The fantasy genre seems to be making something of a comeback. You've got theHobbitsaga recently coming to a close, the hit showsGame of Thrones and The Witcher, and the anticipatedLord of the Ringsseries set to debut on Amazon Prime in 2021. This renaissancecan partly be traced back to the early 2000s, with the Peter Jackson epic based on the classicLOTRnovel by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Still, despite the popularity of this lavish and memorable trilogy, there doesn't seem to be a huge selection of similar majestic fantasy content, at least on the big screen.
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But with this list, we'll scour the vast landscape of film history and compile a list of 10 of the greatest fantasy and adventure movies LOTRfans should love.
Updated May 17th, 2020 by Stephen LaGioia:Despite its age,Lord of the Ringscontinues to ride high with the upcoming TV series, along with the announcement of a new stealth video game centered around Gollum. And with theseemingly endless range of intriguing fantasy films of a similar bent, it seemed appropriate to update this list with 5 more worthy entries.
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15/15 Thor (2011)
Much like Jackon's trilogy, Thor is dripping with Medieval influences and mythological flair. This Marvel take on high fantasy really hits a crescendo with the epicRagnarokfrom 2017. Still -this origin story for the hero Thor is equally gripping and full of fun moments.
The film balances cheeky comedy with action and fantasy, rounding out this bombastic entry in the Marvel cinematic universe. The film excels in its dazzling visuals and a memorable performance by Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-wielding hero.
Tolkien and Jackson fans are sure to be intoThor's sense of mysticism and magic, along with its colorful, atmospheric set-pieces.
14/15 The Eagle (2011)
Being a historical drama, there won't be any dragons or spell-casting wizards in 2011'sThe Eagle. Still, director Kevin Macdonald captures much of the essence and feel of LOTRwith his own adventure. Channing Tatum takes the role of a young Roman officer tasked with retrieving a relic - the coveted gold eagle lost by his defeated father.
After sustaining an injury, he and a slave companion embark on a journey across the vast wilderness of Roman-occupied Britain. Along the way, they run into various trials and hurdles.The Eaglestands as a simple, but entertaining odyssey, enhanced by atmospheric settings and gripping drama.
13/15 Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Marvel seemingly came out of nowhere with this sci-fi superhero film centered around an odd band of characters. While fans didn't quite know what to expect, 2014'sGuardians of the Galaxycaptivated with its own unique charm. To critics and fans alike, it remains one of their strongest efforts to date.
The thrilling adventure is brought to life with rich landscapes and a likable "fellowship" of heroes comprising different backgrounds, banding together to fight the good fight.
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Much like Jackson's epic, this James Gunn production entices on a visual and narrative level, showcasing an enthralling ride from start to finish.
12/15 Gladiator (2000)
The subject of gladiators is almost sure to set the stage for an exciting romp, and the visually-minded Ridley Scott delivers in this classic.
Russell Crowe convincingly plays a scorned leader of the Roman army and the gladiator in question. He finds himself betrayed by the pompous, corrupt son of the slain emperor (Joaquin Phoenix) and must fight his way to prominence and vengeance.
Much like LOTR-the sleek, authentic visuals and chaotic battles are coupled with a memorable cast and nuanced writing.
11/15 The Hunger Games (2012)
Epic action scenes and a range of cool weapons make up the DNA ofLOTR, and this dystopian sci-fi has these traits in spades.
Jennifer Lawrence takes center stage as the downtrodden, sharpshooting hero of this memorable saga. Much like Frodo Baggins, she's pulled from her humble, isolated homeland and essentially forced to fight.Katniss Everdeen must battle for her very survival - for the amusement and tribute of the ruling class.
The first film is particularly renowned for its plot that's at once grand and focused, rife with action and emotional moments. Katniss must fight for every inch in order to survive in the vast, outdoor arena of the Hunger Games.
10/15 The NeverEnding Story (1984)
While the title of this '84 adventure has been used byLOTRfans to describe the ending ofReturn of the King, it's also the title of a classic fantasy ride that should resonate for those who love Jackson's epic.
Much like that film saga, this movie hones in on a young humble protagonist who finds himself swept away by an adventure originating from a fantasy book. In this case, however, the book exists in thefilmas well asin real life. In fact, itserves as a portal to a colorful new dimension of adventure and wonder, which the protagonist Bastian gets pulled into. Despite its age, the visuals still hold up today, thanks to its detailed special effects and high production value.
9/15 Eragon (2006)
Despite its rather mixed reception critically, this 2006 fantasy film shines as afun dragon-laced adventure tale and a fitting alternative for fans ofLOTRwith its similar themes.The fact thatEragonis based on a novel written by an author who was still a teenager at the time is impressive enough.
But even disregarding this context, this film impresses with some sleek visuals and a fun, classic fantasy premise involving wizards, magic, and fire-breathing dragons. It's a classic tale of adventure and heroism rife with thrilling action.
8/15 Kingdom Of Heaven (2005)
LOTR, and particularlyReturn of the King,is largely renowned for its flashy visuals and awe-inspiring battle scenes. It's not easy to replicate that film's level of detail and grandiosity, though if there's anyone who can make a valiant effort in coming close, it's Ridley Scott.
As it happens, this historical epic has more in common with itsLOTRbrethren aside from starring Orlando Bloom.
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While it might not be as critically acclaimed as Jackson's trilogy,Kingdom of Heavensimilarly rises to the occasion when it comes to its thrilling, large-scale battles and cinematography. The sieges on Jerusalem definitely bring flashbacks of the breathtaking battle forMinas Tirith.
