Annal: 1997 Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film

Results of the Saturn Award in the year 1997.



Rob Cohen

In the closing paragraph of his 1996 review of Dragonheart, noted critic Roger Ebert summed up this adventurous fantasy quite nicely: “While no reasonable person over the age of 12 would presumably be able to take it seriously, there is nevertheless a lighthearted joy to it, a cheerfulness, an insouciance, that recalls the days when movies were content to be fun.” That’s precisely the quality that makes Dragonheart so appealing, despite the fact that it didn’t exactly take flight and breathe fire at the box office. The movie takes itself seriously…

Film:Adventures of Pinocchio

Adventures of Pinocchio

Steve Barron

Apparently aimed at very small children and the simple-minded, adults may decide that the best aspect of this kiddie flick is the clamshell box with its dual image “Magic Action Art.” Though strong technically, the blend of digital effects, animation, mattes, and miniatures is eventually too much of a hodgepodge. The plot is a confusing jumble of classic fairy-tale elements and jarring contemporary accents, attitudes, and lowbrow humor. The only real performers are Martin Landau, who is very classy as Geppetto, and a sad-looking Geneviéve Bujold. Syrupy…

Film:The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

The misconception about this animated film from Disney was that it was a movie for kids—something Victor Hugo never had in mind. In fact, despite a cute brace of singing gargoyles who are Quasimodo’s (Tom Hulce) best friends, this version of Hugo’s classic tale is really adult entertainment, with a strong set of songs by Alan Menken. The story remains mostly the same (though tricked out with a happier ending than Hugo’s): Quasimodo, the ward of repressive monk Frollo, falls for a gypsy girl named Esmerelda (Demi Moore)—though she loves one of the king’s guards…

Film:James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach

Henry Selick

Roald Dahl’s modern classic for children becomes a delightful combination of live action and stop-motion animation by the team that made The Nightmare Before Christmas: director Henry Selick and producers Tim Burton (Batman) and Denise Di Novi. The story concerns young James (played for real and through voice-overs by Paul Terry), who is orphaned and left in the charge of two cruel aunts (Miriam Margolyes, Joanna Lumley). Rescued by a mysterious fellow (Pete Postlethwaite), James ends up inside a giant peach, drifting over the Atlantic Ocean in the…

Film:The Nutty Professor

The Nutty Professor

Tom Shadyac

Lucky for Eddie Murphy he got ahold of the rights to this 1963 Jerry Lewis classic before Jim Carrey did. Murphy had a comeback of sorts with his Jeckyll-and-Hyde-derived fable of awkward chemistry professor Sherman Klump (Murphy), who discovers a potion that transforms him into the suave, cocky lady-killer Buddy Love (also Murphy). The big difference between the two versions is that Murphy’s Sherman is not only a nerdy intellectual but is also grossly obese, which provides the opportunity for some hilarious digital transformation effects, as well as some gentle…



Jon Turteltaub

John Travolta’s should’ve-been-nominated-for-an-Oscar performance is the best reason to see this largely moving work, which is a little reminiscent of the novel Flowers for Algernon (basis for the film Charly). Travolta plays a mechanic who sees a bright light in the sky one night and wakes up the next morning a genius, hungry for knowledge and so smart he figures out national defense secrets in his own living room (and gets in hot water for it). The more interesting drama, however, is not with the government but with the character’s longtime…

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