X-mas’ movies.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

with the kids jingle belling

And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer””

it’s the most wonderful time of the year

it’s the hap-happiest season of all.

I really love Christmas, for me this holidays has always been a happy time.  A time where I always has been surrounded for people I love and people who love me.  One of the things always present in our Christmas celebration are movies, we have the habit of watch Christmas movies all day long as we eat left over. So in order to honor this holiday I decide to create a list with  my favorites.

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Vampire Films

Today is my favorite Halloween,  I really love Halloween. This is a great day of the year when you can be whoever you want without been look funny or criticize and the best part of it is you can get lots and lots of free chocolate from strangers.

Well my favorite creature of Halloween are the vampires. I really love vampires, even to the point that I write my dissertation  about the evolution of the myth from the mythological to the phenomenon in the pop culture . So to celebrate two of my favorite things.

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9. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPILBERG

WRITTEN BY MELISSA MATHINSON

STARRING : DREW BARRYMORE, HENRY THOMAS, DEE WALLACE, ROBERT MACNAUGHTON, & PETER COYOTE

RELEASE DATE: JUNE 11, 1982

AGE RECCOMENDED: 7 & UP

This is one of the movies everybody should watch, not only for movie knowledge but  general culture. This movie is truly the brainchild of Steven Spielberg, who based  the character in an imaginary friend he created after the divorce of his parents; he told the story to Melissa Mathison and together develop the film.

The film was filmed in chronological order to create the emotional impact int he young actors. The movie is so successful because  not only because is a superb production but also because the film appeals to everyday emotions: loneliness, friendship, and love.

This movie will be love for any children, but beware some of the persecution scene can be can scary for younger kids.

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10. Harry Potter (series)

DIRECTOR: CHRIS COLUMBUS (HP & PHILOSOPHER STONE, HP & CHAMBER OF SECRETS), ALFONSO CUARON (HP & PRISONER OF AZKABAN), MIKE NEWELL (HP & GOBLET OF FIRE) & DAVID YATES (HP & ORDER OF PHONIEX, HP & HALF BLOOD PRICE, HP & DEATHLY HOLLOWS 1-2)

WRITTEN BY STEVE KLOVES 

STARRING BY: DANIEL RADCLIFF, RUPERT GRIN, EMMA WATSON, RALPH FIENNES, GARY OLDMAN, MAGGIE SMITH, ALAN RICKMAN & AND EVERY SINGLE ENGLISH ACTOR THAT MATTERS

RELEASE DATES: 11/4/2001, 11/3/2002, 05/31/2004, 11/18/2005, 07/11/2007, 07/15/2009, 11/18/2010 AND TO BE RELEASE 

AGE RECOMMENDED: 9 AND UP

Harry Potter is one of the best series for kids, in movies and books. I thing is kind of redundant to say that the films are based in J.K. Rowlin’s book.  The series is the 30 highest grossing films world wide. The series I’m pretty sure will get into history as one of the most memorable and relevant stories for kids. Harry Potter is the book that made kids read all over the world and the cultural impact of the series is huge, in some aspect I compared with the impact of Star Wars.  

The movie is the magical fantasy genre, with a story about coming to age, death, redemption, tolerance and above all the power of Love. I believe that everybody should see Harry Potter movies and read the book no matter age.

All the movies are visually beautiful but I believe the third one, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is the visually the best. In story I think the best is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 1 because resemble more the book; while Harry Potter and the Goblet of fire is the one I like the least because is the darkest and is the one farest from the book.

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38. The Last Unicorn

DIRECTED BY JULES BASS & ARTHUR RANKIN JR.

WRITTEN BY PETER S. BEAGLE

STARRING: MIA FARROW, ANGELA LANSBURY, JEFF BRIDGES, ALAN LARKIN, CHRISTOPHER LEE

RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 19, 1982

AGE RECOMMENDED: 8 AND UP

This is one the greatest animated fantasy films. Children will be intrigued by it; adults won’t be bored. And no one of any age will be immune to the film’s final moments, which really are unexpectedly touching and memorable. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. The movie takes the shape of a whimsical adventure preoccupied with the differences between myth and reality. This movie had been call an animated competition to The Lord of the Rings.

