What do a time-lost teenager, a dying man with a creative memory, an unscrupulous poltergeist, a pair of witch-hunting siblings, and a booze-addled superhero all have in common? They’re some of the best reasons to watch some of the best fantasy movies out there, and all of those movies are on Hulu. Along with offering its subscribers great examples of sci-fi, horror, and other genres, Hulu’s got some unforgettable fantasy flicks. To help you wade through all the pixie dust and flurries of kung-fu kicks, we’ve put together this roundup of the best fantasy movies on Hulu this month.
When the Maitlands die in a car accident, it doesn’t make them any more willing to give up their home. In spite of all the tips offered in their complimentary copy of Handbook for the Recently Deceased, the ghosts can’t make a dent in the resolve of the wealthy city slickers who move into their idyllic country house. Eventually, they make the mistake of turning to a poltergeist with fewer scruples — the ruthless undead motormouth Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton). Released a year before Batman, 1988’s Beetlejuice was the first chance many audiences had to learn what Tim Burton’s singular style could achieve. If you’ve never seen it, give yourself a treat and see a young Winona Ryder as a stereotypical depressed teenager, the always uproarious Catherine O’Hara as a trendy socialite, and Keaton as the hilariously revolting titular antagonist. Fair warning — you will never think of Harry Belafonte’s “Day O” the same way.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Michael Keaton, Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Winona Ryder
Director: Tim Burton
Runtime: 92 minutes
Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) is a young journalist who’s been listening to his father’s tall tales his entire life. When the end of Edward Bloom’s (Albert Finney) life draws near, Will digs into his father’s past to separate the fact from fiction, unearthing a long story involving circuses, giants, witches, and more. Finney steals the movie as the tale-spinning father Edward, and Ewan McGregor is perfect as the younger Edward. While the kind of fantastical worlds Tim Burton is known for creating are usually cartoonish fusions of horror and comedy, with 2003’s Big Fish, the director delivers perhaps his most intimate and emotionally potent feature.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup
Director: Tim Burton
Runtime: 125 minutes
One of the most delicious types of fantasy stories is the kind that sends someone from the more mundane world into one filled with magic, tapping into our own dreams of doing the same. The 2008 Wuxia film The Forbidden Kingdom not only fits the bill, but it features the first movie collaboration between big-screen martial arts masters Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Michael Angarano stars as the young Jason who is catapulted back in time after discovering a mystical golden staff in a South Boston pawnshop. Awaking in ancient China, Jason soon finds allies in the form of the heavy-drinking Lu Yan (Chan), the Golden Sparrow (Liu Yifei), and the Silent Monk (Li) as they all embark on a quest to defeat the evil Jade Warlord (Collin Chou). Fun and chock-full of masterfully choreographed martial arts scenes, The Forbidden Kingdom is a largely bloodless and engaging adventure.
Rotten Tomatoes: 63%
Stars: Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michael Angarano
Director: Rob Minkoff
Runtime: 104 minutes
The cynical knight Bowen (Dennis Quaid) has an interesting arrangement with Draco, the world’s last dragon, voiced by the late Sir Sean Connery. Draco pretends to terrorize helpless villagers who then hire Bowen to “slay” the beast. Things get a lot more serious for con-man and con-dragon when the rule of the despotic Einon (David Thewlis) becomes too terrible for Bowen to ignore. Unfortunately, Bowen discovers that setting things right won’t be as easy as simply killing his former student. Since it was Draco who saved Einon’s life years before by gifting him with a piece of his own heart, the death of the tyrant will also mean the death of the last dragon. Dragonheart was panned by critics, but its enduring popularity and its continuing film series proves critics and fans can be two very different animals. Speaking of the film series, if you’re a fan, then don’t despair. The same day Dragonheart starts streaming on Hulu, it will be accompanied by the 2000 sequel Dragonheart: A New Beginning as well as the 2015 prequel Dragonheart 3: A Sorcerer’s Curse and the 2017 follow-up Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire.
