You should see these fantastic films about magic, illusion, and necromancy before seeing Doctor Strange in theaters in November.
Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular hero, is set to hit theaters this fall. The Scarlet Witch made her Marvel debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so this isn’t Strange’s first appearance as a magician, but the freshly released trailer shows that this film will go deeper into the occult mythos.
In preparation for Marvel’s Doctor Strange, which will be released on November 4th, the following films are recommended. It’s important to keep in mind that these aren’t just movies about magic; they’re about illusion, witchcraft, or even wizardry. Excuses to any and all fans of Disney animated films.
Here are the 12 greatest films ever made on magic.
1. Now You See Me
After Zombieland, Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson reunited to star in one of the most bizarre movies of recent memory. As the Four Horsemen, a group of “real magicians” known as The Eye, the plot of Now You See Me centres around four magicians pulling off grandiose heists. Great magic acts and situations that you’ll either see or miss abound in this flick.
Additionally, Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI agent tasked with chasing down a gang of Four Horsemen who look a lot like characters from Robin Hood, and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman appear in small but important parts. While the performances are functional and the magical components are inspiring, the screenplay is at best inane and at worst illogical and absurd. While Now You See Me makes for great movie theater fare, there’s nothing deeper lurking under the bright surface. The same can be said about the sequel, which we expect to be out in the not-too-distant future.
Although Ron Howard’s Willow isn’t modeled on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Wiccan, it still has its advantages. In this fantasy film, Warwick Davis portrays a farmer named Willow who must raise the kid of the evil Queen Bavmorda, a role he accepts. Willow’s sorcery skills are honed while he travels, with the help of fairies, brownies, and Val Kilmer as the swordsman Madmartigan. Because this is a fantasy film, Willow, who is now more self-assured, beats Bavmorda and learns that good always prevails over evil.
At the time, the film was panned, but it has since gained a cult following. James Horner’s score and ILM’s effects make this a fantasy match made in heaven.
3. Practical Magic
Just for the sake of argument, let’s overlook that Nicole Kidman appeared in Nora Ephron’s dreadful Bewitched adaption. After watching Speed 2: Cruise Control, she played a witch. starring Sandra Bullock in the romantic comedy, Practical Magic.
As the title suggests, this film is about two sisters who possess magical abilities, but their abilities come at a price: any man who falls in love with them dies. Even the most jaded skeptic will find something to keep them entertained. Magical aspects are used effectively to depict a compelling and delightful love narrative in the film, which is hardly a masterpiece.
4. Lord of Illusions
From hideous and horrible to moderately alarming and nonetheless disgusting, Clive Barker’s art is a wide range of emotions. Hellraiser and Nightbreed are two of the best horror films ever made. Among his lesser-known adaptations is “Lord of Illusion,” which was released in 1995. Barker’s renowned Harry D’Amour was played for the first time on screen by Scott Bakula in this film.
The Puritan,” a film about a man who can perform pure magic, was written and directed by Barker. While investigating the murder of a psychic, Detective D’Amour discovers that there is more to the case than first appears. The film is enhanced by stunning practical make-up and effects, as well as magic created by Barker.
Lord of Illusions is a great, darker magical picture with an intriguing idea and spectacular feats, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
5. Hocus Pocus
The Sanderson Sisters are one of the most popular cult film trios. The witches, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Milder, and Kathy Najimy, have one aim in life: to regain their youth and beauty via sex and beauty.
A terrific Halloween movie for kids of all ages, Hocus Pocus is a must-see. It’s impossible not to smile when watching the video, which is full of gaudy clothes, goofy spells, and buck teeth. Although the performances are absolutely campy, they work better for people who have a bit of nostalgia in their hearts. It won’t disappoint Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Halloweentown fans. Bette Milder sings “I Put a Spell on You” as a bonus for the audience.
In Stardust, the witches aren’t just a group of gorgeous women who wish to stay that way. A pirate (Robert de Niro), unicorns, and a star personified as a lady are also included in Matthew Vaughn’s film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel (Claire Danes). Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox of Daredevil fame), a man who falls in love with the star and takes control of his own fate, is the protagonist of the film.
