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Thread: The NeverEnding Story Review (Spoilers)

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Default The NeverEnding Story Review (Spoilers)


    The NeverEnding Story is an epic fantasy film made in West Germany based off the novel of the same name written by Michael Ende. It stars Bastian Balthazar Bux (Barret Oliver), a lover of books who is recently dealing with the lost of his mother, and Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), a warrior from the Grassy Plains, that is sent on a quest to find a cure for The Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach), and to save Fantasia from “The Nothing.” A mysterious force destroying the world, but no pressure!

    Like a lot of people, I grew up on these movies. I can't tell you how many times I've watched all three. I'm ashamed to tell you that it took me a while to truly appreciate the magic of the first one. When I was a kid I found it too dark and long for my taste, and preferred the other two movies. Now that I'm grown up I've come to my senses.

    Before we begin, it is worth noting that Michael Ende wasn't happy with the changes made to his book. In fact, he considered the changes so drastic that he wanted them to either halt production, or change the name of the movie. Even going as far to sue them when they didn't, but he lost and we got this fantastic movie, instead. I feel bad for the guy, but, at least the first movie was good. So, without further ado, let's dive right into The NeverEnding Story.



    We don't need no education!

    Bastian is one of us, a nerd. He reads books, gets picked on by bullies, his father doesn't understand him, and he knew about The Lord of the Rings before it was popular. We don't know much about him beyond that except he keeps having dreams about his mother who recently passed away. Why is it always moms? In this the mom dies, in Charmed the mom dies, in The Little Mermaid the mom dies, and even when the mother starts out alive she can be killed off later. What do writers have against mothers?!

    After running away from some pretty dedicated bullies, Bastian comes to a book store and finds the NeverEnding Story. When he inquires about the book, the store owner, Mr. Coreander, tries to dissuade him from it, but the fastest way to get a kid to do something is by telling them not to do it, and Bastian takes off with the book.

    Once Bastian decides that math quizzes are for wimps, he sneaks inside the school's attic to read his new book. Bringing us to our second protagonist.



    Introducing every little girl's first crush.

    Atreyu arrives at the Ivory Tower and gets the reaction you'd kind of expect. Everyone was waiting for a great warrior to arrive and instead they get a little kid. I'd feel ripped off, too, but they ultimately realize that he's their best chance. Atreyu is given AURYN, an Ouroboros tailsman empowered by the Childlike Empress, though it's never explained in the movie, and sets off on his quest with... no weapons. Really? You're going to go on about how dangerous it is and give him no way to defend himself? Even Link got a sword!

    The character is meant to mirror Bastian while being the complete opposite of him. He's brave, confident, and a strong warrior who can hold his own. Just the kind of character who someone like Bastian would enjoy pretending to be for however long the story goes, and like Bastian he's pretty relatable. You root for him, feel sad for him, and just want to hug him. He meets new companions and have plenty of good interactions with other characters throughout the film. All beginning with a horse...

    Warning: The following images may cause watery substance to fall out of your eyes and stuff up your nose. A box of Kleenex is advised.



    My heart has been torn in two.

    Atreyu and Artax enters the Swamp of Sadness, and because the swamp sinks whoever is overwhelmed by the emotion, Artax goes down, and we get the most gut-wrenching scene in the entire film. We don't see that many scenes of Atreyu and Artax bonding, but what we do get is enough.

    This scene is so well done that you really feel like you're watching someone lose a best friend and even today at the age of twenty-five this scene is still capable of choking me up. There are movies which can't even make you care about the relationships between two human characters, and this one made children all across the world cry over a kid and his horse.

    Although, I gotta ask, if the swamp is designed to sink anyone overcome with sadness, shouldn't it be sinking Atreyu right now? I don't think the kid can get any sadder. I'm just going to assume he avoided the sinking parts.



    I will never get tired of that sight.

    Fantasia is beautiful. Every shot of the scenery makes you believe you've been sucked into a fantasy world where anything's possible. Even the things they mentioned in passing sounds just as wonderful as the things you see on film.

