The void is still there. Ever since J.K. Rowling published the last book of Harry Potter, it has been hard to get over the wizarding world. Well, you are not alone. Gladly, the actors and directors of the Harry Potter movie series have incredibly shown every detail on screen, turning Rowling’s writing into life.
All the more, the Harry Potter film series has made you believe in Hogwarts. While you are waiting for your Hogwarts letter, take time to watch fantasy movies like Harry Potter. Each of these movies will deliver the right dose of magic and odds-defying protagonists.
Fantasy, Adventure Movies
1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom
You are missing out in life if you have not watched this trilogy yet. Just like the Harry Potter film series, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is based on a novel by JRR Tolkien.
The Lord of the Rings film series is one of the best. It reminds directors and playwriters why stories are narrated and imagined. Scriptwriters and directors of the movie have created a new inventive, yet a pre-existing world in the movie. It seems their world existed in ours during the medieval era.
Like Harry Potter, the characters are more interesting on the page than in the movie. You know every narration and backstory of each character. But unlike in the film, the continuity and commitment to having all the right details become a drawback.
Nevertheless, the directors had every necessary detail in the movie that made the characters born into life and carried the watches until the end.
If you are watching this movie with your kids, there are things you have to know before starting the movie. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has gruesome scenes of the medieval era combats. You have to accompany them when watching.
2. The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014)
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage
Peter Jackson has proven through The Lord of The Rings that fantasy films are a huge hit when done right, and he continues his legacy in The Hobbit Trilogy. Aside from the outstanding work of Peter Jackson and the fame of the J.R.R Tolkien franchise, the fans are ensured they will have the same film adaptation quality.
The Hobbit serves as the prequel to The Lord of the Rings. Thus, if you want to follow the timeline based on Tolkien novels, it is best to begin with, The Hobbit Trilogy.
Although the first of this series disappointed some movie critics, the storyline and execution got better in the second and final installment of the prequel series. The Hobbit Trilogy is filled with outstanding visuals, eye-to-eye action frames, and humor.
3. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
English 1h 48m IMDb
Director: Brad Silberling
Stars: Jim Carrey, Jude Law(voice), Meryl Streep
A common denominator between the main characters of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Harry Potter Series is they are orphans who have to take care of themselves after their parents were murdered.
If you have read the book series, there may be some missed word plays and a little miscast. Moreover, the director and screenwriter clearly do not want the movie to be as dark as the narration of the novel.
Film-wise the movie has stunning visuals that will remind you of Tim Burton, which remains consistently entertaining for the audience.
One thing you should not miss when watching this movie is its ending credits. Stay during the ending credits; there is a 10-minute long animation that’s definitely worth seeing. It is in tune with the book.
4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2010-2013)
English 1h 58m IMDb
Director: Chris Columbus
Stars: Logan Lerman, Kevin McKidd, Steve Coogan
The popularity of the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series may seem like another Harry Potter imitation. But, this film series will exceed your expectation, especially if you are fond of Greek mythology.
Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god. As he became aware of this, he started training at a camping ground together with other deity children. Percy must prevent a feud between the Olympians and save his mother from Hades.
The storyline of Percy is somewhat similar to Harry Potter, a horrible stepfather, bullied at school and then bumps into the truth of his identity. That’s one of the main reasons why some would say it is a Harry Potter knock-off because it is like the wizarding world merged with Greek mythology.
Although the film adaptation is lacking in narration and confused with several mythological references, the movie is still a brilliant work of concept. It has incorporated the necessary scenes in the storytelling, and the cinematography and scenery were cleverly done.
5. Fantastic Beasts (2016-2022)
English 2h 12m IMDb
Director: David Yates
Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol
Fantastic Beasts is straight from JK Rowling’s mind and a Harry Potter series spinoff. It shows the rich mythology of a wide range of creatures and the background story of young Albus Dumbledore. If you are missing Hogwarts, this is a great movie to watch to ease your nostalgia.
The film has outstanding visuals like the Harry Potter film series. However, the top critics share that the narrative and enactment of the characters in Fantastic Beasts fall short of having the same potency as the Harry Potter series.
The screenwriter and director have to work and develop the character’s personalities to re-establish the audience. If this does not succeed, the Fantastic Beasts will only be a mere story in the same universe as Harry Potter.
Still, the film has shown stunning visuals and applauding performances of the cast that breathe life into the characters.
Fantasy, Adventure, Mystery Movies
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
English 2h 7m IMDb
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson
The go-to non-traditional fantasy movie is another masterpiece of Tim Burton. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has won 2 awards and 12 nominations.
Unlike Harry Potter, the peculiar children have names but lack personality or backstory, which draws most critics. However, Tim Burton has delivered the overly complicated storyline of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in strong visual experience.
If you want a refreshing story and visual experience from Tim Burton, watch Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
7. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)
English 2h 10m IMDb
Director: Harald Zwart
Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan
Most of the movies we have mentioned are novel adaptations, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is also one. Although this movie is fantasy fiction like Harry Potter, it does not deal with magical creatures.
