Fantasy has enjoyed an upswing in the last two decades. Twenty years ago the term conjured for the public imagination images of Disney films, kitschy studio oddities like Willow
, and low rent embarrassments like the Dungeons and Dragons
movie. Today fantasy films are often pitched as major awards contenders. They litter the summer and fall release slots. “Nerd culture” has not just been accepted by pop culture. It has become pop culture.
Guillermo Del Toro, the writer and director of Crimson Peak
, is as responsible for the present climate as anyone. His early films Cronos
Few films about the recession were as unflinchingly grim as JC Chandor’s debut feature Margin Call
. Time and time again, well-meaning, sympathetic characters (and others less so) were given no choice but to act deplorably leading up to the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression. “It’s all just the same thing over and over; we can’t help ourselves. And you and I can’t control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react,” one Wall Street executive stated almost too succinctly. Despite a number of flaws common to first time writers and...