It was Albus Dumbledore who said, “The world as we know it is coming undone” (not one of his better quotes, we know). This unraveling of the balance between the magical and non-magical worlds came to the screen in 2022 with Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, the third film in the prequel series. David Yates, who previously brought six other Wizarding World films to life, directs the movie, which J. K. Rowling and Steve Kloves wrote the screenplay for.
The soft-hearted Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) returns, joined by a middle-aged Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law), as the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (Mads Mikkelsen) poses an even greater threat than before. If they cannot stop Grindelwald from rising to power with the help of other wizards and No-Maj Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), the magical war on Muggles would be catastrophic.
It’s no surprise, thanks to the title, that secrets are revealed in this addition to the franchise, further weaving the web of mysteries within the history of magic. Loyalties are tested, new alliances are made, and questions are answered as Scamander and his band of creatures race to stop Grindelwald from full-scale domination. In this high-stakes adventure and fantasy film, audiences experience a complete package of enchanting visual effects and an epic story. Check out our list of the top 10 films that capture a similar sense of wonder that Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore does.
In 2008, Nickelodeon Movies produced The Spiderwick Chronicles, a film based on the children’s book series written by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. The movie was directed by Mark Waters, who recently directed the 2020 Disney+ film Magic Camp. Jared Grace (Freddie Highmore) is displeased when his mother moves the family to an isolated New England estate, which was previously inhabited by their distant relative, Arthur Spiderwick. Jared’s grim outlook on the estate quickly changes when he discovers Spiderwick’s lifelong study of mythical creatures. When Jared opens a forbidden field guide on fairies, his eyes are opened to the mystical world around him and to the danger of an evil ogre and his horde of goblins.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is available for streaming on Netflix. It is also available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)
Also starring Freddie Highmore, on-screen and in a voice-acting role, is the 2006 fantasy film Arthur and The Invisibles. The partially animated adventure is directed and co-written by Luc Besson, for whom the film was his personal project of bringing his children’s books to film. Highmore plays a young Arthur who, when his family’s farm is threatened, is determined to find the rubies his grandfather has hidden, which are guarded by a group of creatures known as the Minimoys. What Highmore doesn’t expect is to be transformed into a Minimoy himself and become a leader among the population of miniature pixie-like beings.
Arthur and The Invisibles is available to rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (2007)
Jay Russell, who directed Tuck Everlasting, directs the 2007 fantasy film The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. The movie features the mythical beast of the Scottish Highlands, the Loch Ness Monster, which was reportedly sighted as early as 565 and as late as 2014. Angus MacMorrow (Alex Etel) is a lonely Scottish boy living with his mother and sister on Loch Ness during World War II. His dreary life is instantly brightened when he finds an egg while searching for seashells. When the egg hatches, an animal unlike any other emerges. As the hatchling grows at an enormous pace into a monstrous size, Angus struggles to hide the secret from his mother. But his fears of her discipline aren’t nearly as great as those of the Royal Air Force, who have made a defensive base on the loch and would use deadly force against anything they perceived as a threat.
The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep is streaming on HBO Max and is available for rent on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
In 2003, Universal Pictures decided it was time for a live-action remake, transforming the beloved 1953 Disney classic from animation to a talented group of child actors. Peter Pan, directed by P. J. Hogan and co-written by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix‘s screenplay writer Michael Goldenberg, is based on J. M. Barrie‘s original 1904 play and 1911 novel.
Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood) is on the cusp of growing up in early 1900s London, but her imagination and dreams of adventure are alive and strong. When Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) shows up at her window, promising a realm of mermaids and pirates and fairies, she and her brothers take up his offer to journey to Neverland. The country of endless childhood is enchanting for all the Darling children, but it doesn’t come without its costs, especially for Wendy, who is smitten by the boy who never grows up.
Peter Pan is streaming on STARZ and is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg directs the 2016 film The BFG, a live-action screen adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s 1982 children’s book of the same name. Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) is a young orphan in London when she witnesses a giant in the streets at night. The giant takes her to Giant Country, where she learns he is the only vegetarian in a land full of human-eating giants. She names him Big Friendly Giant–or BFG–and takes great delight in joining him in his work of gifting sleeping children lovely dreams. Unfortunately, Sophie soon finds herself fighting to protect her world from the giants who would rather eat the children than let them rest peacefully in their beds.
