Tag Archives: fantasy

Big Fish

Big Fish is a 2003 fantasy film and quite possibly Tim Burton’s masterpiece.  Billy Crudup stars as William Bloom, a writer who is trying to connect with his dying father. He feels like his relationship with his dad is like two strangers who happen to know each other extremely well. The problem is that William was never able to connect with his father. His father was a traveling salesman with a passion for telling tall tales and embellishing the truth, and he feels like he never knew the real person behind the stories.

The film is framed by an elderly Edward Bloom (played by Albert Finney) who is bedridden and slowly fading away. The story flashes back to a younger Edward (played by Ewan McGregor) doing fantastic things and having amazing adventures. He meets a giant, a werewolf, Siamese twins, a witch, and has a few encounters with a particularly big fish. On the surface this is a modern fairy tale. But it’s really about reconciliation. Edward and William have a broken relationship. Everything Edward ever told William was embellished and elaborated. William thinks that everything his father told him was a lie. They are bonded by blood but don’t have much in common.

This film is more sophisticated than Tim Burton’s other films. It’s more adult and decidedly less gothic. There is a great supporting cast including Jessica Lange, Danny DeVito, Steve Buscemi, and apparently a young Miley Cyrus. Helena Bonham Carter is in it too and Danny Elfman provides the score. Johnny Depp is the only Burton Regular who doesn’t show up.  I guess there wasn’t a part for a pale pedophile. This is the type of movie that you can watch with your parents and feel like you’ve bonded. Real art effects emotion. This film is art.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Game of Thrones (TV show)

HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the best TV shows I’ve ever experienced, and it’s not even through its second season. It’s hard to make a great show: you need a great premise, strong writing, a solid cast, and a TV network that is willing to invest in a great idea. Game of Thrones has all the requirements to being awesome, and it also has dragons, which makes it even better.

I’ve noticed that there’s been a trend of TV shows based on books, like True Blood, Legend of the Seeker, and this show, which is based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Each season represents a book. HBO can afford to have amazing production values. Each episode feels like a movie. There is a scope that rivals any fantasy film, in most cases exceeding them.

There is a lot going on. There are multiple families competing against each other for power. The Stark family is feuding with the Lannister clan, but sometimes they get along. There’s a clan of warriors known as the Dothraki, and the Viserys, heirs of a usurped king, marry into their tribe to get access to their army so that they might one day reclaim their land. Basically there’s a shit ton of politics and wars and incest. The middle ages were truly a magical time.

This is one of those shows that you get on DVD or Blu-Ray and have a marathon where you watch all the episodes back to back. It’s addicting. There’s something for everyone. There’s talking. There’s action. There’s nudity. There’s violence. There’s romance. There’s politics. There’s nudity. There’s betrayal. There’s religion. There are dwarves. There are dragons. There’s nudity. There are fools and bastards and evil kings. Did I mention the nudity?

No character is safe. This is like a medieval 24. You get to know a character, you get to like them, and then WHAM! BAM! They are dead and your jaw is dropped. And there are a lot of characters. There are a lot of subplots. There are a lot of things going on, but everything ties together. This show is still young, it will get to be a cult phenomenon. It’s already on its way there.

George R. R. Martin has crafted an amazing world. HBO tries to respect it. They do a great job of it too. There is a sense of history. He created a whole backstory that you catch glimpses of that adds to the depth of the story. There are different religions, different gods. There are different languages and customs. There is a sense of honor and chivalry. This is a medieval period, there is still fear of the unknown. Magic still exists, it’s real and possible.

The show follows the book more strictly than True Blood follows the Sookie Stackhouse books. So if you don’t like spoilers you probably shouldn’t read the books. You don’t want to be the jackass pointing out all the differences anyway.

Game of Thrones is awesome. Dragons, kings, swords, nudity… it’s the best swords and sorcery TV show ever. HBO shows are usually awesome, and this is one of their best shows to date. I hope I’m not jinxing season three.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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The Princess Bride

Rob Reiner’s directorial fairy tale masterpiece. A grandfather reads The Princess Bride by William Goldman to his sick grandson, and the film jumps into a rich fantasy world with swordsmen, pirates, giants, Rodents Of Unusual Size, six fingered men, and true love. Definitely fantasy.

The story follows a young farmhand named Westley (Cary Elwes) who loves the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright). He goes out to seek his fortune so he can marry her, but shit happens along the way. She gets engaged to Prince Humperdinck, and Westley gets kidnapped by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Life throws you curveballs I guess.

A trio of criminals kidnaps Buttercup. They are lead by the short and wannabe clever Vizzini (Wallace Shawn); the noble Spanish swordsman who is avenging his father’s death, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin); and a gentle giant named Fezzik (Andre the Awesome Giant). A mysterious man in black is hot in pursuit. He turns out to be the Dread Pirate Roberts, and eventually frees Buttercup. She hates him for killing Westley, but in a twist worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan, it turns out it is Westley! Hooray, he didn’t die.

They can’t be together though, because Buttercup is still engaged to Humperdinck. Humperdinck has a hidden agenda. He wants to kill Buttercup and frame a rival nation for her death so he can go to war. He has Westley imprisoned and tortured.

A bunch of stuff happens and eventually Inigo Montoya and Fezzik ally themselves with Westley and they storm the castle, free Buttercup, avenge their fathers, defeat the evil Humperdinck and escape on horses.

This is a great movie. Guys like it. Girls like it. Kids like it. Really old, decrepit people like it. It’s a movie you can watch with your family or your friends. It brings people together. Simply a timeless film. Hollywood, I am begging you, don’t ever do a remake or a prequel or unnecessary sequel. Let good movies stay good.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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