The Last Unicorn is a very melancholic movie even sadder in which all the characters have to learn to deal with regret. But at the end this is a magic movie that really make you wish that the unicorns exist.

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43. Jason and the Argonauts

DIRECTED BY DON CHAFFEY

WRITTEN BY BEVERLY CROSS

STARRING BY TODD ARMSTRONG, NANCY KOVACK, HONOR BLACKMAN, GARY RAYMOND

RELEASE DATE: JUNE 19, 1963

AGE RECOMMENDED: 6 AND UP

Is not as the original myth but is  a great film to watch and escape reality. This is one of those movies that you know is not real but you just enjoy it. The movie mix scenes of live action vs. stop motion animation. I remember watch this movie a Sunday morning on TV and I can only describe as an easygoing satire of mythical determinism. The movies is loosely based on the epic poem The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius.

I like this movie and I think is good for kids for one simple reason: Greek movies are really entertaining  for kids they can relate they found heroes and are the original fairy tales and in this movie is an accurate potrayal of Greek mythology (rarely found in modern medium) where Jason is a mere piece in the game which the gods play against each other.  The movie today make look kind of funny but at this time had the most amazing special Fx. This is a most see movie for kids, and is not only me but also BAFTA believes it is number 20 in his list of most seen films before turn 14.

PLOT

Pelias usurps the throne of Thessaly by killing King Aristo. However, there is a prophecy that he will be overthrown by a child of Aristo wearing one sandal. When he kills one of Aristo’s daughters after she had sought and been granted the protection of Hera, Pelias makes an enemy of the goddess.

Twenty years later, Jason, Aristo’s son grown to manhood, saves the life of Pelias during a chance encounter, but loses a sandal doing so. He does not know that he has rescued his father’s murderer, but Pelias recognizes his nemesis. Pelias keeps his identity secret. However, he cannot just kill Jason; the prophecy also says that he himself would die.

When he learns that Jason is undertaking a dangerous quest to obtain the fabled Golden Fleece to rally the people of Thessaly, Pelias encourages him, hoping that he will be killed in the attempt. Men from all over Greece compete for the honor of joining Jason. Since their ship is named the Argo after the ship’s builder Argos, they are dubbed the Argonauts. Among those chosen are Hercules and Acastus, the son of Pelias, who is sent by his father to sabotage the voyage.

Jason is taken to Mount Olympus by Hermes to speak to the gods Zeus and Hera. Heratells him that she wishes him well, but that Zeus has imposed restrictions on her assistance . Jason is told that he can only invoke Hera’s aid five times (the same number of times his sister called on the goddess by name for help before she was slain). In response to Jason’s unasked questions, Hera tells him to search for the Fleece in the land of Colchis, on the other side of the world.

Many dangers threaten the expedition. When the Argonauts run perilously low on supplies, Jason turns to Hera. She guides him to the Isle of Bronze, but warns him to take nothing but provisions. However, while chasing some goats, Hercules and his young friend Hylas  find a partially-open treasure chamber of the gods, surmounted by an enormous bronze statue of Talos. Despite Hylas’ warning, Hercules steals an enormous brooch pin the size of a javelin. The statue comes to life and attacks, causing much mayhem before Jason can destroy it using Hera’s advice. Hylas goes missing and is presumed dead, but the guilt-ridden Hercules refuses to leave until he knows for certain. The other Argonauts will not abandon Hercules, so Jason is forced to call on Hera for the last time. She confirms that Hylas is indeed dead and that Hercules is destined not to continue with them.

Hera also directs them to seek out Phineas, the blind seer, for the way to Colchis. They find him tormented by two blue-skinned, bat-like Harpies sent by Zeus to punish him for misusing his gift of prophecy. In return for imprisoning the flying creatures, Phineas tells Jason what he needs to know and gives Jason his only possession, an amulet. To reach Colchis however, they must pass between the Clashing Rocks, a strait flanked by towering rock cliffs that shake and drop boulders to sink any ships attempting to pass between them. Fortunately for the Argonauts, they learn this second hand. Another ship tries to run the strait from the other direction and founders. In despair, Jason throws Phineas’ gift into the water; the god Triton emerges and holds back the rocks long enough to let the Argo pass through. On the other side, they pick up three survivors of the other ship, including Medea, the high priestess of the goddess Hecate.