7/15 The Princess Bride (1987)
Who would have thought that one of the wittier comedies of the '80s would also shine as one of the most enjoyable fantasy adventures? Rob Reiner'sThe Princess Brideis equal parts zany, captivating, and endearing - shifting between an emotional love story and silly comedy with a colorful fantasy backdrop.
Based on a '73 William Goldmannovel of the same name,The Princess Bridetakes an already memorable premise andadds some character with amusing performances by Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn, and Andre the Giant. From thrilling swordfights and castle-storming to the "Rodents of Unusual Size," there's much forLOTRto find entertaining here.
6/15 Warcraft (2016)
It stands to reason that studio Blizzard's rich, established fantasy game franchise should translate into a similarly majestic experience on the big screen. And although 2016'sWarcraftisknocked for being a bit chaotic and convoluted, it has gained a following for its sleek presentation and adrenaline-pumping action throughout its 2-hour ride.
There's certainly something to be said for the highest-grossing film of all time based on a gaming franchise.
This journey to Azeroth is one that fans of bothWarcraftand Tolkien's epic should find entertaining.
5/15 Shrek (2001)
Taking its cue from The Princess Bride, 2001'sShrek takes a classic fantasy foundation andmixes in a heartfelt love story and silly comedy. While it's certainly more kid-friendly, there's much for all ages to love in this whimsical animated romp.
Being based on a 1990 fairytale picture book,Shrekcontains some colorful environments and children's adventure tropes. At the same time, it mixes these elements with a zany comedic twist that's not afraid to poke fun at its own fairytale cliches.
Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz inject tons of character and humor into the film, bringing great chemistry to this trio of likable protagonists.
4/15 Star Wars (1977)
It's easy to tag George Lucas' space odysseywith the science fiction label, but the saga actually holds more in common with a space fantasy or adventure epic than standard sci-fi. This is especially the case with the debut film from 1977, which draws from Joseph Campbell's archetypes of the "hero's journey," in much the same way that Tolkien's novels do.
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Not only do both properties contain similar traits of wizards, magic, and heroes, but Luke and Frodo/Aragorn also follow similar trajectories in their quest to bring peace to the Galaxy/Middle-earth.
It may seem fairly obvious to point fantasy fans in the direction ofStar Wars, though these classic films hold more similarities than one might think.
3/15 The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
Much like our previous entry, Victor Fleming's iconic musical fantasy wasn't just entertaining, but pushed boundaries and revolutionized the entire filmmaking scene.
And similar toLOTR,1939'sThe Wizard of Ozhas aged like a fine wine with its lavish visuals and majestic, colorful settings. You have the classic fantasy elements of witches, wizards, and spells, along withLOTR-esque adventure beats of our heroes embarking on a grand journey. Really, you could swap out Mordor with the Emerald City and Sauron with the Wicked Witch of the West and you'd truly have a comparableLOTRprototype here.
2/15 Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (2001)
When it came to the conversation offantasy films in the 2000s, the renownedHarry Potterfranchise was as much in the discussion as Jackson/Tolkien's adventure, and perhaps evenmoreso.
You can make the case that thisentireaction-packed series should appeal toLOTRfans, but this is particularly the case when it comes to the debut from 2001. Based on the popular '97 novel by J. K. Rowling,Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stonegreatly parallelsThe Fellowship of the Ring. You've got the obvious overlaps of magic and adventure, but you also have thehalf-giant Rubeus Hagrid largely taking on the role of Gandalf and calling our young, humble protagonist Harry to action.
1/15 The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe (2005)
Take the concept of a fantasy quest and inject a colorful cast of talking animals, beasts, and centaurs - and you just might haveThe Chronicles of Narnia.
While its sequels took a darker turn, 2005'sNarnia, based on the C. S. Lewis novel, similarly stresses more flowery fantasy. Director Andrew Adamson paints the scene with truly vibrant, majestic settings that remind one ofFellowshipin particular.
Much like Frodo and Sam venturing out of the subdued Shire, the Pevensie children also get pulled intoa colorful new world as they tumble through the wardrobe, getting caught up in a quest with gripping action and thrills.
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Fans may also enjoy fantasy classics "Willow" (1998) and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (2012). Jackson also directed "King Kong" (2005) and "They Shall Not Grow Old" (2018).What should I watch if I liked The Hobbit? ›
- 9/10 Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984) ...
- 8/10 E.T. (1982) ...
- 7/10 Jaws (1975) ...
- 6/10 Onward (2020) ...
- 5/10 The Black Cauldron (1985) ...
- 4/10 Shaun Of The Dead (2004) ...
- 3/10 Stardust (2007)
- Cloud Atlas (2012) R | 172 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi. ...
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) R | 118 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama. ...
- Pulp Fiction (1994) ...
- Fight Club (1999) ...
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) ...
- The Dark Knight (2008) ...
- Baraka (1992) ...
- True Romance (1993)
The Lord of the Rings trilogy had some of the most breathtaking action sequences of all time – the Battle of Helm's Deep, for one – but The Hobbit trilogy had more of that stuff and less of the talky scenes. The only problem with all the action sequences in The Hobbit is that they're generally inconsequential.Which is bigger Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter? ›
Taken as a collective book, it's estimate there are over 150 million copies of LOTR (and likely more if you count the illegal ones that got reprinted a lot in the 1960s.) That's more than the single highest selling Harry Potter book, Sorcerer's Stone, at an estimated 102 million.Will there be any more movies like The Hobbit? ›
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late '60s — the film rights," he said (via NME). "But they are the only two works of his that have ever been sold. So without the cooperation of the Tolkien estate, there can't be any more films."