Balrog wings or not Cinefex writer Graham Edwards examines what magic in movies should look like, and lists some of his favourite depictions of magic in movies through the years.

His conclusion that magic in movies is most often associated with light is interesting since, in Tolkien, magic so often derives from sound, music and words (think of Frodo saying “Elbereth” on Amon Sul, or the Music of the Ainur that brings Arda into existence).

Portraying magic on the screen requires considerable ingenuity. As a filmmaker, how exactly do you visualise this eldritch and elusive force? Do you stir up a witch’s brew of pyrotechnics and black powder? Do you unleash your best fire and fluid sims?

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