Adventure movies are characterized by the exploration of either new locations or new situations. This is why even the surreal film version of the popular sci-fi novel Dune can be categorized as an adventure film. At the same time, classic comedies like Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure can be put in the same category as well. And while the ‘80s has released its fair share of adventure movies, the ‘90s is when the genre was fully and truly realized. In fact, here are some of the best adventure movies from arguably the genre’s greatest era.
James and the Giant Peach – 1996
Accompanied by lovable, anthropomorphic insects, a young orphan journeys across the world in the interior of an unusually large peach. Easily one of the most beloved animated musical films of all time, James and the Giant Peach is a combination of live action and stop-motion animation. Produced by Tim Burton and directed by stop-motion artist Henry Selick who also worked on Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach is an exercise in what happens when a boy’s ambitious imagination comes to life. Also, the story is actually based on a book of the same title by renowned author, Roald Dahl.
Jumanji – 1995
Two very curious youngsters exploring an old mansion find an unusual jungle-themed board game called Jumanji. Little did they know that playing the game would unleash its dangerous jungle creatures and elements in the real world, setting the course for one of the greatest and most influential adventures of all time. In fact, apart from having its own modern film remake, a feature by Gala Spins details how Jumanji has also inspired its own digital online slot. Using the movie’s iconic board game, the Jumanji slot features the same storms, stampedes, and monkey mayhem that made the original movie so memorable. This isn’t surprising, considering how digital slots are often based on some of the most iconic films of all time. And unlike most films that have inspired games, Jumanji’s adventurous elements are ripe for interactive adaptation.
The 13th Warrior – 1999
Cursed to live out his life exiled in dangerous western lands, a Muslim ambassador from the east suddenly finds himself in the company of Norsemen. And because of an inescapable prophecy, this highly cultured and well-educated man learns to adapt to – and appreciate – the ways of his foreign companions. Based on Michael Crichton’s novel, Eaters of the Dead, The 13th Warrior is not for the faint of heart. The film’s take on ancient cultures and spirituality, scenes of graceful violence, and compelling story make it one of the most underrated adventure films of all time.
Galaxy Quest – 1999
Science fiction and comedy are old friends, and Galaxy Quest is a stellar example of this friendship. In this adventure, veteran comedic and dramatic actors from Hollywood play washed-up versions of themselves as former sci-fi TV actors reliving their old days of glory. But when an alien civilization picks up their show and mistakes it for a documentary of their heroic deeds, the washed-up actors are forced to take on their fictional roles in real life. Galaxy Quest is a rare spoof that is arguably as compelling as the material that it’s making fun of. And the movie does this all without losing its sense of irony. This is why Galaxy Quest is still a beloved film until today. In fact, thanks to the film’s strong influence in the sci-fi, comedy, and adventure genres, Entertainment Weekly reveals that a sequel might soon be on the way.
Princess Mononoke – 1991
We can’t very well end this list without at least one entry from Hayao Miyazaki’s acclaimed Studio Ghibli. In the ‘90s and early 2000s, Princess Mononoke was one of the first films that made film critics and fans take animation seriously. Set in the dawn of the Iron Age, this animated film explores humanity’s increasingly tumultuous relationship with nature. But rather than being a straightforward ‘good versus evil’ tale, Princess Mononoke’s take on the conflicts between forest spirits and human industry is far from what you might expect. If you want to see a compelling adventure that is as visually stunning as it is touching, this is the movie that your weekend needs.