    This has the fortune of being made at a time long before CGI made everything. Back when we used things like puppetry and animatronics to create what we otherwise couldn't make possible. As a result of that everything looks a lot more real, with the exception of a few shots where it does look fake, but they got more right than wrong with the movie.

    Can you imagine if they made this movie today? Falkor would be CGI, Rockbiter would be CGI, Gmork would be CGI. Everything that was great about the original would be CGI. I don't hate CGI, I think some movies have done amazing things with it, it's just gotten to a point where we use it in EVERYTHING and it loses all the impact it used to have when it was still new. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

    As for the effects, they're really quite good. Every time “The Nothing” appears and starts destroying stuff in Fantasia you know trout's about to go down. You feel it every second it's on screen. The only negative points are a couple of obvious green screen effects, but if your eyes aren't trained to notice it you'll likely miss it.



    “The emptiness that's left. It is like a despair. Destroying this world.” – Gmork

    “The Nothing” serves as the primary antagonist of the movie and acts as a metaphor of what happens when people lose hope and forget their dreams. In other words “The Nothing” is human apathy and cynicism. It what happens to most children when they grow up and realize just how crappy the world really is. Almost like a rite of passage when you get down to it.

    As we get older, we do become more cynical. Things that used to wow us when we were younger just don't do it anymore. We become apathetic to things that we used to be passionate about and stop caring altogether. “The Nothing” is a warning as much as it is a consequence of said apathy. Gmork says it best.


    Gmork: People who have no hopes, are easy to control. And whoever has the control, has the power!

    The old saying goes, “Evil prevails when the good do nothing. Well, if you become apathetic to things and stop caring it's a given you're not going to be doing anything, so evil wins!

    When I was a kid I hated this scene, I dreaded it more than the swamp scene. It was one of the big reasons I didn't like going through this movie, and looking back I can see why now. I didn't hate this scene because it was dark, or scary, I hated this scene because deep down I knew it was telling me something I didn't want to hear, I just didn't know what it was until I was much older.

    And because of it, I adore this scene now. I think it's one of the best scenes in the movie, and it doesn't feel like it's talking down to kids. If anything it's treating them as much of an adult as the adults who are sitting down watching the movie with them. True, it might fly over your head the first time you see it as a kid, but that's just what make this movie age so well. You can come back as an adult later and get a whole different experience from it. If you like this little piece of mind smurfery than get ready for the biggest one of all, because we are heading back to the Ivory Tower.



    Introducing every little boy's first crush.

    In hindsight, it's kind of funny thinking that Tami Stronach's performance is the best. All she really does is sit there and give exposition. Granted, that's more or less what she did in the second movie, but she got to stretch her legs a little. Three gives her the most interactions out of all of them, but she never really needed all of that.

    She has more atmosphere surrounding her character in this one scene than both sequels combined. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say I'll watch the entire movie from beginning to end just to see her. I know I could just skip to her part, but it wouldn't have the same impact as it does when you watch the whole thing.

    Long story short, Atreyu informs the Empress that he failed her only to find out he hasn't, and that the Earthling Child was with him all along. Upon learning that the Empress knew all of this from the start Atreyu is less than thrilled about it.


    Atreyu: My horse died, I nearly drowned, and for what? To find out what you already knew?
    The Childlike Empress: It was the only way to get in touch with an earthling.


    Yes, we feed on the misery of others.

    Atreyu: Where is he!? If he's so close why doesn't he arrive?
    The Childlike Empress: He doesn't realize he's already a part of the Neverending Story.
    Atreyu: The Neverending Story? What's that?
    The Childlike Empress: Just as he is sharing all of your adventures, others are sharing his.


    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

    The Childlike Empress: They were with him when he tore up his room in search for his favorite movie.

    What?

    The Childlike Empress: They were with him when he took the case with our faces on the cover, in which he's reviewing his own story right now.

    Boy, I have watched this movie way too many times. I thought they were talking about me for a second. Okay, moving on. Atreyu disappears and we get the infamous face to face meeting of The Childlike Empress and –

    The Childlike Empress: ToriJ!

