Honor roll: Fantasy films

Each of these Fantasy films has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Film:Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump

Robert Zemeckis

The Academy Award winner for Best Picture, Best Director Robert Zemeckis, and Best Actor Tom Hanks, this unlikely story of a slow-witted but good-hearted man somehow at the center of the pivotal events of the 20th century is a funny and heartwarming epic. Hanks plays the title character, a shy Southern boy in love with his childhood best friend (Robin Wright) who finds that his ability to run fast takes him places. As an All-Star football player he meets John F. Kennedy; as a soldier in Vietnam he’s a war hero; and as a world champion Ping-Pong player he’s hailed…

Film:The Truman Show

The Truman Show

Peter Weir

The whole world is watching—literally—every time Truman Burbank makes the slightest move. Unbeknownst to him, in this hauntingly funny film by Peter Weir, his entire life has been an unending soap opera for consumption by the rest of the world. And everyone he knows—including his mother, his wife, and his best friend—is really an actor, paid to be part of his life. In this intriguing and surprisingly touching 1998 film, writer Andrew Niccol imagines an ultimate kind of celebrity, then sees it brought to life with comic intensity and emotional honesty by Jim…

Film:Babe (Chris Noonan)

Babe

Chris Noonan

The surprise hit of 1995, this splendidly entertaining family film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture, director, and screenplay, and deservedly won the Oscar for its subtly ingenious visual effects. Babe is all about the title character, a heroic little pig who’s been taken in by the friendly farmer Hoggett (Oscar nominee James Cromwell), who senses that he and the pig share “a common destiny.” Babe, a popular mischief-maker the Australian farm, is adopted by the resident border collie and raised as a puppy, befriended by…

Film:Aladdin

Aladdin

John Musker, Ron Clements

Disney’s 1992 animated feature is a triumph of wit and skill. The high-tech artwork and graphics look great, the characters are strong, the familiar story is nicely augmented with an interesting villain (Jafar, voiced by Jonathan Freeman), and there’s an incredible hook atop the whole thing: Robin Williams’s frantically hilarious vocal performance as Aladdin’s genie. Even if one isn’t particularly moved by the love story between the title character (Scott Weinger) and his girlfriend Jasmine (Linda Larkin), you can easily get lost in Williams’s improvisational…

Film:Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise

The film that officially signaled Disney’s animation renaissance (following The Little Mermaid) and the only animated feature to receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination, Beauty and the Beast remains the yardstick by which all other animated films should be measured. It relates the story of Belle, a bookworm with a dotty inventor for a father; when he inadvertently offends the Beast (a prince whose heart is too hard to love anyone besides himself), Belle boldly takes her father’s place, imprisoned in the Beast’s gloomy mansion. Naturally, Belle…

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:Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Robert Zemeckis

It’s 1947 Hollywood, and Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), a down-on-his-luck detective, is hired to find proof that Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and owner of Toontown, is playing hanky-panky with femme fatale Jessica Rabbit, wife of Maroon Cartoon superstar Roger Rabbit. When Acme is found murdered, all fingers point to Roger, and the sinister, power-hungry Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd) is on a mission to bring Roger to justice. Roger begs the Toon-hating Valiant to find the real evildoer and the plot thickens as Eddie uncovers scandal after scandal and realizes the very existence of Toontown is at stake! Who Framed Roger Rabbit is deliciously outrageous fun the whole family will enjoy.

Film:Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire

Neil Jordan

When it was announced that Tom Cruise would play the vampire Lestat in this adaptation of Anne Rice’s bestselling novel, even Rice chimed in with a highly publicized objection. The author wisely and justifiably recanted her negative opinion when she saw Cruise’s excellent performance, which perceptively addresses the pain and chronic melancholy that plagues anyone cursed with immortal bloodlust. Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst are equally good at maintaining the dark and brooding tone of Rice’s novel. And in this rare mainstream project for a major studio, director…

Film:Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands

Tim Burton

Edward Scissorhands achieves the nearly impossible feat of capturing the delicate flavor of a fable or fairy tale in a live-action movie. The story follows a young man named Edward (Johnny Depp), who was created by an inventor (Vincent Price, in one of his last roles) who died before he could give the poor creature a pair of human hands. Edward lives alone in a ruined Gothic castle that just happens to be perched above a pastel-colored suburb inhabited by breadwinning husbands and frustrated housewives straight out of the 1950s. One day, Peg (Dianne…

Film:Toy Story

Toy Story

John Lasseter

There is greatness in film that can be discussed, dissected, and talked about late into the night. Then there is genius that is right in front of our faces—you smile at the spell it puts you into and are refreshed, and not a word needs to be spoken. This kind of entertainment is what they used to call “movie magic” and there is loads of it in this irresistible computer animation feature. Just a picture of these bright toys on the cover of Toy Story looks intriguing as it reawakens the kid in us. Filmmaker John Lasseter’s shorts (namely Knickknack

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