The Absolute Greatest Fantasy Films on HBO Max


The fantasy motion pictures on HBO Max do not get sufficient consideration. The streaming service hosts among the largest fantasy franchises in historical past, together with the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. You may additionally discover a choice of charming Studio Ghibli movies, comedian e-book blockbusters from DC, and rather more. Whether or not you are on the lookout for mainstream hits or cult classics, you may discover them on this streaming service.

Paramount Footage

An underrated pure fantasy flick based mostly on Neil Gaiman’s e-book of the identical identify, Stardust conjures up a sprinkle of magic to move you to the magical kingdom of Stormhold. Tristan (Charlie Cox) meets a fallen star within the type of a younger girl (Claire Danes), serving to her survive these looking her.

Warner Bros.

Implausible Beasts: The Secrets and techniques of Dumbledore (2022)

For those who’ve been maintaining with the Implausible Beasts sequence, you have most likely seen a dip in high quality because the first entry. Now we’re as much as the third, with the notable absence of Johnny Depp as huge dangerous Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen took over the function). Possibly you selected to not head to a theater to catch this instalment — now’s the possibility to see it at house on HBO Max.

A Guillermo Del Toro story with good-looking manufacturing values, Nightmare Alley dabbles within the director’s darkish fantasy preoccupations. Bradley Cooper stars as a carnival employee who rises up the ranks — at a harmful price. It by no means detonates full-blown fantasy, however the carnival setting, seances and and mysterious characters evoke a darkish gothic magic.

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The NeverEnding Story (1984)

“An ’80s traditional that everybody deserves to expertise, The NeverEnding Story follows Bastian right into a magical e-book that sucks him into the world of Fantasia. Rewatch or get launched to Falkor, the Youngster Empress, Atreyu and his horse, and a bunch of different characters as all of them attempt to save Fantasia. Attempt to not cry over [spoiler!]’s harrowing loss of life.” — CNET’s Kourtnee Jackson

Parisa Taghizadeh / Focus Options

Final Night time in Soho (2021)

Shaun of the Lifeless director Edgar Wright dabbles in psychological horror, with a number of plunges right into a younger lady’s fantasy. Ellie (Thomasin McKenzie) is a younger style scholar who travels to the Swinging Sixties at evening. She observes the lifetime of one other younger girl (Anya Taylor-Pleasure) aspiring to attain her goals. However Final Night time in Soho isn’t any Midnight in Paris — put together for unsolved mysteries and some ghoulish scares.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

The Lord of the Rings is a masterclass in adapting beloved books to display and weaving a number of tales collectively into one cohesive narrative. All of the fantasy tropes are right here: elves, dwarves, wizards, orcs and extra. However the Lord of the Rings elevates them to new heights with its sweeping cinematography, shockingly immersive costuming and highly effective performances. To place it one other method: This trilogy gained 17 Academy Awards, together with 11 wins on 11 nominations for Return of the King. For those who’ve been holding out, now’s the time to look at, and for those who’ve seen them earlier than, there’s by no means a nasty time for a rewatch — particularly with Amazon’s Rings of Energy sequence popping out within the fall.

Studio Ghibli

This film about transformation genuinely left me feeling reworked the primary time I watched it. No different film has affected me the way in which this one did. Arguably the perfect film from a director chargeable for many glorious motion pictures, Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, just a little lady who will get misplaced in a spirit world as her household strikes throughout Japan. The animation is spectacular, and director Hayao Miyazaki’s cautious pacing offers each character the right period of time and area, delivering one of the crucial distinctive and compelling fantasy motion pictures ever made. 

Legendary Footage

The 2014 reboot of the towering terror of Tokyo is underloved and underappreciated. No Godzilla film earlier than or since has accomplished as a lot to promote the actually superior scale of the monster. Sure, the film takes a gradual burn method to revealing Godzilla, however the time it spends within the build-up makes the payoff that a lot sweeter. Whereas some may not just like the film spending extra time on the people following Godzilla, these characters add emotional stakes to the carnage. You can too discover the sequels King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong on HBO Max (together with the ’54 authentic), however that is Godzilla’s finest displaying.


A traditional fantasy film, The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy as she’s transported out of Kansas right into a land of witches, wizards, residing scarecrows and extra. Judy Garland shines in her most iconic function because the lost-but-determined Dorothy. It is an awesome early movie for teenagers, who will benefit from the colourful characters and musical numbers, and adults would possibly recognize a glimpse into how motion pictures have been made 80 years in the past.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Half superhero motion film, half World Conflict II alternate historical past, half fantasy movie a few demon youngster, Hellboy defies straightforward categorization. However director Guillermo del Toro weaves all of it collectively right into a darkish and entertaining story a few man preventing towards his obvious future. Hellboy is a cult traditional as a result of it treats its characters significantly whereas remembering that motion pictures are supposed to be entertaining, and Ron Pearlman sporting filed-down demon horns whereas being overprotective of cats is nothing if not entertaining.

Studio Ghibli/GKids

Princess Mononoke will scar you. It is a violent, tragic film that offers with the devastation of the pure world within the wake of industrialization. It is also essentially the most visceral, harrowing film Miyazaki ever made. Large wolves, violent boars and wriggling parasitic demons all play very important roles within the story, which options extra violence and bloodshed than the rest within the Ghibli assortment. That is a part of what makes Mononoke so nice — it feels distinct from all of Miyazaki’s different motion pictures, due to its unflinching take a look at themes of worry, violence and preventing to guard the issues that matter to us.

Studio Ghibli/GKids

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

Studio Ghibli is usually synonymous with Miyazaki, however this movie is proof the studio is completely able to making good motion pictures with different administrators. An adaptation of Mary Norton’s e-book The Debtors, Arrietty focuses on a younger lady from a race of tiny people who “borrow” issues like tissue paper and cubes of sugar to outlive. It is a candy little story about rising up, serving to others and going through the uncertainty of the longer term. 

Studio Ghibli/GKids

Kiki’s Supply Service (1989)

Oh, you thought we have been accomplished with the Miyazaki motion pictures? Any of them are price a watch (Totoro, Howl’s Transferring Fort and Nausicaa are extra highlights), however Kiki’s Supply Service holds a particular place in my coronary heart for a way genuine it feels, at the same time as a fantasy film. Kiki is a shiny, warm-hearted younger witch, and as she ventures out on her personal for the primary time, she should study to grapple together with her powers, her emotions and her goals all of sudden. It is a highly effective story, generally painful in how precisely it portrays Kiki’s struggles, nevertheless it’s an uplifting story for teenagers and adults alike.

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