Empires of the Imagination: A Critical Survey of Fantasy Cinema from Georges Melies to The Lord of the Rings

Empires of the Imagination: A Critical Survey of Fantasy Cinema from Georges Melies to The Lord of the Rings

by Alec Worley


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The warlocks and ghosts of fantasy film haunt our popular culture, but the genre has too long been ignored by critics. This comprehensive critical survey of fantasy cinema demonstrates that the fantasy genre amounts to more than escapism. Through a meticulously researched analysis of more than a century of fantasy pictures—from the seminal work of Georges Melies to Peter Jackson's recent tours of Middle-earth—the work identifies narrative strategies and their recurring components and studies patterns of challenge and return, setting and character.
First addressing the difficult task of defining the genre, the work examines fantasy as a cultural force in both film and literature and explores its relation to science fiction, horror, and fairy tales. Fantasy's development is traced from the first days of film, with emphasis on how the evolving genre reflected such events as economic depression and war. Also considered is fantasy's expression of politics, as either the subject of satire or fuel for the fires of propaganda. Discussion ventures into the subgenres, from stories of invented lands inhabited by fantastic creatures to magical adventures set in the familiar world, and addresses clashes between fantasy and faith, such as the religious opposition to the Harry Potter phenomenon. From the money-making classics to little-known arthouse films, this richly illustrated work covers every aspect of fantasy film.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476681375
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 01/30/2020
Edition description: Critical
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.61(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Author Alec Worley lives in London, England. He writes comics, books and audio dramas set in the worlds of fantasy, sci-fi and horror. Find out more at alecworley.com.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments viii

Foreword by Brian Sibley 1

Preface 3

1. Locating Fantasy 7

2. The Birth of Fantasy Cinema 17

3. Fairy Tales 25

4. Earthbound Fantasy 83

5. Heroic Fantasy 162

6. Epic Fantasy 232

Bibliography 273

Index 275

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