Favorite underrated fantasy films


Movies

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Liberty's Edge

I think i heard about that "Rings" movie a couple years ago... It didn't got much promotion, right?
About Sword in the Stone Merlin-Morgana duel... well, neat is not the word I would use... It is funny for children, I grant you that.


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Wrath of the Titans was way better than expected. Particularly since the Clash of the Titans remake was so bad.

The made for TV movie The Odyssey staring Armand Assante is vastly underrated and underseen.

Also one of my favorites as a kid was Dragonslayer. Peter MacNicol was not a particularly good heroic lead but the star of the movie was that awesome dragon Vermithrax.

The Exchange

Yes, Dragonslayer is indeed cool, and Vermithrax is probably the last, and greatest, flowering of stop-motion special effects.


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I've seen a few mentions the warm my heart. 'Dragonslayer', 'The Golden Voyage of Sinbad', 'The Last Unicorn', 'Excalibur'. All great movies. I actually enjoyed Jason Momoa's portrayal of Conan more than Ah-nold... he was just sabotaged by a bad director, a patchy script, and the very limited acting range of his co-star Rachel Nichols.

For myself, I would add the forgotten movie 'Arabian Adventure' with a very young Emma Samms. A film that includes Christopher Lee as the villain, and unexpected appearance by Mickey Rooney, and smalls roles by Peter Cushing and John Ratzenberger. LOVED this movie as a child.

Sovereign Court

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Old Clash of the Titans. Those skeletons were awesome.


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Hama wrote:
Old Clash of the Titans. Those skeletons were awesome.

I swear that movie changed my DNA. It was my gateway drug and has led me to a lifelong addiction of Fantasy.

Is it underrated? In my mind it's one of the greatest fantasy movies ever made.


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Hama wrote:
Old Clash of the Titans. Those skeletons were awesome.

For me, it is the old Jason and the Argonauts. The Children of the Hydras Teeth were awesome.

Liberty's Edge

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ray Harryhausen was awesome all on his own, no matter the movie.


Conan the Barbarian (both)
Dragonslayer
Sword and the Sorcerer

I know it's not fantasy, and the CGI is very conspicuous, but

Event Horizon (prequel to the entire Warhammer 40k universe!)

Sovereign Court

Unofficial prequel.


The Beastmaster.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
The Beastmaster.

Was is Chris Rock who said that HBO was an acronym for Hey Beastmasters On? TBS was lovingly called "The Beastmaster Station". I think I watched it wayyyyy to many times.

Beastmaster is awesome.


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Not a movie but Robin of Sherwood was an 80's British televison show I loved. It added a hint of magic to the Robin Hood legend.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

2 people marked this as a favorite.

If we're wandering off-topic to include "movies with swords in them", anyone on these boards who's never seen old Musketeers films starring Michael York and Ollie Reed must immediately seek to rectify this shortcoming in their lives. Fantastically choreographed swashbuckling duels, a brilliant undercurrent of Pythonesque humour (plus Spike Milligan!) and a few surprisingly dark moments.

I'll also raise a toast to Nate and Hayes, loved that movie as a child - British viewers know it as "Savage Isles" (it took me a while to track down because of that). Fun seeing Tommy Lee Jones taking a Harrison Ford-esque role as a dashing pirate.

Someone said wrote:
Event Horizon (prequel to the entire Warhammer 40k universe!)

I'm pretty sure Warhammer 40 K preceded Event Horizon by at least a decade or so.

Sovereign Court

Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:


I'm pretty sure Warhammer 40 K preceded Event Horizon by at least a decade or so.

Not in fluff.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Hama wrote:
Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:


I'm pretty sure Warhammer 40 K preceded Event Horizon by at least a decade or so.

Not in fluff.

Fearful as I am disagreeing with gnolls, Event Horizon was made in '97. Rogue Trader came out in '87 and had plenty of fluff, and White Dwarf had a lot of fluff over the course of the next decade. If anything, it appears the fluff in Games Workshop stuff has gone down rather up in over the years.

