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Fantasy Was So Awesome In 70s and 80s

Darkmakaimura

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There was this quality to fantasy media in the 70s and 80s.

It all really felt dream-like and mystical.

A good example is a movie like Legend with Tim Curry. That whole atmosphere was dream like and fantastical. Same goes for movies like Neverending Story.

Dungeons and Dragons felt dark and mysterious. The comic store would have all the rpg books in a dark corner of the store with a table. It felt like it was a ritual area or seance.

I keep thinking of fake wood paneling walls, 'The Trees' by Rush playing in the background and so on.

That animated Bakshi stuff like Wizards or The Hobbit were representing.

It all felt so authentic.

Now it's all mainstream and even worse, woke. Gone is the dream-like quality and mystery.
 
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triplestation

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yeah its like a dish someone with care puts together for you vs a factory assembled packaged dinner

one you feel the human effort, dat passion to deliver something awesome is apparent in every way

the other you know some machine portioned everything out to get the job done in a uniform manner
 
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This thread is funny because although i completely agree with media outside of movies, a lot of other media, especially movies took it all as a joke. Legend honestly i was never big into because it was always to me "heres every fantasy trope done in a very trope kind of way". The 80s were actually a really shitty time for sword and scorcery movies. Im talking fantasy that takes place in another world not connected to ours...which was another annoying thing every attempt at fantasy had to do.

Seriously the best we got for pure other world fantasy was maybe..Willow? Everything else was so utterly generic. Video games were finally the outlet for me for good scord and sorcery fantasy. It really wasnt until LotR came out that we got a good proper fantasy adaption. The Bakshi stuff was creepy shit artwork ( i like other bakshi stuff though)and turned me away from Tolkein for a long time since that was my first exposure to it as a kid and Bilbo looked like a mongoloid..

As a kid in the 80s i wanted good sword and scorcery fantasy epics that could be taken at least semi seriously and didnt look like wrestlers dressed in loincloths. I dont think its gotten much better since LotR mind you but hey we got GoT, we never would have gotten that in the 80s. Unfortunately most fantasy since LotR is crappy cg sci channel stuff so i still get my fix from games instead.

and Yea I like Arnold Conan but im a huge howard fan and to me thats more historical fantasy since it takes place in our mythological past.
 

slugbahr

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This thread is funny because although i completely agree with media outside of movies, a lot of other media, especially movies took it all as a joke. Legend honestly i was never big into because it was always to me "heres every fantasy trope done in a very trope kind of way". The 80s were actually a really shitty time for sword and scorcery movies. Im talking fantasy that takes place in another world not connected to ours...which was another annoying thing every attempt at fantasy had to do.

Seriously the best we got for pure other world fantasy was maybe..Willow? Everything else was so utterly generic. Video games were finally the outlet for me for good scord and sorcery fantasy. It really wasnt until LotR came out that we got a good proper fantasy adaption. The Bakshi stuff was creepy shit artwork ( i like other bakshi stuff though)and turned me away from Tolkein for a long time since that was my first exposure to it as a kid and Bilbo looked like a mongoloid..

As a kid in the 80s i wanted good sword and scorcery fantasy epics that could be taken at least semi seriously and didnt look like wrestlers dressed in loincloths. I dont think its gotten much better since LotR mind you but hey we got GoT, we never would have gotten that in the 80s. Unfortunately most fantasy since LotR is crappy cg sci channel stuff so i still get my fix from games instead.

and Yea I like Arnold Conan but im a huge howard fan and to me thats more historical fantasy since it takes place in our mythological past.
GoT isn't fantasy. It's adult drama set in a medieval world. With a bit of magic and dragons on the side.
 
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GoT isn't fantasy. It's adult drama set in a medieval world. With a bit of magic and dragons on the side.
i Prefer when the fantasy exists but is toned down...or i should say when the world has mystery and romance to it for the people living in it. Not a fan of warcraft type worlds where you go out into a field and theres dragons and giants all over the place and every third person is an ultra mega wizard. I like the sense of exploration and discovery
 
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slugbahr

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i Prefer when the fantasy exists but is toned down...or i should say when the world has mystery and romance to it for the people living in it. Not a fan of warcraft type worlds where you go out into a field and theres dragons and giants all over the place and every third person is an ultra mega wizard. I like the sense of exploration and discovery
To each their own.
 