    Oh, crap.

    The Childlike Empress: Why don't you do what you dream, ToriJ?

    Okay, if you knew the kind of things I dreamed you wouldn't be asking me that question!

    The Childlike Empress: Call my name! ToriJ, please! Save us!

    All right! All right! I'll save you! Just, don't cry! Okay, name. You need a name. Names are easy. I come up with names all the time. What name to give you? I – I – oh, oh great. Writer's block! Of all the times in the world to get writer's block you have to choose now!? Come on! Think of a name...! It doesn't even have to be a good name just come up with a name! Uhh... Uhh...

    MOOSDFJSFSJFIOSDUFIOSDUF!



    Okay, who forgot to pay the electric bill?

    ToriJ: Why is it dark?
    The Childlike Empress: In the beginning it is always dark.
    ToriJ: That's one way to avoid a question. What's that?
    The Childlike Empress: One grain of sand. It's all that remains of my vast empire.
    ToriJ: Fantasia's gone?
    The Childlike Empress: Yes.
    ToriJ: I guess I could have gone about the whole naming thing quicker, huh?
    The Childlike Empress:
    ToriJ: Right, not the time to joke. I'm sorry everything has just been one big waste of time.
    The Childlike Empress: No, it hasn't. Fantasia can arrive in you. In your dreams and wishes, ToriJ.
    ToriJ: How would I do that?
    The Childlike Empress: Open your hand.
    ToriJ: Awkwardly opens hand
    The Childlike Empress: Places the grain of sand in it
    ToriJ: Sings I got the whole world in my hands. I got the whole world in my hands. Ahem! Sorry.
    The Childlike Empress: What are you going to wish for?
    ToriJ: I have no idea.
    The Childlike Empress: Then there will be no Fantasia anymore.
    ToriJ: Jeez, you really know how to lay on the pressure. How many wishes do I get?
    The Childlike Empress: As many as you want. And the more wishes you make, the more magnificent Fantasia will become.
    ToriJ: You are the best genie ever!
    The Childlike Empress: Try it.
    ToriJ: And my first wish is...



    That's the NeverEnding Story. What more can be said about it? The movie is great, the characters are memorable, it has a good message, and it encourages imagination and creativity. If you have kids then you owe it to them to let them see this movie. If you're an adult you owe it to yourself to see this movie. I'm ToriJ, and I'm going to go fly on a luck dragon now.


    Get it
    Last edited by Ayen; 06-24-2015 at 01:31 PM.


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    Happiness Hurricane!! Pike's Avatar
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    This movie scared me when I was a kid but the song is good

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    Witch of Theatergoing Karifean's Avatar
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    Nice review! I only read the book but this insight into the movie was really interesting to read, and it sounds like a pretty good adaptation too. I mean, if it's being said in red, it has to be true.

    Although, I gotta ask, if the swamp is designed to sink anyone overcome with sadness, shouldn't it be sinking Atreyu right now? I don't think the kid can get any sadder. I'm just going to assume he avoided the sinking parts.
    AURYN protects him.

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karifean View Post
    Nice review! I only read the book but this insight into the movie was really interesting to read, and it sounds like a pretty good adaptation too. I mean, if it's being said in red, it has to be true.

    Although, I gotta ask, if the swamp is designed to sink anyone overcome with sadness, shouldn't it be sinking Atreyu right now? I don't think the kid can get any sadder. I'm just going to assume he avoided the sinking parts.
    AURYN protects him.
    Oh, wow. I feel stupid now. The answer was literally staring me right in the face.


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    Ghost of Christmas' past theundeadhero's Avatar
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    The Auryn protects him, but only so much. Just before Falcor finds him, with Gmork right at his heels, he's sunk so far into despair that it's up to his chin. The luck dragon saved him just in time, in the movie, of course

    Gmork scared the crap out of me so bad when I was a kid. Literally terrified. I was only four or five when I first started watching this movie.

    Who sent Gmork? He says his master sent him to do what he does, which he's pretty good at, even though he admits he failed when chained to the tree on the island as the nothing comes, but I've never learned who that master was.
    ...