:=)


Isn't that exactly what a prequel is? A thing made later that comes earlier in chronology?

Mind you, I have only vague memories of Event Horizon and never paid much attention to Warhammer, so I've got little idea what the connection is supposed to be.

Sovereign Court

Are y'all talking about the Larry Fishburne and Sam Neil movie?


Yes. A pretty decent creepy movie.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

mittean wrote:

I know a lot of us are always looking for new fantasy movies that fly under the radar. I'm wondering what everyone's are?

I bring this up because some good friends of mine just released a film called Mythica on ConTV (a free Netflix-for-nerds site) that is pretty awesome. At a minimum its better than the D&D movies, and at fraction of the cost.

I loved growing up with films like LadyHawke, and Willow, and even Goonies. What about you guys?

I have to thank Mittean for coming on the show and talking about the Dungeons & Dragons movie with us. We had a great time, and fantasy fans should check out the show.

Dragonreel ep 5 - Dungeons & Dragons (2000)


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Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
If we're wandering off-topic to include "movies with swords in them", anyone on these boards who's never seen old Musketeers films starring Michael York and Ollie Reed must immediately seek to rectify this shortcoming in their lives. Fantastically choreographed swashbuckling duels, a brilliant undercurrent of Pythonesque humour (plus Spike Milligan!) and a few surprisingly dark moments.

ABSOLUTELY. 'The Three Musketeers' & 'The Four Musketeers' were movies without compare in the swashbuckler genre. And what a cast! Michael York, Oliver Reed (such an underrated actor!), Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston... I'd go so far as to say these two movies were to the swashbuckler genre that the 'Avengers' are to the comic book hero genre. Great call!


I remember seeing them as a kid when they first came out..for a while Micheal York was my favorite actor..I think they came out around the same time as loguns run

Sovereign Court

GreyWolfLord wrote:


I absolutely love the animated Sinbad movie by DreamWorks. That's perhaps my favorite of the animated movies.

I was not at all aware of a Sinbad movie. My curiosity is piqued...


Ugh. HATED HATED HATED the Michael York 3 Musketeers -- it's as bad as the stupid Disney one with Kiefer Sutherland.

The Gene Kelly version of Three Musketeers is totally awesome, however, and the silent version with Douglas Fairbanks has yet to be surpassed.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I know it shall elicit groans, but the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland is good, and has an excellent depiction of a Jabberwocky, though the scene was somewhat anticlimactic for my specific tastes.

I recognize Reign of Fire as a cheesy movie, but I also enjoyed it well enough for what it was.

I'd also be remiss to mention Princess Mononoke, though I'm not sure how that fits vis r vis underrated films.

John Carter was another certainly underrated movie in my book, though I'm prepared to weather the scorn that comes with that statement.

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Lorathorn wrote:
John Carter was another certainly underrated movie in my book, though I'm prepared to weather the scorn that comes with that statement.

I liked it.

My taste in movies sometimes seems to go completely against ticket sales. I really like some flops like Sahara and Thirteenth Warrior, but find super-hits like the Transformers movies kind of dull.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Lorathorn wrote:

I know it shall elicit groans, but the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland is good, and has an excellent depiction of a Jabberwocky, though the scene was somewhat anticlimactic for my specific tastes.

I recognize Reign of Fire as a cheesy movie, but I also enjoyed it well enough for what it was.

I'd also be remiss to mention Princess Mononoke, though I'm not sure how that fits vis r vis underrated films.

John Carter was another certainly underrated movie in my book, though I'm prepared to weather the scorn that comes with that statement.

No scorn from me here. I liked John Carter and think that it was improperly maligned. Then again I loved SPEED RACER at first sight and STILL DO.


