Originally I was going to do separate posts for these, but there are so many fantasy shows and movies to gush about these days—it was exciting in and of itself to be able to double up on recommendations. I’m not here to spoil plot and I’m honestly kind of terrible at writing reviews (my Goodreads page is a travesty), but if you like any of the elements I mention below and want to see exemplary execution, look no further.
You may have scrolled over Arcane on Netflix because you don’t know anything about League of Legends, and hey, I know that vibe. But that’s the best thing about the show: knowing nothing is just fine. Tons of easter eggs are sprinkled throughout each episode (or at least it feels that way to a newbie), but those nods to the fandom are supplemented by fantastic storytelling—both in pacing and use of the chosen devices—incredible animation, and a really cool world. The visuals around the magic are awesome. The character work is top notch. Honestly, from the first scene, the care and effort put into this show is painstakingly obvious in the best possible way. Even if you’re not a fan of animation, if you’re looking for new fantasy, I really think Arcane has something for you—I have a hard time getting into animated shows for a variety of reasons, but the facial expressions in Arcane are so precise and human that I connected with the characters immediately. I never thought I’d see panicked and ugly crying in media like this and think “Yep, been there, that feels accurate.” In so many ways, Arcane gets you deeply invested in its plot and world in no time at all. It’s an amazing concept deftly executed with intricate attention to detail. I can’t recommend it enough. Also, the soundtrack is astoundingly good.
Speaking of great soundtracks, Dune is another adaptation that I knew nothing about going in (I still have not gotten around to reading the books). But, it looked epic and slick from the trailers, so I took the plunge—and man, am I glad I engaged. The cinematography is stunning enough to stand on its own; I could have watched the visuals all day, completely disregarding the plot. The worldbuilding not only looks amazing (shout out to the stormy home planet of House Atreides, I LOVE THUNDERSTORMS), but it’s given plenty of space. This movie is part one of a massive story, and it does, admittedly, feel like two and half hours of setup for the real plot, but that isn’t to say nothing happens. A lot of cool shit happens. Desert Jesus vibes are strong, but honestly, it’s not a dealbreaker. I can’t wait for part two.
And you guys know Wheel of Time is about to drop too, right? I’m beside myself.
Let me know what fantasy shows and movies you’ve been watching in the comments below!