Are you looking for some sensational escapism? What could possibly satisfy more than amazing fantasy films? This wonderful genre leads viewers down a path into magical realms, where myths and monsters roam, surprises lurk around every corner and heroes embark on adventures epic, scandalous and exciting. Whether you are looking for something silly, scary or surreal, pulsating, heartwarming or heartbreaking, we have covered you with a wide range of fantasy favorites.
Here are the ten best fantasy movies now available on Netflix.
1. Pan’s Labyrinth
Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro impressed audiences around the world with his striking and dark tale of a brave young girl on an unforgettable adventure. In rural Franco-Spain in 1944, ten-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) longs for freedom from the tyranny of her sadistic stepfather (Sergi López). So when a cryptic faun (Doug Jones) offers a dangerous quest, she eagerly dives into a world of monsters, magic and evil. The visionary director del Toro ties the real horrors of war together with the amazing terror often found in fairy tales, creating a film fascinating and frightening. Jaw-catching visuals, eye-catching creature design and a heartbreaking story garnered this astonishing critical acclaim as well as three Academy Awards, three BAFTAs and a full eight Goya Awards (Spain’s response to the Oscars).
How to see: Pan’s Labyrinth streams on Netflix.
Based on the Neil Gaiman novel of the same name, this exciting offer from 2007 follows a couple of star-crossed lovers, one of whom is a cross-star! Charlie Cox and Claire Dane’s headlines in this magical tale of boy-meets-girl. He is a daring young man waiting for a star treasure to call for the most beautiful boy in his picturesque English village. Meanwhile, she is a literal celestial body that has been knocked out of heaven by a royal turn of destiny. Together they must cross a strange land full of cloud-sailing pirates, bloodthirsty princes and evil witches. Director Matthew Vaughn brings together an impeccable cast that boasts Robert De Niro, Peter O’Toole, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett and a fiery hot Michelle Pfeiffer. All this gives a wild ride full of exciting action, naughty humor and dizzying romance.
How to see: Stardust streams on Netflix.
Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo and Kristen Stewart in Jon Favreau’s “Zathura”.
Credit: Merrick Morton / Columbia / Kobal / Shutterstock
If you love Jumanji, you will enjoy her sister flick outside the world. Also adapted from a Chris Van Allsburg book, Zathura also contains a board game that bleeds into the real world, but shoots the premise all the way into outer space. When two quarrelsome brothers (Josh Hutcherson and Jonah Bobo) roll the dice on a mysterious game, their humble house is locked among the stars, leaving them open to scandalous attacks from meteor showers, a fierce robot and an evil alien race of humans eating lizards. To survive the game, these brothers must team up with their ugly older sister (Kristen Stewart) and an enigmatic astronaut (Dax Shepard) for a rocky road of excitement and adventure. In his follow-up to the widely loved Pixie, director Jon Favreau offers an adaptation that is sparkling with family-friendly fun and fascinating action that makes Zathura a perfect game for good times.
How to see: Zathura streams on Netflix.
4. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The world
What if the baggage you brought into a relationship played out like a video game? It’s the premise of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel that inspired this crazy romantic comedy. Michael Cera stars as the 22-year-old Toronto ton, Scott Pilgrim, who explodes in cartoons about his new relationship with the impossibly cool Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). That is until he is told about her Seven Evil Exes, which he must each defeat in a brutal battle. Edgar Wright brings the manic chaos of video games, the graphic panache of comics and a rocking soundtrack along with an ensemble filled with Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Aubrey Plaza, Brandon Routh and Jason Schwartzman. All this star power and style could not do Scott Pilgrim Vs. The world a hit at the box office. Nevertheless, critics cheered, and a fierce fan following has made this a boiled cult classic.
How to see: Scott Pilgrim Vs. The world streams on Netflix.
5. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Liam Aiken and Emily Browning star as the besieged Baudelaires in “Lemony Snickets A Series Of Unfortunate Events”.
Credit: Francois Duhamel / Paramount / Kobal / Shutterstock
Based on the titular children’s book series, this dark comic film follows a trio of brilliant orphans as they outwit a greedy villain. The Baudelaire children, thrown from one nursing home to the next, must not only fight their grief, but also misfortune, conspiracy, and the sinister mechanizations of Count Olaf (a joyous play by Jim Carrey). Fortunately, each of the children has a special ability to help with their survival and the daring whims of the film. Director Brad Silberling brings Snicket’s gothic adventures to life with a rolling tempo, a lush production design and a dazzling casting cast that includes Jude Law, Billy Connolly, Catherine O’Hara, Cedric the Entertainer and THE Meryl Streep. Plus, if you can’t get enough of these weird yarns, Netflix has it also a restarted TV series.