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I too enjoyed John Carter, and found Transformers dull.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Llyr the Scoundrel wrote:
Transylvanian Tadpole wrote:
If we're wandering off-topic to include "movies with swords in them", anyone on these boards who's never seen old Musketeers films starring Michael York and Ollie Reed must immediately seek to rectify this shortcoming in their lives. Fantastically choreographed swashbuckling duels, a brilliant undercurrent of Pythonesque humour (plus Spike Milligan!) and a few surprisingly dark moments.
ABSOLUTELY. 'The Three Musketeers' & 'The Four Musketeers' were movies without compare in the swashbuckler genre. And what a cast! Michael York, Oliver Reed (such an underrated actor!), Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee, Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, and Charlton Heston... I'd go so far as to say these two movies were to the swashbuckler genre that the 'Avengers' are to the comic book hero genre. Great call!

*Blinks*

Has no one here seen SCARAMOUCHE? I mean I love the Salkind MUSKETEER movies as well but for my money the best sword fights / duels come at the end of ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD and SCARAMOUCHE with SCARAMOUCHE taking the lead by a country mile.


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Set wrote:

I really like some flops like ... Thirteenth Warrior ...

The 13th Warrior is a wildly underrated film.


Set wrote:
I really like some flops like Sahara

[tangent] This is one of my favorite popcorn flicks of all time. [/tangent]

Sovereign Court

It would seem that I am in good company.


Eben TheQuiet wrote:
Set wrote:
I really like some flops like Sahara
[tangent] This is one of my favorite popcorn flicks of all time. [/tangent]

That shouldn't have worked.

Yes, I like it too.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I too liked John Carter. It was a fun movie, but it helped having read the books.


So, Event Horizon was a prequel to WH40K?

Was it meant that way?

I never really made that connection, or it as a connection previously, so I'm curious if this was actually suggested or came out somewhere?

As for John Carter, I really enjoyed it. Wish they would continue the series, but know they won't.

Sovereign Court

GreyWolfLord wrote:

So, Event Horizon was a prequel to WH40K?

Was it meant that way?

I never really made that connection, or it as a connection previously, so I'm curious if this was actually suggested or came out somewhere?

As for John Carter, I really enjoyed it. Wish they would continue the series, but know they won't.

No. It wasn't. Actually the producers never heard of the WH40K. It's just that the story is so alike...like a first jump through the warp, with no Geller fields to protect people.


I might have to give Event Horizon another go. I tend to not like most "horror" movies.


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My ex-wife and I went to Event Horizon having evidently seen the one trailer that implied it was fairly straight sci-fi. We both despise horror, and had no idea what was coming.

We practically staggered out of the theater, exchanged haunted looks and said, as one, "That was really good. I hated it."


I'll have to agree with all the references to Harryhausen - "underrated" isn't quite an accurate description, but I think a lot of the younger folks have probably been missing out on them, and I can't help recommending them highly. I'm fond of stop-motion monsters whether Harryhausen did the effects or not, in fact:

Jason and the Argonauts
Mighty Joe Young
King Kong
7th Voyage of Sinbad
Golden Voyage of Sinbad (with Doctor Who as one of the villains!)
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger
Clash of the Titans
Valley of Gwangi (cowboys vs. dinosaurs!)
Dragonslayer
Equinox (the ambitions of this 1970's Lovecraftian student film exceeded the grasp of the budget and the sound, editing, and acting are worthy of Mystery Science Theater, but I find the stop-motion "special" effects charming, and I feel that Equinox does have its moments in there, somewhere)

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) and some of the other big-lizard-in-rubber-suit movies count as fantasy films, I think, and are no more or less "underrated" than the Harryhausen films. The same goes for some of the 1960's films based on H.G.Wells and Jules Verne stories (various '60's adaptations of 20,000 Leagues, First Men in the Moon, the Time Machine, The Mysterious Island, and so on).

