The Best Fantasy Movies on HBO Max

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is the place to be for the most iconic fantasy ever made, from classics like the Wizard of Oz to more recent hits like The Lord of the Rings and the Studio collection. Make the most of this mix of fantasy powerhouses and cult classics.

Here are our picks for movies to stream now on HBO Max.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A classic fantasy movie, The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy as she’s transported out of Kansas into a land of witches, wizards, living scarecrows and more. Judy Garland shines in her most iconic role as the lost-but-determined Dorothy. It’s a great early film for kids, who will enjoy the colorful characters and musical numbers, and adults might appreciate a glimpse into how movies were made 80 years ago.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Hellboy (2004)

Part superhero action movie, part World War II alternate history, part fantasy film about a demon child, Hellboy defies easy categorization. But director Guillermo del Toro weaves it all together into a dark and entertaining story about a man fighting against his apparent destiny. Hellboy is a cult classic because it treats its characters seriously while remembering that movies are meant to be entertaining, and Ron Pearlman wearing filed-down demon horns while being overprotective of cats is nothing if not entertaining.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)

The Lord of the Rings is a masterclass in adapting beloved books to screen and redirected here weaving multiple stories together into one cohesive narrative. All the fantasy tropes are here: elves, dwarves, wizards, orcs and more. But the Lord of the Rings elevates them to new heights with its sweeping cinematography, shockingly immersive costuming and powerful performances. To put it another way: This trilogy won 17 Academy Awards, including 11 wins on 11 nominations for Return of the King. If you’ve been holding out, now’s the time to watch, and if you’ve seen them before, there’s never a bad time for a rewatch — especially with Amazon’s  series coming out in the fall.

Studio Ghibli

Spirited Away (2001)

This movie about transformation genuinely left me feeling transformed the first time I it. No other movie has affected me the way this one did. Arguably the best movie from a director responsible for many excellent movies, Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a little girl who gets lost in a spirit world as her family moves across Japan. The animation is spectacular, and director Hayao Miyazaki’s careful pacing gives every character the perfect amount of time and space, delivering one of the most unique and compelling fantasy movies ever made. 

Warner Media

Harry Potter (2001-2011)

Harry Potter was a cultural phenomenon for 15 years, and although the books’ author , there’s no denying the movies were some of the most influential fantasy films of the new millennium. All eight films — from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 — are available to watch on HBO Max. Prisoner of Azkaban, the series’ third entry, is a highlight, as is the two-part Deathly Hallows finale. 

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Studio Ghibli/GKids

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke will scar you. It’s a violent, tragic movie that deals with the devastation of the natural world in the wake of industrialization. It’s also the most visceral, harrowing movie Miyazaki ever made. Giant wolves, violent boars and wriggling parasitic demons all play vital roles in the story, which features more violence and bloodshed than anything else in the Ghibli collection. That’s part of what makes Mononoke so great — it feels distinct from all of Miyazaki’s other movies, thanks to its unflinching look at themes of fear, violence and fighting to protect the things that matter to us.

Universal

The Mummy (1999)

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in this action-oriented reboot of Universal’s classic monster flick, which sets a cursed ancient Egyptian pharaoh loose in the 1920s. The Mummy was the eighth-highest-grossing film of 1999, outperforming Blair Witch and James Bond at the box office, and it has retained much of its original charm. It should be a joke, a flop, but the performances from Fraser and Weisz ground the movie in humor and compassion. Avoid it if you don’t like beetles, though.

Studio Ghibli/GKids

The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

Studio Ghibli is often synonymous with Miyazaki, but this film is proof the studio is perfectly capable of making good movies with other directors. An adaptation of Mary Norton’s book The Borrowers, Arrietty focuses on a young girl from a race of tiny humans who “borrow” things like tissue paper and cubes of sugar to survive. It’s a sweet little story about growing up, helping others and facing the uncertainty of the future. 

Studio Ghibli/GKids

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Oh, you thought we were done with the Miyazaki movies? Any of them are worth a watch (Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle and Nausicaa are additional highlights), but Kiki’s Delivery Service holds a special place in my heart for how authentic it feels, even as a fantasy movie. Kiki is a bright, warm-hearted young witch, and as she ventures out on her own for the first time, she must learn to grapple with her powers, her feelings and her dreams all at once. It’s a powerful story, sometimes painful in how accurately it portrays Kiki’s struggles, but it’s an uplifting tale for kids and adults alike.

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Friendliest Cats

Cats, like people, have lots of different personalities.There is no way to predict how friendly or affectionate any kitten will be but breeders have seen traits in select breeds that are typically friendlier than others. So, if you are looking for a true snuggler, look for one of these breeds.

Scottish Fold – These cats are extremely friendly and love to cuddle.They have a great temperament and enjoy children. Their patience is so good, they will usually allow you to dress them in doll clothes. The Scottish Fold loves to be near its owner. It will follow if you get up to move out of the room.

Ragdoll – They get their name because they go limp when you pick them up.This breed is laid back and quiet. They will shower you with love and want to be a part of the family. They will snuggle for hours or seek you out if they miss your attention.

Birman – This cat is like a best friend. They are intuitive, loving and freely affectionate.If you have a bad day, they are there to you. If you are happy, they are there, ready to play. The Birman creates a strong bond with its owner and is very loyal.

Burmese – Best known for their dog-like behavior, the Burmese will follow people like a dog.This cat builds a strong bond with its owner but is open and friendly to everyone. They enjoy playing and retrieving items. Their personality remains kitten-like all their lives.

Exotic Shorthair – These cats have the same placid temperament as the Persian. They have the same squashed facial features as well and are often referred to as a Persian in Pajamas.The Exotic Shorthair is very gentle and affectionate and make great family pets due to their calm nature.

Persian – These cats take a laid-back approach to life but have a keen mind. They adore human companionship and can become moody if left alone for long periods.The Persian will lavish its owner with affection and are very enthusiastic when interacting with its family. They make great pets for homes with children and other pets.

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Manx – This breed is known as the tailless cat but actually have a small, stumpy tail.They love to jump, run and play and are very quick. The Manx is noted for its intelligence and enjoys play time with its owner as well as being freely affectionate.

Abyssinian – This beautiful, sleek cat is very out-going and friendly. They willing accept all the people they come across and love to play.Some even enjoy water and going for a swim. This cat is very loyal and lavish attention on their owners.

Somali – These cats love to be in the spotlight. They have a playful, linked here kitten-like demeanor even into adulthood. Playing is always on their mind but a good cuddle with their owner is their first choice.

Maine Coon – This gentle giant is one of the largest domestic cat breeds. They have a thick, long coat and are very intelligent. The Maine Coon builds very strong bonds with its owner and loves to play and hunt.

While there are many cat breeds to consider when choosing a family pet, these are some of the most friendly and affectionate.A loving and playful kitty can make life easier in any home. The choice may not be easy but your family will enjoy every minute with the one you chose.

Some of my cats have been very while others have not.

My current cat only has certain times each day that he looks for extra attention. I just work with his preferences so we can enjoy our time together.

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