They sight Colchis the next day. Acastus and Jason disagree on how to approach the King of Colchis. The argument escalates into a swordfight. Eventually Acastus is disarmed and jumps into the sea to escape. Believing him dead, Jason and his men accept an invitation from King Aeëtes to a feast, but once they are off guard, they are captured and imprisoned. Acastus has betrayed them, telling Aeëtes about their mission. However, Medea helps Jason and his men escape.

Acastus tries to steal the Fleece himself, but is fatally wounded by its guardian, the many-headed Hydra. Jason succeeds in killing the monster and taking the Fleece. But Aeëtes is not far behind. He strews the teeth of the Hydra on the ground and prays to Hecate. The planted teeth sprout out of the ground as armed skeletons who pursue and battle Jason and two of his men. Seeing that his companions have been slain, Jason escapes by jumping off a cliff into the sea.

The quest fulfilled, he, Medea and the surviving Argonauts start the return voyage to Thessaly.

If I had to punish every blasphemy, I would have no followers!


46. The Never Ending Story

DIRECTED BY WOLFGANG PETERSEN

WRITTEN BY WOLFGANG PETERSEN & HERMAN WEIGEL

STARRING: NOAH HATHAWAY, BARRET OLIVER, TAMI STRONACH

RELEASE DATE: APRIL 6 1984

AGE RECOMMENDED: 7 AND UP

Another popular example of the 80’s film fantasies. The never ending story is based in the book with the same tittle by Michael Ende, the movie only cover one or two chapters of the book, but it is was so good that it doesn’t matter. And definitely is better that the lousy sequels of the movie.

What is cool in this movie is the Mise en abyme (story within a story) idea that really drag you to a world of Fantasia and it lets kids know that the story isn’t just somehow happening, that storytelling is a neverending act of the imagination. The movie, for the first time in the 80’s, created an original visual FX without copy anything from Star Wars. The idea of the book and the movie is promote the use of imagination ignited by books.

I have seen with kids and the really like it specially Atreyu; the intended hero of the movie, who has to surrender his mission to the reader of the book.

PLOT

Bastian Bux is accosted by bullies on his way to school. He hides in a bookstore, own by Mr. Koreander. Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Koreander warns him it is “not safe.” Nevertheless, Bastian steals the book and races towards school. He then hides in the school’s attic to begin reading “The Neverending Story.”

The book describes the fantasy world of Fantasia which is being threatened by a force called “The Nothing,” a void of darkness that consumes everything. The creatures of Fantasia have gathered to plead for help from the Empress of Fantasia, but her attendant reveals to the assembled crowd that she has fallen deathly ill due to the Nothing. She has summoned a warrior from the Plains People, Atreyu, to help put an end to the Nothing. Atreyu is revealed to be a boy about Bastian’s age. He is given a magical medallion called the Auryn to use as a guide. As Atreyu sets off on his quest, the Nothing summons Gmork , a wolf-like creature, to kill Atreyu.

Atreyu heads to the deadly Swamps of Sadness to see the ancient Morla, the wisest being in all of Fantasia. His horse, Artax, is overcome by the sadness of the swamps and sinks into the mud, forcing Atreyu to continue on foot. Morla cannot help Atreyu, but directs him to the Southern Oracle, which is 10,000 miles away. In the real world, the school bell rings and the school quickly empties, but Bastian remains in the attic and continues to read.

While trudging through the swamp with Gmork on his tail, a despairing Atreyu finally falls under the swamp’s spell and begins to sink, when a luck dragon named Falkor  saves him and takes him most of the way to the Southern Oracle. Two old gnomes named Engywook  and Urgl tend to Atreyu’s injuries and give him advice to pass the gates that guard the Oracle. Atreyu is able to pass the first gate of the Sphinxes’ gaze and reaches the Magic Mirror Gate. As he approaches it, the image of the Gate is shown to reveal a child that matches Bastian’s description. Bastian throws the book away in disbelief, but cautiously begins reading it again, wondering if the people of Fantasia really know him.

