Fantasy Films


End of Semester Survival Guide

Here are a few tasks and advice on the last few days of the course and its assignments.

  • For the Film Viewing Journal you must post a brief self-evaluation of a forum topic created for this purpose. You do not need to read or reply to your classmates’ postings. Discuss the following criteria in your posting:
    1. completeness of your postings and replies,
    2. timely completion of the postings and replies, and
    3. quality of your analyses.

    Considering the three criteria above, give yourself a grade for your Film Viewing Journal. This self-evaluation is due by December 10.

  • The final exam will have a similar structure as the midterm exam. You will be tested on your knowledge of the fantasy genre, as well as on the use of auteur and archetypal theories. The exam will have questions that expect you to show your knowledge of the films assigned for class and of the critical vocabulary from the first half of the course.

Suggestions for Essay #2

Here are some suggestions for fantasy directors and films that are available at local video stores, or that you could probably find online (try www.surfthechannel.com):

Auteurs:

  • Terry Gilliam: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, Time Bandits, The Fisher King, The Brothers Grimm, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Jean Perre Jeunet: The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen
  • Hayao Miyazaki: Castle in the Sky, How’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Tim Burton: Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Corpse Bride, Sleepy Hollow
  • Guillermo del Toro: Blade 2, Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Hellboy 2, The Devil’s Backbone
  • Steven Chow: Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle
  • Walt Disney: too many to list. . . but remember, he did pass away, though the formula continues to this day.
  • Ralph Bakshi: The Lord of the Rings, Fire and Ice, Wizards
  • Ray Harryhausen: you know his films.

Recent Films (1990-present):

  • The Golden Compass, The Polar Express, The Spiderwick Chronicles
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Forbidden Kingdom
  • Nightwatch, Daywatch
  • Conan movies, The Highlander (only the first one, please)
  • The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter series
  • The Scorpion King, The Mask
  • Peter Pan, Hook
  • Mirrormask, Beowulf, Stardust
  • Nanny McPhee, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Shrek series, Enchanted
  • Ninja Scroll
  • The Prophecy, Constantine, Dogma
  • Dragonheart
  • Pirates of the Caribbean series
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Archetypal Analysis of Fantasy Films from the 1980s

For this analysis, you must select a fantasy film from 1980 – 1995 (animation is okay) and analyze it from an Archetypal criticism perspective, focusing on the monomyth when applicable. The posting should be about 250 words and is due before class on Tuesday, November 25. A reply to a classmate’s posting is due before class on December 2. A forum has been prepared for this topic.


The Princess Bride

Here’s the link. And here’s the film:

The Princess Bride


Final Paper / Project

For this assignment, you have two choices:

1. Write an academic research paper on 2-3 fantasy films, in which you employ one or more of the following critical perspectives:

  • Auteur theory (focusing on a particular director, producer, or animator)
  • Genre theory (historical approach, or focusing on a subgenre of fantasy)
  • Technological approach (focusing on a particular special effects or animation technology and the types of films it produced)
  • Archetypal theory (applying C. G. Jung’s model of the psyche, the use of archetypes, and/or Joseph Campbell’s notion of the monomyth)
  • Other approaches must be approved by your professor.

Remember that no matter the critical perspective you have chosen, the essay must prove something beyond simply applying the terminology or reporting on information researched. And don’t forget to use your film terminology (mise-en-scene, cinematography, etc.) in your analyses. The essay must be about 4-6 pages long (1000-1500 words) in MLA Format (typed, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12 point font).

2. You may produce (individually or collaboratively) a 10-15 minute film that incorporates some element of fantasy and submit (individually) a 2-3 page (500-750 words) essay where you discuss your contribution and how your work is an engagement of the cinematic elements, theories, and genre discussed in class.

E-mail me a proposal in which you specify the films chosen for the essay and the critical perspective you will focus on by Thursday, November 20.


Resources on Jung and Archetypes

This link explains several Jungian Archetypes: http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jung.html

This concisely describes Jung’s model of the Psyche: http://www.thesap.org.uk/jung-s-model-of-the-psyche

This resource has several visual models of the Psyche: http://www.schuelers.com/ChaosPsyche/part_1_17.htm

Enjoy!


Visual Summary of the Monomyth

This is a useful diagram and resource on the monomyth: http://faculty.pcc.edu/~mmcdowel/eng240fall03/eng240campbellmonomyth.pdf

Enjoy!


Schedule Adjustments Due to Recess

Given the recess that changes our schedule for this week, we will be making the following modifications to our class to keep up with the material scheduled:

  • You will have to finish watching Camelot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail in order to do your posting.
  • I have compressed the films into smaller file sizes and placed them in the following Web page. You should be able to download them and see them from home.

Homework:

Analysis of Medievalism in Camelot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail

How and with what purpose do these films represent (or reinvent) the Middle Ages? Compare and contrast each film’s medievalism, using whichever formal elements you consider relevant in your analysis, providing examples from a scene or several key scenes in the film.

The analysis should be approximately 300 words in length and should be posted in the appropriate forum, no later than Sunday, November 2. A 50-word response to a classmate’s posting is due before class on Thursday, November 6.

Preparation for next class (Thursday, November 6):

  • View the following videos:

    Schedule Adjustments Due to Recess

    Given the recess that changes our schedule for this week, we will be making the following modifications to our class to keep up with the material scheduled:

    • You will have to finish watching Camelot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail in order to do your posting.
    • I have compressed the films into smaller file sizes and placed them in the following Web page. You should be able to download them and see them from home.

    Homework:

    Analysis of Medievalism in Camelot and Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    How and with what purpose do these films represent (or reinvent) the Middle Ages? Compare and contrast each film’s medievalism, using whichever formal elements you consider relevant in your analysis, providing examples from a scene or several key scenes in the film.

    The analysis should be approximately 300 words in length and should be posted in the appropriate forum, no later than Sunday, November 2. A 50-word response to a classmate’s posting is due before class on Thursday, November 6.

    Preparation for next class (Thursday, November 6):


    Alternate access point for films

    http://sites.google.com/site/3345films/Home