The fantasy genre has been seeing a ton of attention over the last several years. Thanks in part to medieval epics like Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings series, what was once a niche corner of the universe, relegated to incomprehensible paperback titles and trading cards, has become nothing less than a global phenomenon — and a cherished one at that. For lovers of all things fantastical and mythic, your Amazon Prime account beckons you, as the streaming platform is home to a number of excellent fantasy films. To take the strain off your brain, we’ve done the fairytale digging for you. Here’s a roundup of the best fantasy films you can watch on Amazon Prime this month.
The Prestige (2006)
There’s more than meets the eye at play in Christopher Nolan’s riveting historical thriller The Prestige. Starring Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier, a pair of rival magicians, the film follows the tense exploits of both craftsmen as each attempts to outdo the other in a battle for the ultimate illusion. Featuring a narrative filled with unexpected twists and turns, dedicated performances from the entire ensemble, and an ending that we guarantee will weigh on you for weeks, The Prestige is everything we’ve come to expect from the helmer of such epics as The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception — heady narrative-fiction for cinema-lovers the world over.
Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Stars: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine
Director: Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 130 minutes
Odd Thomas (2014)
Based on the 2003 Dean Koontz novel of the same name, Odd Thomas stars the late Anton Yelchin as the titular character, Thomas, a line cook and a gifted psychic (imagine being handed that résumé). When Thomas encounters a man named Robert Robertson (Shuler Hensley), a fellow with some kind of mold-like substance for hair, Odd’s clairvoyance kicks in full force in the form of disturbing dreams that point to Robertson as a figure of evil. It’s up to Thomas, the local sheriff (Willem Dafoe), and Thomas’s girlfriend (Addison Timlin) to thwart Robertson’s wretched plan before it’s too late. A whimsical tour de force of thrills and chills, Odd Thomas may not always stand on two feet, but Yelchin’s performance brings enough spunk and energy to move mountains.
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Stars: Anton Yelchin, Willem Dafoe, Nico Tortorella
Director: Stephen Sommers
Runtime: 96 minutes
After the Dark (2014)
In John Huddle’s After the Dark (known as The Philosophers outside the U.S.), a group of international university students is given the final exam of a lifetime by one Mr. Zimit (James D’Arcy), their esteemed philosophy instructor. Alluding to a post-apocalyptic world, Mr. Zimit poses a challenge to his class: The students must choose 10 of their peers to live life in a nuclear-proof bunker, with each chosen student receiving designated end-of-the-world professions, with positions including published poet, harpist, and soldier. Combining coming-of-age elements with a big blast of sci-fi, After the Dark is an excellent piece of elevated cinema that makes us wonder how we’d fare in Mr. Zimit’s imagined wasteland.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Daryl Sabara, James D’Arcy, Bonnie Wright
Director: John Huddles
Runtime: 114 minutes
A devout dissection of Nordic mythology, co-writer-director André Øvredal’s Mortal follows Eric (Nat Wolff), an early twenty-something living on the fringes of Norwegian society who possesses the miraculous ability to set things ablaze, literally. After Eric is picked up by local authorities, Christine (Iben Arkelie), a psychologist, is drawn to him. Law enforcement wants to question Eric about a series of murders that occurred years before. When Christine learns that the victims were all members of Eric’s family, a symbolic line begins tracing backward from Eric’s fiery abilities to ancient Nordic mythology. Part superhero film, part fantasy, Mortal shoots for the stars with its larger-than-life narrative but delivers major set pieces with big energy and strong performances.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Stars: Nat Wolff, Priyanka Bose, Iben Akerlie
Director: André Øvredal
Runtime: 104 minutes
Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The third entry in producer J.J. Abram’s reboot series, Star Trek Beyond finds the crew of the Enterprise under siege by a mysterious enemy. The leader of the evildoers, Krall (Idris Elba), is after the Abronath, an ancient relic discovered by Kirk and crew on a recent voyage. It turns out he’s planning on using the talisman to complete a weapon of mass destruction that he plans on destroying the United Federation of Planets with. It’s up to Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the crew to thwart his master plan while fighting to survive on the deadly alien planet their ship crash-lands on. Big-budget filmmaking at its finest, Star Trek Beyond is packed to the brim with action and thrills. This is also one of the last on-screen appearances of the late Anton Yelchin, who passed away a month before the film’s release.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana
Director: Justin Lin
Runtime: 122 minutes
Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) are in search of real estate. When they visit a development of identical suburban homes called Yonder, the couple is seemingly abandoned by their realtor. They decide to pack it in and head home, but it turns out that Yonder keeps the twenty-somethings in some kind of time loop where no matter how far they drive, they always return to house #9 — the domicile their agent showed them. Tom and Gemma decide to stay at the house for the night, but when a newborn baby arrives with instructions stating, “Raise the child and be released,” Tom and Gemma become the unwilling victims of unseen, otherworldly forces. Vivarium combines fantasy, horror, and sci-fi elements in a rather remarkable way. Whenever the story seems to slip, Eisenberg and Poots wrangle it right back in.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Jonathan Aris
Director: Lorde Finnegan
Runtime: 97 minutes
In director Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of the age-old text, Ray Winstone stars as the voice of the titular hero. At the court of King Hrothgar (Anthony Hopkins) with an army of soldiers, the King wants Beowulf to destroy a horrid troll-like creature known as Grendel (Crispin Glover). Beowulf carries out his mission successfully, but not before Grendel’s mother (Angelina Jolie) learns of her son’s death and swears revenge on the warrior and his forces. Where epic reimaginings of this scale can often fall by the wayside, Zemeckis’ Beowulf manages to feel just as epic and important as the ancient poem we were forced to read in high school literature courses.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Runtime: 114 minutes
Gretel & Hansel (2020)
In this new take on the classic Brothers Grimm text, Sophia Lillis and Sammy Leakey star as the famous sibling duo. With no work to be had for the brother and sister, their mother falls into a fit of hysteria, blaming the children for the family’s ill fortunes. Escaping into the woods and in search of food, Gretel and Hansel stumble upon the remote hovel of a woman named Holda (Alice Krige). Taking to their host, it is soon revealed that the kind lady is actually an enchantress that plans on consuming the children. Atmospheric and moody, director Osgood Perkins relies more on tone than straight dialogue to reimagine the fantastical world of the long-cherished fairytale, a feat that works in his favor.
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Stars: Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Sammy Leakey
Director: Osgood Perkins
Runtime: 114 minutes
Fast Color (2019)
Ruth has some uncanny abilities. For starters, whenever she has a seizure, there’s an earthquake. A vagrant, Ruth has her sights set on home, but a troubling scientist named Bill (Christopher Denham) posing as a friendly ride into town puts Ruth on edge. When Bill attempts to draw blood from her, she vacates his vehicle and runs off. Arriving at her family’s old home, Ruth is reconnected with her mother and daughter, both of whom also possess supernatural abilities. As the family begins to rekindle their relationships, Bill and local sheriff Ellis (David Straithorn) begin closing in on the mystical family. Led by remarkable performances from the main ensemble, particularly Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and an airtight script with a medley of fantastical genres at play, Fast Color comes along at a time when the superhero genre needed a breath of fresh air.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, David Straitharn
Director: Julia Hart
Runtime: 102 minutes
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