The BFG is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Lilo & Stitch director Chris Sanders directs the 2010 DreamWorks fantasy film How to Train Your Dragon. Cressida Cowell‘s 2003 children’s book series of the same name served as inspiration for the movie. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the chief’s son in the Viking village of Berk where his people have fought a years-long war against the dragons that steal their sheep. Already a disappointment to his warrior of a father, Hiccup is determined to prove his might among the tribe by killing the most elusive dragon of all–the Night Fury. When he shoots it down, he finds it in the woods injured, not dead, and not at all the monstrous and bloodthirsty creature he expected it to be. As Hiccup comes of age in his community, he must keep this dragon a secret while discovering what it truly means to be a Viking.
How to Train Your Dragon is streaming on Netflix and is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Gothic fantasy genius Tim Burton directed the 2016 film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, a movie directly based on the renowned 2011 children’s novel by Ransom Riggs. Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield) is an ordinary boy until his grandfather is attacked and Jake is advised to find the mythical place of his grandfather’s childhood, known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Jake makes the journey to this home, where he indeed discovers the miraculous existence of the shape-shifting Miss Peregrine and her group home for children with peculiar supernatural abilities. As he makes friends with the children and learns of how Miss Peregrine protects them from the outside world, he soon discovers normal humans aren’t the only people–or things–the children have to fear.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is streaming on Disney+ and is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Norwegian director Joachim Rønning directs the 2019 Disney sequel to the villain retelling of Maleficent, titled Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Angelina Jolie returns as the temperamental fairy Maleficent, who is fiercely protective of her goddaughter, Aurora (Elle Fanning), and her magical home, the Moors. When Aurora accepts Prince Phillip’s marriage proposal, Maleficent is wary and still not trusting of humans, especially kingdoms of them. This only increases when Phillip’s mother, Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer), expresses a clear disdain for fairy folk and even insults Maleficent’s ability to take care of Aurora. The bonds between mother and daughter are tested, the Moors are targeted, and Maleficent discovers that despite being the lone leader of her kind, she is not as isolated as she once believed.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is streaming on Disney+ and is available for rent and purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
Ice Age director Chris Wedge directs the 2013 Blue Sky Studios fantasy film Epic, which is based on William Joyce‘s 1996 book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs. Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) isn’t terribly thrilled when she moves in with her father, Professor Bomba (Jason Sudeikis), whose obsession with researching a hidden world of miniature forest-dwelling people has him known as a mad scientist. Mary Katherine is shocked when a strange, magical event shrinks her to the size of these people, who are known as Leafmen. As she explores the beauty of the Leafmen’s home, she joins them in their battle against the evil Boggans, who wish to destroy the forest.
Epic is streaming on HBO Max. It is also available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
In 2008, Walt Disney Pictures co-produced The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the second film adaptation of C. S. Lewis’s children’s book series, based on the plot of the second novel. Andrew Adamson directs the high fantasy movie, which continues the Pevensie children’s adventures in Aslan’s country. Prince Caspian opens with the titular character, Telmarine Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), who lives in Narnia as one of the reigning humans. It has been 1,300 years since the kings and queens of Narnia disappeared, and stories of the land’s original Narnians are a mere myth now. Yet Caspian is forced to flee his kingdom when his uncle, King Miraz (Sergio Castellitto), sends assassins after him.
With nowhere else to go, Caspian escapes into the dark woods where the remaining Narnians are rumored to live. At the same time, the Pevensies are transported back to Narnia, only to find a land vastly different from the one they left. Peter (William Moseley), Susan (Anna Popplewell), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), and Lucy (Georgie Henley) join forces with Prince Caspian and the Narnians to overthrow Miraz, remove the oppression of the true Narnia, and grant Caspian his rightful throne.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is streaming on Disney+ and is available for rent or purchase on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.
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