Atreyu passes through the Gate and meets the Oracle. The Oracle tells him that the only way to stop the Nothing is for the Empress to be given a new name by a human child. Atreyu is nearly consumed by the Nothing, and loses the Auryn. He encounters Gmork, who explains that Fantasia is humanity’s hopes and dreams, but that the Nothing, representing apathy and despair, eats away at it. The monster attacks, but Atreyu manages to kill it. Weak from his wounds and with the Nothing beginning to consume the area, Atreyu nearly gives up hope. Falkor arrives, having found the Auryn, and rescues Atreyu.

Atreyu wakes on Falkor’s back to find only pockets of Fantasia remain floating in a void. With the Auryn’s guidance, they manage to find the Empress’ home, the Ivory Tower, which still stands. They fly towards it, and Atreyu sadly reports his loss to the Empress, having failed to find a human child. But the Empress reveals that he in fact succeeded: the quest Atreyu went on was the only way to get in touch with a human child, and he is listening to their conversation at that very moment. Bastian realizes the book is talking specifically about him, and that he has a name for the Empress. As the Nothing begins to consume the Ivory Tower, the Empress pleads for Bastian to say her new name. Bastian races to the attic window, shouts her new name.

Bastian finds himself face to face with the Empress, who reveals that the Nothing has consumed all but one grain of sand from Fantasia. However, Bastian’s wishes and imagination can help to restore the world to its former glory. The more wishes he makes, the more it will be restored. Bastian makes his first wish, and is instantly riding Falkor through the skies. All the characters who died or were taken by the Nothing have returned, including Atreyu riding happily on Artax. Bastian then whispers one more wish to Falkor. In the real world, the bullies that chased Bastian the previous day suddenly find themselves chased by Bastian and Falkor. Bastian and Falkor soar triumphantly off into the sky, and a narrator reveals that Bastian made many more wishes and had many amazing adventures.

Never give up and good luck will find you

51. The Dark Crystal

DIRECTED BY JIM HENSON & FRANK OZ

WRITTEN BY JIM HENSON & DAVID ODELL

STARRING: STEPHEN GARLICK, LISA MAXWELL, BILLIE WHITELAW, PERCY EDWARDS

RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 17, 1982

AGE RECOMMENDED: 7 AND UP

Another Jim Henson masterpiece. Jim Henson was one of those one in a million directors but he most special talent was as a puppeteer; and for more than 30 years everybody has grow up with his creations:   Sesame street, The muppets, Yoda, etc. In 1982 when the movie was made was ground breaking and create the basis for animatronics uses in modern movies.

This movie is one of that movies perfect for kids because transport them in a world of fantasy and magic. In some parts can be a little bit scary but like Star Wars the children gonna ask for it over and over again.

PLOT

Jen believes he is the last of the Gelflings. After his parents were killed by the Garthim (soldiers conjured by the Skeksis), he was raised in a lush valley in which the Mystics reside.

When Jen’s master is on his deathbed, he calls Jen to his side and reveals that Jen’s destiny is to “heal” the Dark Crystal by finding the shard, which may be found at Aughra’s observatory. As Jen’s master dies, the Skeksis emperor dies as well, resulting in a confrontation between the Chamberlain and the General, who both desire to succeed him. The matter is settled with a trial in which the General is victorious. He immediately becomes emperor and the Chamberlain is stripped of his clothes and exiled from the palace in rags. Moments later, the Crystal summons the Skeksis and informs them of Jen’s existence – one of their many Crystal Bat spies has spotted him, relaying his image to a facet of the Crystal.

Jen reaches Aughra, a scholar of an unknown race, who takes him to her observatory. There he discovers the crystal shard, which is hidden among others like it, he found it when he play his flute and the crystal resonate. In the process, Jen learns of the upcoming Great Conjunction by means of Aughra’s assisted predictions, but learns little of its connection to the shard before the Garthim arrive and destroy Aughra’s observatory. Aughra is captured, but Jen escapes into the jungle.

Jen spends the night in a swamp, while Aughra is taken to the castle of the crystal, where she indignantly rebukes and mocks the Skeksis, scoffing at their blustery claims of power and promising Jen’s arrival to destroy them. Meanwhile, the Mystics hear the calls of the Crystal and leave their valley to travel to the Castle.