JonnyMP3

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Legend and Willow were definitely part of my childhood fantasy stuff as well as The Neverending Story. Labyrinth was a good childhood fave as well and not just because of Magic Dance or David Bowie's bulge.
Dark Crystal and the cartoon LOTR also got some plays.

Oh and Krull... Can't forget Krull!
 
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#Phonepunk#

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yes it was very dream like. very archetypal. very authentic.

everything now is too irony poisoned. instead of archetypes everything is a subversion. instead of dreamlike we get the prestige tv look, everything is realistic and "representative".

one of my favorite fantasy films is Excalibur. rather than realistic, it uses highly stylized art direction and lighting. i love the use of green lighting in the forest, something which is strange and enhances the atmosphere.



i mean just look at the movie poster. this poster alone is better than most movies these days.

 

Ballthyrm

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I wouldn't paint that broad a brush.
Fantasy as a literary genre is doing better than ever before.

Now we have multiple thriving type of fantasy, we have Grimdark(The First Law) , High fantasy(LOTR), Magical realism(Beloved ), Low Fantasy(American gods), Urban Fantasy(The Dresden Files), etc, etc.
Really on the books side, probably the best it has ever been.

On the video game side we have a lot of different approaches too, from Dark soul to Zelda, to Final Fantasy.

Really, it's only the movie that have been lagging behind. We had a huge push with LOTR and then a big pile of copy cat and then nothing.
We got a big rebound of Fantasy on TV after the success of GoT and now we are seing a lot of new interesting stuff coming out.


As or the type of Fantasy OP is after. I think you'll like The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
It looks like you only think of Fantasy as High Fantasy but maybe i'm understanding wrong.
 
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Liljagare

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The books were so good too... :p

My favourites are slightly late, but Dragonlance - those books were like drugs, you couldn't stop consuming them, and they kept pumping them out. Atleast they sort of got a ending, but it's a shame what happened to that world due to the disagreements between authors/publisher etc.

Can't believe we still haven't seen a decent flick or massive game set in the world of Dragonlance yet, it's like 40K, or Warhammer Fantasy, friggin' huge with tons of lore to explore. :\

But yeah, the movies, we won't see the likes again.

Excalibur is my all time favourite!!

Willow - don't think that "peck" would be allowed today.
 

GreyHorace

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yes it was very dream like. very archetypal. very authentic.

everything now is too irony poisoned. instead of archetypes everything is a subversion. instead of dreamlike we get the prestige tv look, everything is realistic and "representative".

one of my favorite fantasy films is Excalibur. rather than realistic, it uses highly stylized art direction and lighting. i love the use of green lighting in the forest, something which is strange and enhances the atmosphere.



i mean just look at the movie poster. this poster alone is better than most movies these days.

Love this film. Probably the best retelling of Arthurian myth in any media. The keyword being myth, as director John Boorman in no way was making any sort of historical film. He was making a fairy tale, which explains the presence of plate mail armor in what is supposedly 6th century England. He wanted his knights to look like fricking knights so damn any sort historical inaccuracy.

As for the topic, I wouldn't say that fantasy during the 70s and 80s was any better than today. I enjoyed Ahnold in Conan the Barbarian but I recently watched Beastmaster and I was struck by how boring it was. The only other fantasy film I could say I enjoyed from this era would Jim Henson's Labyrinth. Sorry, but I found The Dark Crystal slow and boring, but I greatly enjoy the new Netflix show!

For myself, I'm still a little pissed that Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy didn't start the fantasy Renaissance in film that I was hoping for. Most of the fantasy properties seem to be going to streaming TV.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Fantasy can only thrive in a culture that appreciates / is curious about the past (fantasy leans heavily on "ancient, long lost society").

Sci-fi can only thrive in a culture that appreciates / is curious about the future (sci-fi leans heavily on "how will this technology affect the Avg Joe human?)

Since current pop culture is neither respectful toward the past nor optimistic about the future, both genres have become pathetic.
 

GreyHorace

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Fantasy can only thrive in a culture that appreciates / is curious about the past (fantasy leans heavily on "ancient, long lost society").

Sci-fi can only thrive in a culture that appreciates / is curious about the future (sci-fi leans heavily on "how will this technology affect the Avg Joe human?)

