We're checking out the best fantasy movies and series on offer on Netflix this week.
We've covered a whole range of genres on Netflix in our "best of" weekly series, and now it comes to a close. We offered our picks of romantic comedies, sci fi movies, musicals, war movies, biographies, mystery movies and mystery series. Last but not least, we're turning to the great selection of fantasy on Netflix.
Fantasy, as a genre, can be quite dark or family friendly, and this is reflected by our recommendations.
For our series choices, we've picked a range of short and long running ones. That way you've loads to keep you going in the coming weeks.
Escape to a world totally unlike our own with these fantasy features and series on Netflix.
'The Witcher' is one of Netflix's most watched shows ever so we were hardly not going to include it. Henry Cavill stars as the titular Witcher, aka Geralt of Rivia. He's a monster hunter who struggles to find his place in a world where people are more evil than beasts. Little does he know that destiny is about to hurtle him toward a powerful sorceress, and a young princess with a dangerous secret. Packed with action and a tasteful amount of nudity (well, it worked for 'Game of Thrones'), season 2 is currently in production.
'Spirited Away' is the ultimate in heartfelt, fantasy escapism. Its top layer of is straightforward enough, whereby a young girl's parents are magically turned into pigs and she has to navigate the spirit world in which they're kept. But the themes it delves into are deep, and the anime doesn't offer easy answers. The film is made with such senitivity and affection, you really get a sense of art and soulfulness behind every single frame.
Howl’s Moving Castle
Maybe we're cheating slightly here by including a second Studio Ghibli feature (heck, we'd include more if we could) but 'Howl's Moving Castle' is very special. The English dub version features such voice talents as Christian Bale (who is in his element here), Emily Mortimer, Lauren Bacall, Jean Simmons and Billy Crystal. It follows a young woman who gets turned into an old hag by a spiteful witch and subsequently moves into the home of an obnoxious wizard and his wonderful, magical companions.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Set in the land of Thra, 'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance' depicts how a group of young Gelflings discover that the evil Skeksis plan to consume their kind through the dark crystal to give them prolonged life. A star-studded cast loaned their voices, including leads Taron Egerton, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nathalie Emmanuel. It's a prequel to the 1982 feature 'The Dark Crystal' and recently won an Emmy. Unfortunately, the show has been cancelled but you can catch season one on Netflix now.
Ready Player One
'Ready Player One' is at times so jam-packed with pop culture references that there's hardly any plot left over. Still it's such a beautifully crafted trip down memory lane for film aficionados that you'll hardly care. Directed by Steven Spielberg (because who does nostalgia better than Spielberg?), it takes place half in a post apocalyptic world and half in a VR entertainment universe called the OASIS. When the creator of the OASIS dies, he leaves behind an Easter Egg, which will give its finder his fortune and control of the VR universe.
From its title to its premise, everything about 'Warrior Nun seems rather silly. Yet, since it dropped on Netflix last July, it's proven a hit with viewers and critics. It even got the green light for a second season. 'Warrior Nun' revolves around a young woman who wakes up in a morgue and discovers she has supernatural powers and a holy artifact embedded in her back. She has become a part of the ancient Order of the Cruciform Sword. Alongside the nuns of the Order, she fights demons, but many are after her gift.
Once Upon a Time
Disney fans in particular have gotten a kick out of 'Once Upon a Time'. But the series is so sharp and well written that it's not exclusive to that fandom. The series ran for seven seasons from 2011 to 2018. It alternates between two main settings: a fantastical world where fairy tales occur; and a seaside town in Maine called Storybrooke. It's a feel-good series full of throwbacks and tributes that'll melt your heart and have you deeply intrigued.
The Green Mile
People tend to forget that Stephen King doesn't just do horror until you point to 'The Shawshank Redemption' and 'The Green Mile'. While both are prison dramas, the latter is most definitely leaning more into the fantasy genre. Tom Hanks plays a prison guard working on death row whose life perspectives are transformed upon meeting an inmate with an incredible gift. In case you haven't seen it - have tissues at the ready for this one.
This iconic fantasy flick stars the late great David Bowie as the Goblin King, who steals Sarah’s (teenage Jennifer Connolly) infant brother Toby and hides him in his castle. Sarah must make her way through the intricate and deceptive labyrinth that surrounds the castle if she is to save her brother. Bowie's soundtrack is nothing short of fabulous. Reports have it that a sequel is in the works with an interesting director attached.
Netflix saved 'Lucifer' for two more seasons after it got the axe at Fox. Following the popularity of its fifth season, which was meant to be the last, it got a sixth. So you know it's got to be good! Tom Ellis plays Lucifer Morningstar - namely the Devil - who abandons Hell for Los Angeles. There, he runs a club called LUX and becomes a consultant to the LAPD. 'Lucifer' is sexy, completely bonkers, and never takes itself seriously.
Many were disappointed when King Arthur spin-off 'Merlin' didn't make it past five seasons. Now you can check out what all the fuss is about. Colin Morgan plays the titular wizard who, as a young man, acts as servant to young Prince Arthur of Camelot. The two strike up a friendship which will turn the latter into a legend. It's good fun, though admittedly the first season isn't great.
'Peter Pan' sequel 'Hook' got a lukewarm response upon release. But it has become something of a cult classic, especially among families, in subsequent years. Robin Williams plays the boy who did, in fact, grow up. He returns to Neverland when Captain Hook (played by a deliciously camp and dastardly Dustin Hoffman) steals his two children. It's a little long, yes, but a swashbuckling adventure you can return to over and over.
With the 1995 movie 'Jumanji', you'll not only have an excuse to not only embrace your inner child; it's also an excuse to introduce little ones to the wonder that was Robin Williams (following 'Hook'). Dwayne Johnson sequels 'Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle' and 'Jumanji: The Next Level' are really more about the comedy than the fantasy. The original follows two kids and two adults as they play a supernatural board game which sends animals into the world.