IMDb Polls

Poll: Fantasy Movie Tropes

Haunted forests, and creatures, and spells, oh my!

Which of these fantasy movie tropes do you feel to be the most overused?

After voting, you may discuss the poll here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!
     

    Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    The Chosen One

    One of the more famous tropes is to have our central hero be "The Chosen One", either via prophecy or some other extreme circumstances, and they usually discover this in some revelatory way. This trope helps to create a story about said hero fulfilling his/her destiny. How far can their willpower, and 'chosen' abilities, take them?

  2. Vote!
     

    Ian McKellen in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

    The Wise Old Wizard

    ...or old man, but usually the former. The Wise Old Wizard is a classic literary figure, whom provides our story with an experienced, refined presence. Often a kind of father figure in the eyes of our hero, they can also serve as a profound philosopher distinguished for their wisdom and sound judgment. If you want to learn of the significance of your encounters, look no further.

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    Brendan Gleeson and Ray Winstone in Beowulf (2007)

    Old English Accents

    If the list of films you had ever seen was limited to those that take place in a fantasy world, you'd think the whole world was British. These accents complement the fantasy vibe perfectly, placing an emphasis on their general elegance and royalty. Matt Zoller Seitz, a TV critic for New York Magazine, claims the accent is "sufficiently exotic" and can "transport the viewer to a different reality".

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    Brian Henson, David Alan Barclay, Timothy Bateson, Dave Goelz, Rob Mills, Ron Mueck, Karen Prell, and David Shaughnessy in Labyrinth (1986)

    Different Races

    Portraying an entirely different world necessitates that a cast be used that it is... well... entirely different from humans. The range of diversity can be anywhere from dwarves and elves to giants and goblins. What interests us most, perhaps, is how they would interact not only with each other but with other humans. They may be on our hero's side, they may not - but they will definitely provide us with ample entertainment.

  5. Vote!
     

    Warwick Davis, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Jon Key in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)

    Magic Spells

    Fantasy worlds often present the use of magic spells, a set of strange words, spoken or unspoken, that can invoke some type of magical effect. They can be used by either the hero or the villain, sometimes versus one another, the former often to do damage control on what the latter has done. Or maybe, just to show us how otherworldly they really are.

  6. Vote!
     

    Candy Candido in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

    Haunted forests

    Our hero has it tough enough as it is, but who says that the journey can't be as equally daunting, or riveting, as the destination? Haunted forests are often portrayed as under, or containing, enchantments. They can represent places unknown to the characters, and situations of liminality and transformation. A setting of looming danger, one of refuge or a mere chance at adventure - you name it, we've seen em' all!

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    Jim Carrey and Ben Stein in The Mask (1994)

    Magical Items

    A magic item is any object that has magical powers inherent in it. These items may act on their own or be the tools of the person/being whose hands they fall into. They can provide said magical abilities to a person lacking them or enhance their existing powers. A mask, a ring, a hammer - these items come in all shapes and size!

  8. Vote!
     

    Sam Worthington in Avatar (2009)

    Mythical Creatures

    In addition to having different races amidst the population, it can be equally imperative to present the audience to mythical creatures. Virtuous or villainous, these creatures can be anything from human/Na'vi hybrids to frightening dragons and immerse us into their worlds with their strikingly human-like emotions. They can guide our protagonist on his/her journey, serve as a mere peculiar encounter or be the enemy whose plans need to be thwarted.

  9. Vote!
     

    Tim Curry in Legend (1985)

    The Dark Lord

    Also known as the "Evil Overlord", this villain is commonly portrayed in fantasy works and often has henchmen who accompany him. Often used as a moniker in universes where it is thought that pronouncing the villain's real name will bring bad luck or represents a bad omen. Such a villain usually, and unsurprisingly, seeks to rule or destroy the universe around them.

  10. Vote!
     

    Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, and Jake Lloyd in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)

    The Prophecy

    A prophecy is often considered to be "predicting the future." In many films, we are given a kind of premonition, usually delivered by an oracle of some kind whether it being a fortune teller, a wise old person or a witch, warning our hero of the looming dangers in the near future. As our antagonist tries to make that prophecy come to be, our hero will do everything in his power (no pun intended) to stop it.

  11. Vote!
     

    Alan Howard in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

    Strange Spellings and Fictional Languages

    A world of strange creatures and strange scenery - it would only be fitting to have languages that are as mysterious as they are alluring. Strange spelling/words are another indication of just how different the world we are witnessing before us really is. Sometimes even our hero doesn't understand the meaning of the strange writing (initially, at least).

  12. Vote!
     

    Eragon (2006)

    Darkness Has Fallen Over The Kingdom

    So they once owned their land, then they didn't (there will surely be a backstory on how/when it was taken, by whom it was taken from). Now what we have is a bunch of freedom fighters whose chief concerns are recapturing what was once rightfully theirs. We may lose some good men along the way, but so is the price to pay to earn back what is rightfully ours - our land.

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    William Moseley, Anna Popplewell, Skandar Keynes, and Georgie Henley in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

    A Royal Family

    Fictional monarchs are an abundant breed in fantasy tales - I mean, what did the Queen ever do to you? Alas, these families may be virtuous, perhaps a young son/daughter is rising up the royal ladder to kick things off in the story or it is an evil family who is out for vengeance, or maybe just plain ticked off with the status quo. It does add an exquisite elegance, though.

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    John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

    The Epic Quest

    The Epic Quest is the real deal - this quest will feature the hero and a bunch of supporting cast members travelling across the world with a firm goal in mind: this can be the recovering of a Macguffin, saving a princess, locating a loved one or all of the above. Countless adventures, running into oracles, fantastic creatures - essentially all of the tropes are stuffed into the quest!

  15. Vote!
     

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

    The Epic Final Battle

    The whole story has been filled with an adventurous journey full of frights and thrills, but now it must culminate in one final, epic battle - perhaps started with a heartfelt monologue from our protagonist, a flashback which will provide that extra incentive and definitely an onslaught of epic music. The forces of Good and Evil clash in what's sure to be an exciting, albeit bloody, conclusion.


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