Since current pop culture is neither respectful toward the past nor optimistic about the future, both genres have become pathetic.
That's some great insight. Back then Tolkien was cool and DnD was the shit.

Now? They want to cancel Tolkien for being a straight white male and DnD has been infested with SJW bullshit.
 

Belmonte

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Not sure if I agree about movies. LOTR is peak fantasy for me.

But I get what you mean when talking about art. Despite liking many modern artists, there is a grounded aspect in old medieval fantasy drawing/paintings which got lost with the time.

Everything needs to be so cool and designed that the scene/character gets less believable. I don't want a 1 : 1 recreation of real knights and priests, without any fantasy but many times I feel like real medieval armor and clothes are not even a reference.
 

YCoCg

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A slight trade off for becoming culturally acceptable. If you were into this stuff back then you were that outcast nerd virgin, especially some of the harder cuts being mentioned in this thread, you would have been a target. It's easier now to talk openly about nerdy and geeky shit as most people grew up in this era where it was more acceptable and had a larger mainstream appeal.
 
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Pejo

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A slight trade off for becoming culturally acceptable. If you were into this stuff back then you were that outcast nerd virgin, especially some of the harder cuts being mentioned in this thread, you would have been a target. It's easier now to talk openly about nerdy and geeky shit as most people grew up in this era where it was more acceptable and had a larger mainstream appeal.
You could argue that it's that kind of thing that made it even better though. It was made by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, not watered down to focus tests and lowest common denominators like today's stuff.
 

Hypereides

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I definitely miss the Syd mead-esque, neo-futuristic backdrops and omnious, engimatic synth ambiance akin to that of Jean-Michel Jarre's music.






Would be great to see more contemporary game developers draw inspiration from this style.

EDIT: Had a brainfart and just realised this thread is about high fantasy, not imagination (fantasy) from those periods.
 
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MaestroMike

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grew up in the 90s but I recall always getting hyped when labyrinth came on tv. probably had a crush on jennifer connelly tho thought david bowie's character was hel!a weird lol
 

sol_bad

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I remember when I bought Legend on blu ray, hyped as fuck to watch it as I hadn't seen it for 20 years or so. It was dull and boring as feck unfortunately, Ridley Scott disappointed me.

Labyrinth, Neverending Story and Dark Crystal are still top tier.
I need to rematch Willow but remember liking it ages ago. Might be another Legend situation though.
Never seen Krull.

I'd still take the LOTR movies and Pirates of the Caribbean 1 and 2 over anything from the 80s.
 
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Mistershine.

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Joanne Whalley was my first celebrity crush.
And legend was the first movie I saw at the theatre.
Becoming a fantasy nerd was my fate since early childhood
Eight year old me had a massive crush on Tami Stronach, I thought she was essentially perfect.

One of my favourite movies from the era/genre that hasn't been mentored yet is The Flight of Dragons.


Also shout out to Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone for the Fighting Fantasy books of the 80s.
 
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Soltype

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Ladyhawke is fantasy right, I loved that movie growing up.I think lighting is the biggest thing killing fantasy/sci-fi, they should film with old cameras again.
 
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Kagey K

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As far as fantasy books go, David Eddings and Terry Brooks were the masters. Every fantasy writer should learn from those 2 (Eddings especially)

There hasn’t been a writer come close in years.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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The first Conan is one of my favorite movies. I love the tone so much, how seriously it takes itself. It feels like a nod to one of the early pre-code Hollywood epics, especially those open air cult scenes. It’s almost like that crossed with a western. Plus I love the lineup, the little group they have, the crazy wizard, etc just great stuff you can tell whoever made it had a deep respect for fantasy

one problem with modern stuff is the irony poisoning. it is almost like the creators are ashamed of fantasy, so they approach it with some detached distance. perhaps one of the consequences of going mainstream. it definitely loses something. as if the filmmaker is constantly pulling you aside and saying “I don’t really believe in this shit”
 
