Annal: 1991 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1991.

Film:Ghost

Ghost

Jerry Zucker

Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are the passionate lovers whose romance is undone when the latter is murdered during a bungled hit arranged by a rival. The clever concept by screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin (director of My Life) extends outward into comedy (Swayze’s character communicates through a sassy medium played by Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Oscar for this role), horror (the afterlife is populated by hell-bound demons and the like), and romantic complications (a handsome suitor, played by Tony Goldwyn, comes on to Moore while Swayze’s spirit is still…

Film:The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Terry Gilliam

Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) directs this wild, wild version of the stories of Baron Munchausen, pushing the limits of 1989 special effects technology to bring us such sights as a horse divided in half and running around in two parts, and a giant Robin Williams with his head flying off his shoulders. Basically, this is a treat for Gilliam fans, as the sustaining idea of the film runs out of steam, and manic energy alone keeps the momentum going. Casual viewers might find it tedious after awhile. There are nice parts for…

Film:Always

Always

Steven Spielberg

Considered by many to represent a low point in Steven Spielberg’s career, 1990’s Always did suggest something of a temporary drift in the director’s sensibility. A remake of the classic Spencer Tracy film A Guy Named Joe, Always stars Richard Dreyfuss as a Forest Service pilot who takes great risks with his own life to douse wildfires from a plane. After promising his frightened fiancée (Holly Hunter) to keep his feet on the ground and go into teaching, Dreyfuss’s character is killed during one last flight. But his spirit wanders restlessly,…

Film:Batman

Batman

Tim Burton

Thanks to the ambitious vision of director Tim Burton, the blockbuster hit of 1989 delivers the goods despite an occasionally spotty script, giving the caped crusader a thorough overhaul in keeping with the crime fighter’s evolution in DC Comics. Michael Keaton strikes just the right mood as the brooding “Dark Knight” of Gotham City; Kim Basinger plays Gotham’s intrepid reporter Vicki Vale; and Jack Nicholson goes wild as the maniacal and scene-stealing Joker, who plots a takeover of the city with his lethal Smilex gas. Triumphant Oscar-winning production design…

Film:Dick Tracy

Dick Tracy

Madonna

A flawed but stylish adaptation of the Chester Gould comic strip by director Warren Beatty, who also stars in the title role. The minimalist plot involves a battalion of baddies who confront the intrepid detective in a series of strung-together vignettes. Al Pacino is a comedic if overblown standout as Big Boy Caprice, and Madonna simply smolders as aggressive blonde bombshell Breathless Mahoney. It matters not that the plot is Spartan, as this dazzling eye candy is much enhanced by Stephen Sondheim’s songs, including the Academy Award-winning ditty, “Sooner or…

Film:Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams

Phil Alden Robinson

A phenomenal hit when it was released in 1989, Field of Dreams has become a modern classic and a uniquely American slice of cinema. It functions effectively as a moving drama about the power of dreams, a fantasy ode to our national pastime, and a brilliant adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s exquisite baseball novel Shoeless Joe. Kinsella himself found the film a delightful surprise, differing greatly from his novel but benefiting from its own creative variations. It is the film that cemented Kevin Costner’s status as an all-American screen star, but the…

Film:Gremlins 2

Gremlins 2: The New Batch

Joe Dante

Zach Galligan, the star of the first Gremlins, is back, along with Phoebe Cates, his girlfriend from the first film. They’re both working in an ultramodern skyscraper owned by a Donald Trump clone (a hilarious John Glover). Galligan’s furry little buddy is captured by a mad scientist, who not only helps it multiply, but invests the nasty, scaly offspring with intelligence and the ability to talk. (Watch for the one that has Tony Randall’s voice.) What follows is imaginative mayhem that spoofs old movies, modern television, and the conveniences of…

Film:Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: 3rd in Indiana Jones series

Steven Spielberg

The third episode in Steven Spielberg’s rousing Indiana Jones saga, this film recaptures the best elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark while exploring new territory with wonderfully satisfying results. Indy is back battling the Nazis, who have launched an expedition to uncover the whereabouts of the Holy Grail. And it’s not just Indy this time—his father (played with great acerbic wit by Sean Connery, the perfect choice) is also involved in the hunt. Spielberg excels at the kind of extended action sequences that top themselves with virtually every frame;…

Film:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Original Movie

Steve Barron

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie is the live-action, feature film adaptation of the cult comic book and the popular animated television show. After prolonged exposure to radiation, four teenage turtles—Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello—have mutated into ninjas and have begun living in the sewers of a large city. Under the guidance of a ninja master Splinter the Rat and television reporter April, the Turtles embark on a mission to run crime out of the city and battle the warlord Shredder.

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