The original Conan films were mostly goofy fun, even the lesser sequels and spin-offs - more so than the ratings might suggest. I didn't mind the new Conan movies, either.

Yor, Hunter from the Future was a hoot - as someone said earlier, it really does come off like a naive 1970's or 1980's D&D plot gone off the rails... I bet any of us who gamed as youngsters saw at least one game like that. It deserves every bit of the bad ratings it got, but it's still fun for at least one viewing.

10,000 BC (2008), Land of the Lost, John Carter of Mars, and Solomon Kane all seem to have taken a beating in the ratings and reviews, and perhaps mediocre ratings would be a little more fair than one or two of these films deserve, but I mostly had fun with all of them.

Those hilariously bad old animated Tolkien films were rated badly and deserved it, but so-bad-its-good moments, like the song "Where There's A Whip, There's a Way", are almost worth the price of admission.

Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Willow are at least mostly harmless.

There were a couple of made-for-TV Ewoks films from the 1980s that were even more fantasy film than the Star Wars franchise they spun off from, and were arguably rated lower than they deserved (your mileage may vary depending on how badly Ewoks get on your nerves, though). I haven't seen them since they first aired, but I do remember them being a good amount of fun.

Army of Darkness was a blast.

I didn't care for the "Mummy" franchise or for the "Scorpion King" franchise, but I suppose they (or at least some of the sequels) were both rated pretty poorly, and might not have been completely as awful as the ratings might suggest.

There were at least a couple Alan Quatermain and Indiana Jones rip-off films back in the 1980's that were OK... I really can't remember much about them, except that nobody really remembers them now, and they seemed mostly harmless to me.

I rather enjoyed what I saw of the "Librarians" films (and TV series) from TNT... I take it they rubbed some reviewers the wrong way, but I thought they were quite enjoyable.

The Lost Continent (1968) was one that I remember as being one of the most bizarre fantasy films from my childhood: the crew and passengers of a steamship get stuck in a swamp of Sargasso seaweed with pirates and conquistadors and a bunch of goofy monsters.... Underrated? Probably not - I bet it earned whatever low rating it surely must have gotten. But, from what I remember of it, it should still get a point or two for an imaginative premise, at least.


Yor's World.

He's the man. Also it's basically Numeria.


dot

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
yronimos wrote:
The Lost Continent (1968) was one that I remember as being one of the most bizarre fantasy films from my childhood: the crew and passengers of a steamship get stuck in a swamp of Sargasso seaweed with pirates and conquistadors and a bunch of goofy monsters.... Underrated? Probably not - I bet it earned whatever low rating it surely must have gotten. But, from what I remember of it, it should still get a point or two for an imaginative premise, at least.

Was that the one with the people who lived on the seaweed using personal balloons to keep from sinking when they went from ship to ship?

Sovereign Court

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Island at the Top of the World was a pretty good Disney movie, for its time. As an added bonus, it had Mako as one of the stars. He steals the show, naturally.


I remember going to the Neverending Story for a classmates birthday party. There was about six of us and the prevailing pier pressured opinion was that the movie was lame.

And while I too said it was lame (because capitulating with the herd is what you do at that age) I secretly loved that movie.

Liberty's Edge

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Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:

Wizards

"Here's a little trick mom showed me when you weren't around" :) Best ending to a wizard dual ever.

Shadow Lodge

Godzilla: the Heisei and Millennium era films. While the best Godzilla movie is the original, the Shōwa era quickly grew way too silly for my tastes.

I'm also hopeful that the Toho reboot that's scheduled for next year will be good.

The American reboot from 2014 was OK, but I'd still put both the Heisei and Millennium era films ahead of it. Definitely it was better than the mid-to-late Shōwa era.

We shall not speak of the '98 Zilla abomination.