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Sean Connery, Dina Meyer
Director: Rob Cohen
Runtime: 103 minutes
What do you do after escaping the hungry plans of a witch? You hunt witches professionally, of course. At least that’s the fate of the titular fairy tale twins in 2013’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner as Hansel and Gemma Arterton as his crossbow-wielding sister, Gretel. Unsurprisingly, Hansel & Gretel suffered no love affair with reviewers. The film is utterly ridiculous, including the plotline that sweets fed to Hansel as a child caused him to suffer a mystical form of diabetes that threatens to kill him every few hours. But once you accept the absurdity, what you’re left with is a fun, gore-happy, action-packed flick that never tries to be anything more than that.
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Stars: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Runtime: 88 minutes
Corporate culture is getting out of whack, especially in writer-director Boots Riley’s satirical Sorry to Bother You. Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield) lives in his uncle’s garage and spends his days as a telemarketer for RegalView, a fictionalized umbrella organization with a sinister underbelly. As Cash rises through the ranks of the evil empire, the world onscreen becomes increasingly more bizarre with every power move the up-and-coming Cash makes. A wild blend of racial and consumer satirizing meets a never-ending fantastical nightmare, Sorry to Bother You is a mind-melter you don’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler
Director: Boots Riley
Runtime: 105 minutes
High school years are a checklist of crucial moves. Get good grades and excel academically, apply to colleges, make friends, find love, make a meaningful impact before exploding into smithereens in front of your peers and teachers. In Brian Duffield’s Spontaneous, two high school seniors, Mara (Katherine Langford) and Dylan (Charlie Plummer), are faced with the whirlwind reality that they could literally explode at any moment, as it’s happening to all their friends in the middle of the school day. Spontaneous combustion aside, Spontaneous is a coming-of-age teen flick turned on its head and packed to the brim with gore, guts, and gasps. Not for light stomachs.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Katherine Langford, Charlie Plummer, Yvonne Orji
Director: Brian Duffield
Runtime: 102 minutes
In Above the Shadows, Olivia Thirlby stars as Holly, a woman who has literally faded from the seeable world. Invisible for years, her saving grace arrives in the form of a downtrodden MMA fighter named Shayne (Alan Ritchson). When Holly learns that one of her own tabloid photographs contributed to Shayne’s public image demise, she’ll do whatever it takes to restore the fighter to his former glory in an attempt to vanquish her invisibility. A film that demands a firm disconnect from our own reality, Above the Shadows dabbles in fantasy and romance in fitting but larger-than-life ways. The story meanders a bit, and the metaphor’s muddled, but the movie works in more ways than it doesn’t.
Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Stars: Olivia Thirlby, Alan Ritchson, Megan Fox
Director: Claudia Myers
Runtime: 111 minutes
In Hancock, Will Smith stars as the titular character, a belligerent superhero that watches over the city of Los Angeles, protecting and enraging its citizens. Why rage? With every heroic feat comes a string of neverending property damage and other ancillary casualties. It’s practically Hancock’s calling card. But Hancock could care less, for he’s just as fed up with LA’s critical denizens as they are of him. Then, one day, the anti-hero rescues a PR representative named Ray (Jason Bateman), who pledges to help the alcoholic superman with his public image. Written in part by Breaking Bad‘s Vince best boviesdGilligan, Hancock gives Will Smith the stage to unleash a darker brand of comedy-acting than what the world had come to rely on from the Fresh Prince star.
