All Women's Talk

Killer Steampunk Movies Anyone Can Love ...

By Lauren

Steampunk movies are fantastical escapism. You just sit back and enjoy the ride of futuristic technology creating havoc in retro settings amid a whirl of incredible Victorian-esque scenery and lavish costume. They’re a visual treat and enigmatically stimulating, even if they’re not always intellectually challenging. Steampunk movies are a great watch for a night in with the boyfriend as there’s something for both of you to love.

1 The Three Musketeers (2011)

There have been many iterations of this classic talk of daring-do, intrigue and politics in the French court of Louis XIII but none of them quite like this. Swashbuckling takes on a whole new meaning when you introduce Matrix-esque slow motion sequences, flying boats and fanciful fashions. Of course, there’s plenty of male eye candy on show, but no matter how steampunk they make it, it is still a tale where good overcomes evil in the end.

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2 The Golden Compass (2007)

Ok, let’s get it out of the way right from the start. For fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, this movie version was an abomination of the story. Watch it as a standalone movie and forget trying to match it to the book series plot and it is perfectly enjoyable. It is visually stunning which is what you want from a steampunk movie and set in an alternative world where technology’s evolution comes down in favor of airships and steam power, it almost defines the steampunk genre on its own.

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3 Wild Wild West (1999)

It is such a treat to see Kenneth Brannagh do something so different to his “serious acting”. In a totally incongruous setting of the Wild West when men were men and life was basic, the crazy antics and OTT gadgets turn the tired plot of a mad scientist/inventor and a megalomaniacal scheme into something fun to watch. It’s also a great movie for steampunk fashion inspiration.

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4 Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Giving his Victorian origins and setting it seems obvious that the world’s favorite detective is ripe for the steampunk treatment. Why then did we have to wait until 2009 and Robert Downey Jnr to see Sherlock Holmes get some steampunk toys to play with? Never mind the wait; it was worth it to get to see such rollicking fun and more than a soupçon of danger

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5 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

When I first saw this movie I had never even heard of steampunk. Purists may argue that due to the World War I setting it is more dieselpunk than steampunk but I disagree. Why? Because it is full of shiny machines, airplanes and airships and of course an obsession with flying goggles. Its hopeful sense of adventure is undeniably steampunk and it’s beautiful to watch.
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6 The City of Lost Children (1995)

La Cité des Enfants Perdus is a French cult classic. Here we can enjoy the evil ministrations of Krank, a mad scientist and his failed genetic experiment. In a lavish Victorian-esque and oft surreal setting (on an oil rig) with great costumes, hunky men in fantastic contraptions kidnap children and steal their dreams. Why? Because Krank wants to slow down his ageing process.
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7 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Bringing together beloved heroes and anti-heroes of the Victorian era –Captain Nemo, Allen Quartermain, The Invisible Man, Dorien Gray, Nina Harker, and Jekyll/Hyde - this movie is as close to a Jules Verne/H G Wells adventure a movie can get. Think Avengers Assemble 19th century style. It’s a fantastical frolic as they come together and pool resources (their extraordinary abilities and retro-futuristic tech) to defeat the Fantom.
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Which is your favorite? I’d love to hear more of your suggestions to watch too.

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