The best fantasy films for escapists

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: September 1, 2022 (Last updated: December 14, 2023)
The Deathly Hallows Part 1

Generally, escapism is the desire to distract yourself from reality, usually by watching fantasy or dystopian films and playing video games of the same genre, allowing you to completely immerse yourself in the fantasy and escape your own world. 

It is usually most popular when our own world isn’t particularly appealing, and with the pandemic and many other societal issues still going on, it makes sense that the appeal of fantasy films has risen in recent years. In this article, we’ll look at the best fantasy films of all time, new and upcoming fantasy films, and which ones can help you truly escape. 

The appeal of the fantasy genre

Films like Harry Potter and Narnia are prime examples of films that can help us to escape. These films are generally set in fictional locations that help us get away from real life. Could it be that the plots and social issues dealt with in dystopian or sci-fi films are becoming dangerously close to mimicking our own reality, prompting audiences to turn to fantasy films to seek comfort?

What exactly is the appeal of the fantasy genre? Fantasies give people the escape that they need from everyday life. They also offer people hope in times when their reality is hard. People’s everyday stresses are forgotten about when they watch fantasy films, as though they are replacing their real world with the worlds we see in fantasy films, providing that sense of escapism for them.

The best fantasy films of all time

When thinking of the word fantasy, our minds may automatically think of big franchises like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. Other options in this category include Marvel films, which feature elements of different genres such as sci-fi and action, but also feature supernatural and fantastical elements that allow them to qualify for a position under the fantasy genre. But what makes a successful fantasy film? 

Harry Potter

This franchise is one of the most successful and bestselling book series of all time, and the films that followed made billions at the box office and sparked an entire franchise with merchandise, theme park rides and a series of prequels. The reason for this success may simply be the world-building and fantastical elements of the series, but also the overall message about overcoming hardships and issues, which can help invoke feelings of hope in viewers.

Lord of the Rings

The famous Tolkien books were turned into a film franchise and several spin off films like The Hobbit, and now an Amazon Prime show. Again, the world-building, characters and hurdles faced are arguably what makes this franchise so popular. Watching our heroes overcome challenges can motivate us to do the same. 

Disney Live Action Films

Disney has arguably kickstarted a new trend for creating live action films of its original animated fairytale films, most of which have gone on to make millions, and occasionally billions, at the box office, the most notable of these are The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The existence of magic and fantastical and supernatural elements in these films make them a firm choice for any loyal Disney fans who want to relive the magic. 

Peter Pan

The representation of literally flying away from your own world and entering your own imaginary world sounds rather appealing, especially these days. The live-action 2003 version of Peter Pan was, and still is, a favourite among fans, given the special effects and magic. 

Current Fantasy Films

2021-2022 feature numerous fantasy films for you to immerse yourself in. A few of these include Spiderman No Way Home, Dune, Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore and Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. All of these films are perfect for escapists looking for a few hours of relief from reality. 

New & Upcoming Fantasy Films

There are numerous upcoming fantasies hitting the big screens later this year and into 2023, and as there’s always an appeal for fantasy films, it’s worth checking these out. These include the second Avatar instalment and the highly-anticipated Pinocchio, directed by Guillermo del Toro. 

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