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Stars: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman
Director: Peter Berg
Runtime: 92 minutes
Tina (Eva Melander) is a Swedish customs officer with an amazing sense of smell. Not just a heightened sense, though — the ability is borderline supernatural, as Tina can use her nose to detect lies, guilt, shame, and other hidden emotions from those she encounters. One day, the customs officer comes across a man named Vore (Eero Milonoff). Sensing something very off about the traveler, Tina begins a personal investigation that ends up opening doors about her own past, revealing secrets and answering questions about herself she’s had her whole life. A wild blend of sci-fi, fantasy, Nordic fable, and other sub-genres, Border is one you don’t want to miss.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Eva Melander, Eero Milonoff, Viktor Åkerblom
Director: Ali Abbasi
Runtime: 108 minutes
Colossal stars Anne Hathaway as Gloria, a down-on-her-luck writer going through a recent breakup. Forced to relocate to her hometown when her boyfriend kicks her out, Gloria takes up a job at a local bar. Drinking her sorrows away while re-acclimating to her stomping grounds, a towering reptilian beast emerges in South Korea. Leaving a wake of destruction in its path, Gloria soon learns that she and the mythic titan share a psychosomatic connection. Whenever Gloria acts out, so does the monster. Once the link is established, Gloria must learn to deal with her own emotions before the Godzilla-beast wreaks havoc across the entire globe. Led by a powerful performance by Hathaway and a sharp narrative and directing by Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal is an unforgettable mashup of monster-movie-meets-character-drama.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Austin Stowell
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Runtime: 110 minutes
Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx), an orphan, arrives at the estate of her uncle — the stoic Lord Archibald Craven (Colin Firth). Her next of kin, his lordship pays little mind to his niece. Thus, the girl wanders the house and grounds. Deep in the woods, the young Mary discovers a hidden garden. A luscious and vibrant haven, the garden is Mary’s dear hideaway and a restorative healing place. When tensions rise within the family and secrets are unveiled, the garden becomes Mary’s only hope. This 2020 adaptation of the 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett novel is, in fact, the fourth film adaptation. It’s cozy, if not a bit formulaic in its approach, but comes at a time when a bit of grandeur and heart go a long way. We highly recommend it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Stars: Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dixie Egerickx, Maeve Dermody, Amir Wilson
Director: Marc Munden
Runtime: 100 minutes
Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning The Shape of the Water stars Sally Hawkins as Elisa, a mute janitorial worker at a top-secret government facility in Baltimore, 1962. With the Cold War hanging heavy in the air, Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) plans on using an aquatic humanoid (Doug Jones) he discovered in South America as some kind of armament against the Russians. As Elisa develops a romantic connection with the creature, she formulates a plan of her own, with the help of co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and next-door neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins). With an ensemble of great performances, mesmerizing cinematography, and a story with a ton of heart, The Shape of Water more than earned its Best Picture laurel.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Runtime: 123 minutes
In this alternative origin story of the ever-nimble Peter Pan, an orphaned Pan (Levi Miller) comes of age in turn-of-the-century London. After being captured by a band of airborne pirates, Pan and other orphans are kidnapped and whisked off to Neverland to mine for pixie dust for the wretched Captain Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Escaping Blackbeard’s clutches, with the help of fellow captive James Hook (Garrett Hedlund), the pair join forces with Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) to save Neverland from Blackbeard and his goons. Pan doesn’t do anything too significant in reshaping the J.M. Barrie mythos, but it’s a majestic fantasy flick with colorful set pieces and a tremendous score.
Rotten Tomatoes: 27%
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Runtime: 111 minutes
Disillusioned with life as a top assassin, Henry Brogan (Will Smith) throws in the towel on his violent career. That is until a cloned, younger version of himself takes up arms against him. The mysterious doppelganger is quick and tactile, just as Henry was in his glory days of killing. It’ll take everything Henry’s got to evade sudden death by his own hands. A loaded action flick set against a fantasy backdrop, Gemini Man isn’t Oscar-worthy by any means but doesn’t disappoint when it comes to hard-hitting, gunslinging action.
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Stars: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen
Director: Ang Lee
Runtime: 117 minutes
Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) leads an unfulfilling life as a negative assets manager for Life magazine. Disenchanted with his role, he daydreams of an adventurous life where he reigns supreme and everyone knows his name. As Life prepares to move to an exclusively digital format, the company sends Walter on a journey across the world to capture the “quintessential” image for the magazine’s final cover. Ben Stiller shines as the titular character, a subtle performance that meshes nicely with the film and short-story author James Thurber’s larger-than-life narrative.
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Stars: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Ben Stiller
Runtime: 114 minutes
In the magical kingdom of Florin, the fair Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) is forced to wed the dastardly Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). When she’s kidnapped by a band of thieves before her wedding, her one true love, Westley (Cary Elwes), begins a heroic journey to rescue the princess in this classic fairytale fantasy flick. Adapted from screenwriter William Goldman’s 1973 novel of the same name, The Princess Bride is every bit as dazzling and memorable as it was when it first hit cinema screens more than three decades ago. Harkening back to the whimsy of classic Hollywood spectacles like Zorro and Robin Hood, The Princess Bride isn’t afraid to be bold and playful, which is why we all still love it today.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Andre the Giant
Director: Rob Reiner
Runtime: 98 minutes
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