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Kimahri

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The first Conan is one of my favorite movies. I love the tone so much, how seriously it takes itself. It feels like a nod to one of the early pre-code Hollywood epics, especially those open air cult scenes. It’s almost like that crossed with a western. Plus I love the lineup, the little group they have, the crazy wizard, etc just great stuff you can tell whoever made it had a deep respect for fantasy

one problem with modern stuff is the irony poisoning. it is almost like the creators are ashamed of fantasy, so they approach it with some detached distance. perhaps one of the consequences of going mainstream. it definitely loses something. as if the filmmaker is constantly pulling you aside and saying “I don’t really believe in this shit”
Recently rewatched it. Was better than I remember it, but Arnold's grunts are the polar opposite of the hard, mean fighter he's supposed to be, that it's hard not to laugh sometimes. 😅
 

TeezzyD

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I'm jazzed for that Amazon WoT series tbh. It's gonna be fun seeing that story not being bogged down by overwhelming descriptions of buildings.
 

BadBurger

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I wish more of these movies would end up on Netflix or Prime. I always hear about how many were awesome and I missed out on so many.

I finally got to see Krull ^^ and that was awesome. That was pure, unapologetic fantasy.
 
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#Phonepunk#

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Legend i really love. The plot isn’t that great but it’s almost more of a moving painting. Got the soundtrack it’s Tangerine Dream. We are talking peak fantasy culture
 
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Now it's all mainstream and even worse, woke. Gone is the dream-like quality and mystery.
Whether it's games or movies, maximum sales typically come from making something mainstream. So that means finding that fine balance between casuals and families playing it and enough sci-fi fantasy stuff to make core players buy it. So making the movie one part serious and one part comedic relief and jokes every 5 minutes.

Going for dark and gritty stuff now should be the easiest ever since special effects are good now vs. back then when shoestring budgets and shitty tech effects could lead to awfully bad CGI effects and plastic models.

BUT, that core audience of dark and mysterious gamers is niche. You'll get some games/movies striving for horror, Christian Bale Batman settings and things like that where it's pretty serious all movie, but it'll never have the lasting power as a Pixar movie or Avengers movie.
 
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I much preferred the Balrog vs Gandalf fight in the Bakshi LOTR cartoon than in the modern movie version. It was a lot closer to how it was in the novel.

That looks terrible. The balrog looks like a guy with a large lion mask and wing cape, flailing about because he can't see anything. And he's barely taller than Gandalf.
 
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That looks terrible. The balrog looks like a guy with a large lion mask and wing cape, flailing about because he can't see anything. And he's barely taller than Gandalf.
Never watched the whole thing, but the animation of the characters looks super smooth. Like it has double the frames of a typical cartoon. The live action super imposed stuff is a good try, but most of the time it looks cheesy in the clips I've seen. But got to give them a break on this one. The cartoon came out in 1978.

I never read any of the books or anything so my only knowledge of LoTR is watching the recent movies, but watching this old cartoon, is Aragorn Spanish? Guy looks Latino. LOL
 
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Never watched the whole thing, but the animation of the characters looks super smooth. Like it has double the frames of a typical cartoon. The live action super imposed stuff is a good try, but most of the time it looks cheesy in the clips I've seen. But got to give them a break on this one. The cartoon came out in 1978.

I never read any of the books or anything so my only knowledge of LoTR is watching the recent movies, but watching this old cartoon, is Aragorn Spanish? Guy looks Latino. LOL
I love rotoscope animation. A Scanner Darkly is probably the peak of the technique, or Loving Vincent a few years ago. Granted it was a bit more experimental at the time when Bakshi tried LOTR. I prefer Fire and Ice.
That Balrog is just unforgivable though. Literally a drunk guy probably shouting 'I AM THE BALROG. HEAR ME ROAR.... RAWR' during the 'filming' before falling on his arse.
 
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I love rotoscope animation. A Scanner Darkly is probably the peak of the technique, or Loving Vincent a few years ago. Granted it was a bit more experimental at the time when Bakshi tried LOTR. I prefer Fire and Ice.
That Balrog is just unforgivable though. Literally a drunk guy probably shouting 'I AM THE BALROG. HEAR ME ROAR.... RAWR' during the 'filming' before falling on his arse.
Ya. Weird how Balrog looks like he's only a foot taller than Gandalf. It couldn't have been hard to scale that rotoscoped Balrog bigger(?)
 
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NahaNago

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I really need to rewatch legend. That devil really freaked me out when I was younger so I never really got in to it.
 
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