6. About time
Time travel is often a science fiction thing. However, in the hands of Love Indeed author / director Richard Curtis, this timey-wimey device is more about romantic fantasy than anything else. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl. It is the enviable position in which a foolish Englishman (Domhnall Gleeson) finds himself and realizes that he has inherited the power to travel up and down his own timeline. At first, this provides the kind of fun one would expect from a romantic comedy. However, Curtis soon explores the double-edged sword sliding into the past. Bringing home the film’s most emotional moments is the impeccable ensemble of Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan and Tom Hollander. Be warned: this is a tear-jerker. So have a tissue or two ready.
How to see: About Time streams on Netflix.
7. A monster calls
Do you want imagination that is wild and heartbreaking? Then you will appreciate this tender adaptation of Patrick Ness’ beloved novel. With the ghost story The orphanage and the disaster drama The impossible, Spanish director JA Bayona has carved out a niche to make compelling stories about mother-son. Here he chisels the intriguing story of a boy who is in control of his mother’s deadly disease. If he needs a friend and a place to share his pain and rage, the boy attaches himself to a towering wooden animal talking to the comforting familiar snarl of Liam Neeson. Photo-real computer graphics land this eponymous monster in the real world. Then violent fables animated in splashes of watercolor and spilled ink bring an extra oomph and sense of wonder. The result is a beautiful and gripping portrait of grief that had critics and audiences in awe.
How to see: A Monster Calls streams on Netflix.
8. The old guard
Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Andy (Charlize Theron) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) in “The Old Guard” on Netflix.
Credit: AIMEE SPINKS / NETFLIX
For fantasy with a superhero flare, check out this action-packed thriller from critically acclaimed director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Charlize Theron plays the role of Andy, the leader of a hidden band of almost immortal mercenaries. For centuries, they have fought together to save humanity from destruction. But when a new member is added to the team (a fascinating Kiki Layne), this old guard is entangled with a threat that could tear them to pieces for good. Adapted from Greg Rucka’s graphic novel of the same name, The old guard brings a sharp edge and an R rating to the shiny and bloodless superhero standard. The scattered and graphic fight scenes hit hard, but the incredible ensemble that includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli and Chiwetel Ejiofor hits harder. Together, they bring a sophisticated pathos that doesn’t usually fit with the showy amount of cloak.
How to see: The Old Guard streams on Netflix.
Few things are as amazing and fun as a Manga-made live-action. Based on the popular Japanese cartoon by Tite Kubo, Bleach follows Ichigo Kurosaki, a whimsical teenager who turns into a Soul Reaper through a twist of face and brave sacrifice. During the day, he has to endure all the drama associated with high school. At night, with the help of his tormenting mentor Rukia Kuchiki, he must guide good ghosts to their peaceful afterlife and fight against evil spirits. Director Shinsuke Sato brings an anime-like verve to the film that uses zippered graphics, a lively soundtrack, a bouncing tone, a barrage of fearsome enemies, and kick-ass martial arts action. The stars Sôta Fukushi and Hana Sugisaki are completely in harmony and deliver performances that pop with personality. Best of all, if you want more, Netflix is also streaming five seasons of the animated customization.
How to see: Bleach streams on Netflix.
10. Small monsters
Long before there was Monsters Inc., this live-action comedy explored the crazy friendship between a child and the monster under his bed. Wonderful years-era Fred Savage plays as a suburban boy who is dizzy to dive into the underground world of night-crawling critters. Howie Mandel strikes on blue face paint and horns to play a manic monster bud. Together, they party in a fierce realm without parents, homework or rules and offer the audience the thrilling thrill of what it means to be the thing that goes bump at night! Of course, Small monsters was a bomb in the box office and was snarked by critics. Nevertheless, this 1989 fantasy hits a sweet spot for nostalgia. Director Richard Alan Greenberg uses practical effects, slapstick and a proud young sense of humor to create a joyfully silly sense of guilt.
How to see: Little Monsters streams on Netflix.