The next day, Jen awakens in marshes, where he is frightened by a dog-like pet known as Fizzgig and meets another Gelfling, Kira. They stay for a night amongst the Podlings who raised Kira after the death of her parents. Their rest is short-lived, as a Garthim raiding party attacks the village. Kira, Jen, and Fizzgig escape the attack when the Chamberlain appears and mysteriously calls off the Garthim, but many Podlings are captured and taken as slaves. Blaming himself for the Garthim raid, Jen throws away the crystal shard, whereupon Kira reassures him that he is not to blame.

In the morning, they discover a ruined Gelfling City. The discarded shard lies outside, almost as if it were pointing the way in. Kira takes the shard, and as they explore the city, they find a draw where Jen reads the prophecy of the Crystal. They learn that it is part of the Dark Crystal and must be reinserted to restore integrity. The Chamberlain suddenly appears, and attempts to convince them that he wishes to help, but they refuse and escape. Riding on furry, long-legged Landstriders, the Gelflings arrive at the Castle of the Crystal, where they see the Garthim that attacked Kira’s village.Kira and Jen ride in to free the captured Podlings while the Landstriders fight the Garthim to distract them from the rescue effort.

The Gelflings fail to rescue the Podlings and find the Garthim, who have slain the Landstriders, closing in on them at the edge of the deep moat that encircles the castle. Sweeping Jen and Fizzgig into her arms, Kira jumps off the cliff and floats gently to the bottom, revealing that female Gelflings have wings. At the bottom of the gully, Jen and Kira enter the castle via an undefended sewer entrance to the lower parts of the castle. The Chamberlain meets them again and attempts to convince them to offer peace to the Skeksis. As Jen and Kira attempt to escape, the Chamberlain seizes Kira. Fearing for Kira’s safety, Jen strikes the Chamberlain, using the crystal shard as a dagger and wounding the Chamberlain’s hand. Concurrently, a Mystic suffers a spontaneous wound on his hand in the corresponding location. Enraged, the Chamberlain pulls a support beam from the ceiling, causing a cave-in on Jen. The Chamberlain then takes Kira prisoner, believing Jen to be dead.

For capturing Kira, the General restores the Chamberlain to his office. On the suggestion of a Skeksis scientist, the General decides to regain his youth by draining Kira’s life essence, recalling that its potency allows a Skeksis emperor to maintain his youth for longer periods than did that of the Podlings on whom emperors have been forced to rely since the Gelfling genocide. Kira maintains a telepathic connection with Jen, who is still conscious. Only a few drops of the “everlasting essence” are drawn from Kira before she, urged by the telepathic voice of Jen and by the captured Aughra, calls out to the animals imprisoned in the laboratory. They break free and attack the Skeksis scientist, who falls into the pit of lava beneath the Crystal. At the same moment, far across the land, a Mystic bursts into flames and vanishes. Kira escapes as her bond with Jen gives him the strength to escape the cave-in, but he is separated from Fizzgig during a confrontation with the Garthim. Aughra escapes her prison while the Mystics enter the castle.

The three suns begin to align as the two Gelflings meet back up at the Crystal chamber. The Skeksis arrive to prepare for the immortality that they will gain from the Conjunction if the Crystal is not restored. Jen leaps onto the Crystal, but the shard falls from his hands; Kira grabs it, but is surrounded by the Skeksis. She throws the shard to Jen, whereupon the Ritual Master kills her. When the Conjunction begins, Jen places the shard in its appropriate place, unifying the crystal as the Mystics arrive. When the Garthim shatter and the Skeksis’ influence on the castle crumbles, the Mystics and Skeksis reunite into their original incarnation as the urSkeks, a mystical amalgam of both races. The leader speaks to Jen of their history, and restores Kira to life. Then he and his brethren depart the current plane of exisrence, leaving the Crystal and an injunction to “make your world in its light” to the Gelflings. Outside, the devastated world has been restored to its former beauty and harmony.

When single shines the triple sun,
What was sundered and undone
Shall be whole, the two made one,
By Gelfling hand, or else by none.