In addition to Michelle Pfieffer and Mark Strong, the supporting cast includes Peter O’Toole, Ricky Gervais, Ian McKellen, and Henry Cavill. Gaiman’s magic is vivid and inventive, with excellent world-building and lovable characters on display. In spite of its lack of focus, Stardust makes for a great family-friendly magical experience.
7. The Craft
“The Craft,” one of the most popular witch movies since the 1980s (there were a surprising number), is known for its realistic depiction of spell-casting effects. When it comes to witches, there’s always opportunity for a morality tale, but The Craft isn’t hesitant to go all the way.
The film tells the narrative of four high school girls with extraordinary powers, and it includes curses, spells, and several murders. ” It’s best not to mess with these gang of teenagers.
The Craft is a joy to watch, with a fantastic cast and crew, and a fantastic soundtrack to go along with it. It was a resounding success, making $55 million off a $15 million budget.
8. The Illusionist
This film was overshadowed by a great 2006 film about magicians starring Edward Norton and Jessica Biel. It’s not that The Illusionist is a horrible film; it’s actually rather good.
Illusionist Eisenheim (Norton) relates the narrative of how he travels to Vienna in order to be with his true love, Sophie (Biel). Sophie and Eisenheim are forbidden to love one other because of their status as duchesses and Eisenheim is a peasant. Sophie’s arranged engagement and Vienna’s reign under Leopold’s rule will be freed by a scheme to harness the powers of illusion.
A wide range of magic is on display throughout The Illusionist’s magic sequences, from the more conventional to the supernatural. As of 2014, there have been no updates on the TV show based on the film.
Labyrinth, a fantasy masterpiece from the 1980s, mixes the best of the decade’s offerings. The film is a wonder to behold, starring David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King, Jim Henson Creature Shop puppets, and stunning settings.
Jim Henson was the only person who could have created the enchantment in Labyrinth. There are a lot of puppets like Hoggle and Sir Didymus (the charming fox-knight) that people remember for a long time because they’re so realistic. Bowie and Jennifer Connelly are the only human actors in the fantastical universe.
Magical monsters abound in the story of Sarah’s mission to save her baby brother Toby from the cruel Goblin King, and the book’s heart is clearly visible. No one can deny that David Bowie’s performance in the picture is outstanding. I recommend seeing it during a midnight screening as soon as possible.
10. Spirited Away
Chihiro, a little girl lost in the spirit world, is the protagonist of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. Chihiro must work in her bathhouse to free her family and return to the human world when her parents are converted into pigs by the witch Yubaba.
It was John Lasseter of Pixar renown who helmed the English-language version of the picture. It surpassed Titanic as the highest-grossing film in Japan and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
It’s a haunted realm populated by shikigami (ghosts), dragons, witches, and a creature known as “No-Face,” which devours humans. In comparison to past retreads of the Alice in Wonderland story, the gorgeous animation raises it to a whole new level. This is one of Studio Ghibli’s best films, and a true piece of art.
11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The strongest Harry Potter film and book are those that do not feature Lord Voldemort. It was the first of the eight films to feature pupils of Hogwarts in clothing other than their robes from filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron. Also, the stakes for the characters were elevated significantly, creating a much harsher universe.
Adding to Rowling’s already expansive magical mythology are the dementors and their lethal kiss, the gentle gigantic Hippogriff, and a professor with a full-moon problem. As Sirius Black, Gary Oldman was a superb choice, and the young Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have all improved steadily in their performances as a result.
We had to pick just one, but Cuaron’s Harry Potter was the clear winner because it contained some of the series’ most breathtaking magical sequences.
12. The Prestige
The Prestige, despite its lack of actual magic, is the most awe-inspiring film about magic. Following the success of Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale collaborated again on this 2006 film.
More compelling than The Illusionist, The Prestige follows dueling magicians as they compete to perform the greatest illusion. In addition to Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman, this ensemble cast movie also features David Bowie.
While the plot twists are among Nolan’s best, the film’s numerous magic scenes, which feature sleight-of-hand and escape artistry, are significantly superior to those found in most films featuring magicians. After all these years, Caine still has the best illustration of magic in action. If you’re going to see Doctor Strange for the first time, don’t spoil the finale by watching the previous film first.