Film Recommendations for Young Adults: Fantasy Films
In previous volumes of our Queue It Up! film recommendation posts, we’ve taken a look at Police Reform Documentaries, Musicals, LGBTQ+ films, Dystopian YA Adaptations and Social Justice films. Today, we’re looking to escape a little with some Fantasy films.
2020 has been a long nine months (so far) and while there is plenty of activism and change that needs to happen, we all need to escape into a fantasy world now and then. This list will help you forget (at least for a couple of hours) about remote schooling and COVID-19.
Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001, 2002 & 2003) is the obvious start to any list of fantasy films, and for a good reason. It’s got everything you want in a fantasy story; magic, adventure, revenge, love, mythical creatures, quests and epic battles. Director Peter Jackson made cinema history by adapting all three of JRR Tolkien’s novels back-to-back-to-back, and then winning a total of 17 Oscars while grossing nearly $3 billion at the box office.
The Darkest Minds (2018) explores what happens when teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities. These teens are declared a threat by the government and are detained. Sixteen-year-old Ruby, one of the most powerful young people anyone has encountered, escapes her camp and joins a group of runaways seeking safe haven. Soon this newfound family realizes that, in a world in which the adults in power have betrayed them, running is not enough and they must wage a resistance, using their collective power to take back control of their future. Based on the first book in a four part series by Alexandra Bracken.
Chronicle (2012) follows three high school friends after they accidentally gain superpowers while exploring a condemned piece of land. Soon enough, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond of friendship tested as one of them embraces their darker side. This film is shot in a found-footage style and features a young Michael B. Jordan, six years before playing Killmonger in Black Panther.
Stardust (2007) is based on the Neil Gaiman book of the same name and tells the tale of Tristan and his epic quest to win the heart of his true love. He lives in the sleepy English village named Wall. For hundreds of years the massive cobblestone barrier that surrounds the village has kept the citizens safe and secure from the malevolent supernatural forces outside. Tristan promises the fairest girl in the village, Victoria, that he will prove his love by bestowing her with a genuine fallen star, his daring mission sends him on an adventure far outside the comfortable confines of Wall.
Mortal Engines (2018) is set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive. A mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop a giant, predator city on wheels devouring everything in its path. Fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy, an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang, a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head, in order to try and stop a conspiracy.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is the epitome of fantasy, as are most films from the famed Studio Ghibli. In this one, two young girls, 10-year-old Satsuki and her 4-year-old sister Mei, move into a house in the country with their father to be closer to their hospitalized mother. Satsuki and Mei discover that the nearby forest is inhabited by magical creatures called Totoros. They soon befriend these Totoros, and have several magical adventures.