Reality is threaded throughout the most fantastic of the fantasy films,
Fantasy films? There’s truth in there too
-Los Angeles Times, Sam Adams
Given a choice between Iraq and fairyland, it’s clear where moviegoers would prefer to spend time.
Despite the glut of politically themed movies on offer this season, audiences have embraced frothier fare: “The Golden Compass,” set in a parallel universe inhabited by comely witches and talking animals; fluffy musical romance “Enchanted,” which brings classic Disneyana to modern-day New York; and the dark animated adventure “Beowulf,” rife with decaying monsters and burnished gold dragons.
“Compass,” in fact, was No. 1 at the box office over the weekend. It pushed “Enchanted” to second place by earning an estimated $26.1 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales, New Line Cinema reported Sunday.
And all this comes on the heels of the huge success of the “Lord of the Rings” films, the “Harry Potter” franchise and 2005’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
A successful fantastic film artfully mixes the familiar and the fanciful. For all their extraordinary elements, the worlds of Harry Potter and Middle-Earth feel tactile and inhabitable, often more so than the airbrushed universe of the X-Men or Superman. Wedding childlike wonder to grown-up themes (with some teen-delighting combat along the way), the result, studios hope, is a demographic smart bomb whose revenue-generating powers never go out of style.