that fact David Bowie was sex on a stick.  Plus he's the sexi bad guy, and we all know ladies like the bad boys.  Plus he has eyes that don't really match up. Basically, everything that should be wrong about him was so, so right.  This was our introduction to David Bowie, we missed the Major Tom and Ziggy Stardust age.  And don't get me started reminiscing about that bulge in his tights. We were pubescent girls with raging hormones and somehow the whole ensemble of wrongness was strangely attractive.  That said, there was more to this awesome movie than David Bowie and his awesome bulge.  There was Hoggle, how awesome was he. Sarah (Jennifer Connoly), who was the heroine, seemed endearing at the time, but on re-watching, is clearly a spoilt brat.  Sarah (Jennifer Connolly): Generous? What have you done that's generous? Jareth (David Bowie): *Everything*! Everything that you wanted I have done. You asked that the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for *you*! I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me. Isn't that generous? And that pretty much sums it up.  But the movie was so good.  The goblins were so cool (courtesy of Jim Henson), the fox on the dog, Sir Didymus and Ambrosius, were awesome, There's a Beast (Ludo), every fantasy film needs a Beast, and Don't forget the talking caterpillar who invites her in to meet the missus.

Jareth (David Bowie) and Hoggle from Labyrinth


  1. Oh, what a selection!I just saw Legend and Labyrinth!And not in my childwood! From my childdwood I just remember old american movies with Errol Flynn - I loved it!And, of course, The sound of music!Then Jaws- I hated it and it scared me. I was maybe 11 years old when I saw it...I'm following your blog.:)

  2. Thanks so much for the follow love Belinha. You may notice I repaid in kind, wow what a lot of fantastic Blogs you have! I particularly liked artsnack, even though my firefox no longer seems to translate pg's for me since a recent virus inspired PC revamp, so much wonderful art you have displayed there that it's a delight for my eyes even if I can't read the words.
    The Sound of Music & Jaws are definitely two of the more memorable movies from my childhood too.
    In secondary school, back when I lived in the UK, my English class actually had to watch Jaws for a lesson then write essays on it as homework. I've always admired my English teacher for such genius... in a later year he also had us do the same with The Lost Boys... my how I loved that teacher.

  3. Thank you so much for making this list. The last four are my favorite movies of all time. Always have been. Never met anyone else who could appreciate all of them!