55. Labyrinth

DIRECTED BY JIM HENSON

WRITTEN BY: DENNIS LEE, JIM HENSON, TERRY JONES & ELAINE MAY

STARRING: DAVID BOWIE, JENIFER CONNELLY & TOBY FROUD

RELEASE DATE: JUNE 27, 1986

AGE RECOMMENDED: 5 AND UP

This movie is definitely one of my favorites, well the movie as I already said is directed by Jim Henson and produced by George Lucas. The movie have an amazing puppetry work (for those who live in Atlanta they should go to Puppetry Center to see the Jim Henson display it has several of the Labyrinth puppets), memorable characters and of course great music … David Bowie.

The movie turns around the wish every single kid have wish for, if they have a younger brother or sister, what if the king of the goblins take my brother away. Labyrinth is an enchanting story that mix fantasy and reality. This story will keep every kid fascinating  by the destiny of Sara and his Little Brother. Visually the movie is a marvel as I said of puppetry and set inspire by M.C. Esher.

This movie will be loved by every kid, even when was a flunk in the box office. Now 24 for years later I’m pretty sure it will rank high in everybodies list.

PLOT

Sarah Williams is rehearsing lines from a book called Labyrinth in a park. While trying to remember her final line in the book, a bell rings and she realizes that she has lost track of time. She runs home to find her stepmother waiting for her. They fight, and her stepmother leaves with Sarah’s father. Sarah is left home to babysit her baby brother, Toby. Sarah realizes that her treasured teddy bear, Lancelot, is missing from her room. Storming into Toby’s room, she finds Lancelot and yells at Toby, who then begins to cry. Sarah begins rehearsing more lines from Labyrinth, telling the story of a maiden granted special powers by the King of Goblins. According to the story, the girl could no longer stand the baby’s cries and wishes for goblins to take away her screaming baby brother. As she ends the story and turns off the light, she remarks, “I wish the goblins would come and take you away. Right now.” Toby suddenly stops crying. Worried, Sarah enters his room to find that he has vanished.

An owl flies through the open bedroom window and transforms into Jareth, King of Goblins. He tells her that he has taken the baby as she wished. Realizing what she has done, Sarah begs for the return of her brother. Jareth tells her that if she can solve his great maze, known as the Labyrinth, within thirteen hours, she can have Toby back. If she cannot, he will turn Toby into a goblin and keep him forever.

The Labyrinth is not a simple maze; the pathways and openings in the walls of the maze change at intervals and are riddled with logic puzzles and tests. At its entrance, Sarah finds Hoggle, a curmudgeonly dwarf, killing fairies with a spray; she bribes him with her jewelry  to lead her through the maze. Although he helps Sarah, it is later revealed that he is deployed by Jareth. Sarah acquires other companions along the way: Sir Didymus, a chivalrous, fox-like knight, and Ludo, a gentle beast she rescues from some of Jareth’s goblins.

Sarah and her friends experience a variety of adventures, including a stop at the Four Guards, where she must solve logic puzzle to avoid certain death; an encounter with detachable-limbed revelers known as “The Fire Gang”, who try to remove Sarah’s head; a detour through the Bog of Eternal Stench; a junkyard-like recreation of her own bedroom; and a hallucinogen-induced masquerade ball. There, Jareth attempts to keep her until the thirteenth hour by dancing with her. She wakes from this illusion and continues into his castle beyond the goblin city with barely enough time to spare.

The film climaxes in Jareth’s multi-dimensional wherein he makes a final appeal for her to abandon her quest and stay with him. She defeats him by reciting her monologue from the beginning of the movie, including the final line that Sarah had been having difficulty remembering: “You have no power over me!” The room crumbles away, and Sarah finds herself in the front hall of her home as the clock strikes midnight and the owl Jareth flies away.

Sarah gives Toby her beloved Lancelot, then returns to her room. As Sarah clears her dressing table,  Hoggle appears, with Ludo and Sir Didymus, as images in the mirror. They seem to be bidding her goodbye, Sarah insists she needs them, and will need them every now and then throughout her life, and they appear in her bedroom. Sarah and the creatures celebrate in her room. Outside, the owl watches the party and then flies away.

Give me the child. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great…