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    Famine Wolf Cid's Knight Sephex's Avatar
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    Dead on about screaming the name. I saw that movie a bunch of times and I could never understand what he said. My cousin knew, so I eventually found out. I wouldn't have back in the day since I couldn't just go on the internet and look (and I don't think I had the book version around anywhere). I love the movie, but they really could have filmed/dubbed that part better.

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sephex View Post
    Dead on about screaming the name. I saw that movie a bunch of times and I could never understand what he said. My cousin knew, so I eventually found out. I wouldn't have back in the day since I couldn't just go on the internet and look (and I don't think I had the book version around anywhere). I love the movie, but they really could have filmed/dubbed that part better.
    I think it was done that way on purpose so kids could use their imagination and name the Childlike Empress themselves. Just ambiguous enough not to catch the ear at first, but clear enough to where you can hear it plain as day if you already know what the name is.

    I thought it was ingenious, myself.


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    Famine Wolf Cid's Knight Sephex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToriJ View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephex View Post
    Dead on about screaming the name. I saw that movie a bunch of times and I could never understand what he said. My cousin knew, so I eventually found out. I wouldn't have back in the day since I couldn't just go on the internet and look (and I don't think I had the book version around anywhere). I love the movie, but they really could have filmed/dubbed that part better.
    I think it was done that way on purpose so kids could use their imagination and name the Childlike Empress themselves. Just ambiguous enough not to catch the ear at first, but clear enough to where you can hear it plain as day if you already know what the name is.

    I thought it was ingenious, myself.
    Eh, but it doesn't come across that way. There would be better ways to let kids use their imagination then. For example, just have the wind and all the sound effects drown him out. Then people would easily get that we are not supposed to hear the name and it could be left up to the imagination.

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sephex View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ToriJ View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Sephex View Post
    Dead on about screaming the name. I saw that movie a bunch of times and I could never understand what he said. My cousin knew, so I eventually found out. I wouldn't have back in the day since I couldn't just go on the internet and look (and I don't think I had the book version around anywhere). I love the movie, but they really could have filmed/dubbed that part better.
    I think it was done that way on purpose so kids could use their imagination and name the Childlike Empress themselves. Just ambiguous enough not to catch the ear at first, but clear enough to where you can hear it plain as day if you already know what the name is.

    I thought it was ingenious, myself.
    Eh, but it doesn't come across that way. There would be better ways to let kids use their imagination then. For example, just have the wind and all the sound effects drown him out. Then people would easily get that we are not supposed to hear the name and it could be left up to the imagination.
    Valid point. Hence why I say think since I'm not 100% sure what they were going for with that scene. At least it would explain why they never addressed her by name in either of the sequels, but considering their poor continuity from 2 to 3 that could be all it was. Poor continuity.

    I can't even remember where that thought of mine came from, anyway. I shouldn't have wished for that triple whopper with cheese...


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    Shorty's Avatar
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    Another one this movie scared the trout out of when I was a kid. But I loved it because of Falcor. Excellent post!

    artax saddest moment in cinematic history ;_____________________________________________________;

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    Trial by Wombat Bubba's Avatar
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    AURYN looks nothing like he does in FFX.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorty View Post
    Another one this movie scared the trout out of when I was a kid. But I loved it because of Falcor. Excellent post!

    artax saddest moment in cinematic history ;_____________________________________________________;
    This movie is not for animal lovers.


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    One of my favorite nostalgic movies. You've done it well



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    Trial by Wombat Bubba's Avatar
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    Apparently Noah Hathaway owns a tattoo parlour in Los Angeles now with his wife. Please can someone living in the United States pop over there and confirm this for me?

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    Resident Critic Ayen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vyk View Post
    One of my favorite nostalgic movies. You've done it well
    Thank you. While you're still feeling nostalgic:



    Stumbled upon this years ago and it's one of the best fanmade trailers I've seen. Gives me goosebumps every time.

    If this movie ever did return to theaters I'd have to go see it. The big screen is the one place I never got to experience it since I was born years after it first came out.


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