Instead, the movie immerses in the realm of vampires, angels, demons, and other unearthly creatures. The mystery revolves around how the main character (Clare) discovered she is a half-angel and has a magical element to fight against demons.
Although the novel series is a masterpiece, critics were disappointed with the film storyline or script. The movie became a cliché and lacked the uniqueness in the storyline. Its fantasy adventure genre highly reflects Harry Potter, making the film more predictable.
Anyhow, the predicament is still yours to make. Whether there are several reviews of this movie, good and bad, it is you who can tell if you have enjoyed the movie or not.
8. Hunger Games Film Series (2012-2015)
English 2h 22m IMDb
Director: Gary Ross
Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Some might say Hunger Games is more of a science fiction film, but we cannot shy away from the fantasy, action, and adventure that hovers around this movie. Watching the Hunger Games series brings back the times when Harry and his friends fight for their rights and correct the wrongs the adults have done before them.
Film-wise, the Hunger Games series has strongly shown the audience how a dystopian world would be. The actors and actresses behind the scenes breathe life into the characters, which delivers a promising intense action and dynamic relationships between them.
Although predictability can be an issue in this film because of its common plotline, the screenwriter and director have put it into balance. They know how to excite the audience while leaving room for more cliffhangers.
Hungry for more? The Hunger Games series will be back in 2023.
Fantasy, Mystery, Children’s Film
9. The Golden Compass (2007)
English 1h 53m IMDb
Director: Chris Weitz
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Dakota Blue Richards
Another film adaptation is based on a classic fantasy novel. The story revolves around a magical universe where human souls reside inside an animal’s body, and Lyra who is set out to rescue young children and her friend who were kidnapped. So much for the plot; you have to watch it on screen!
If you have read the novel, you might be disappointed with the pacing, but if you have not, you will surely love it! Despite that, the screenwriter and director have done an excellent job. The story has not lost its direction and vision of the story.
However, it would be best if The Golden Compass had a sequel. Its ending feels a little rushed and continuous.
Despite the controversy of the source material, The Golden Compass is an inspiring fantasy movie. It is best to binge-watch with children. Check this movie out.
10. Inkheart (2008)
English 1h 46m IMDb
Director: Iain Softley
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Andy Serkis, Eliza Bennett
A children’s film adaptation from a trilogy. Although it is not on par with the Harry Potter series, Inkheart is a children’s film best for family movies. Although the film is heavy on cliches, it has a light aesthetics that entertains the audience.
If you have read the book trilogy of Inkheart, you might be slightly disappointed. The film is only an adaptation of the initial book, not all three. But, if you can separate the literary story from the film adaptation, you will find the movie a lovely fantasy with enigmatic characters.
All elements are there to make Inkheart an entertaining movie for both adults and children viewers.
11. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
English 1h 48m IMDb
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
A little sacrifice of the book’s narrative coherence brought the film adaptation to an undeniable yet strong visual treat.
It is the story of a teenager who falls into a rabbit hole, arrives in the magical world of Wonderland, and tries to save the place from the evil Red Queen. The dark fantasy remake shows the same magical fantasy the audiences have loved in the Harry Potter films.
Alice in the Wonderland is a darker Tim Burton classic narrative. Movie critics and enthusiasts are again not impressed with Tim Burton’s work. However, Johnny Depp’s performance in the film is furious, breathing life into the character of Mad Hatter.
Take a trip down the rabbit hole, and have a date with Alice in Wonderland.
12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly
The best film adaptation and the closest remake to the 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory became more visually appealing and dark. Once again, Tim Burton and all the cast of the movie have breathed life into the source material.
In this film, the acting is on point. Everyone else was perfectly cast, especially on how Johnny Depp breathed life into an oddball character, making it iconic.
13. The Chronicles of Narnia Trilogy (2005-2010)
English 2h 23m IMDb
Director: Andrew Adamson
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, William Moseley
The Narnia franchise has impressive performances and special effects like any fantasy movie. It is an outstanding adaptation and presents a cliffhanger ending, welcoming fans to the upcoming release.
Its story revolves when four kids going through a wardrobe and teleported to the land of Narnia. The magical world of Narnia has friendly fauns, talking lions, evil witches, and handsome princes.
However, the last installment of this sequel lacks something, and it feels like it is embarking on something that is continually endless. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable adaptation that has incredibly engrossed.
14. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010)
English 1h 49m IMDb
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina
The movie shows a breathtaking combination of fantasy, sorcery, and mythology; the movie roots deeply in Arthurian lore. The main characters of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice have similarities; both (Harry and Dave) are destined to have a brighter future and embrace challenges with courage and firmness.
Most movie critics are disappointed with Nicolas Cage’s performance in the movie and its plot. The viewers feel there is not much to laugh at or thrill about. Nevertheless, the actions are well-choreographed, making it competitive with other action-fantasy movies.
Harry Potter fans should definitely watch this movie.
It is undeniable how Harry Potter is the most remarkable fantasy film series of all time as its franchise still maintains a massive fandom even after a decade since the final film was released. But, each of the listed movies above has its distinct magical universe while sharing the aspects of the fantasy genre.