John Woodford wrote:
yronimos wrote:
The Lost Continent (1968) was one that I remember as being one of the most bizarre fantasy films from my childhood: the crew and passengers of a steamship get stuck in a swamp of Sargasso seaweed with pirates and conquistadors and a bunch of goofy monsters.... Underrated? Probably not - I bet it earned whatever low rating it surely must have gotten. But, from what I remember of it, it should still get a point or two for an imaginative premise, at least.
Was that the one with the people who lived on the seaweed using personal balloons to keep from sinking when they went from ship to ship?

I believe that's it - I last saw that film in the 1970's, but that's one of the things I remember vividly from it :)


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Yes, Dragonslayer is indeed cool, and Vermithrax is probably the last, and greatest, flowering of stop-motion special effects.

I'm gonna nit pick since I'm a big fan of cinema, but Vermithrax was done with "go motion." Guillermo del Toro said in an interview he wantsd to use similar effects for Smaug before Peter Jackson got back on board. A sad loss!

I'll contribute something that isnt a film but in the vein of The Last Unicorn and Flight of the Dragons that Pirates of Dark Water was a great fantasy animated series in the... 80s, I believe?


Terronus wrote:
Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Yes, Dragonslayer is indeed cool, and Vermithrax is probably the last, and greatest, flowering of stop-motion special effects.

I'm gonna nit pick since I'm a big fan of cinema, but Vermithrax was done with "go motion." Guillermo del Toro said in an interview he wantsd to use similar effects for Smaug before Peter Jackson got back on board. A sad loss!

I'll contribute something that isnt a film but in the vein of The Last Unicorn and Flight of the Dragons that Pirates of Dark Water was a great fantasy animated series in the... 80s, I believe?

Loved Pirates of Darkwater. Even though it came out when I was going through that I'm too old for cartoons phase I watched every episode.


Since we're onto animated fantasy films...

"Secret of N.I.M.H." - I seem to recall this one getting rated somewhat low back at the time. I finally saw it several years ago, and recall it being enjoyable.

"Watership Down"

"Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro" (your mileage may vary on whether they are "under-rated", but I would normally rate anime low, and found to my surprise that I enjoyed both of these films a lot); similarly for "Paranoia Agent" (which would be one of the few situations where I found an animated TV show actually creepy from time to time) and "Neon Genesis Evangelion"

"Wizards (1977)" had its moments (though it was definitely a product of the 1970's, and a LOT of acid....)

"Bedknobs and Broomsticks" - I didn't watch many fantasy films growing up, but I used to catch this one every time it was on TV.

"Dot and the Kangaroo" - I haven't seen this since the 1980's and don't remember much about this, except for the creepy bit about the Bunyip... it seems the Bunyip is the thing everyone remembers about this film....

More under-rated or forgotten (generally non-animated) fantasy films:

"Curse of the Cat People" - a sequel to the original Val Lewton horror classic "Cat People (1942)", "Curse of the Cat People" tends to be forgotten due to mood whiplash as a fantasy film with almost no horror at all.

"Witches (1990)" (as an adaptation of a Roald Dahl story, I bet this one terrorized more than a few kids in its time)

"Neverending Story" and "Legend", like "Dark Crystal", "Labyrinth" and "Willow", are at least mostly harmless.

"Time Bandits" and "The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen" were great, as is "Big Trouble in Little China" - it's rare for me to watch a film more than a couple times, bu these three films never really seem to get old.

"The Golden Compass" seemed to have taken a terrible beating in ratings and reviews at the time, but I rather liked it.

I also found "Mirrormask", "Paperhouse", "Inkheart", and "City of Ember" quite enjoyable.

"The Navigator (1988)" is another weird film a lot of folks have probably never heard of, and which I remember only a couple feverish scenes from - I've only seen it once in the video tape rental days, and haven't been able to catch it again anywhere: medieval villagers try to escape the Plague by digging a tunnel deep into the earth, and somehow dig their way into the 20th century. I can't remember what happens then, but for fantasy film fans, this film is probably worth watching at least once for a few inventive ideas and odd imagery.

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