Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oldie Review - The Neverending Story (1984)

Starring Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway and Tami Stronach.
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.

The Neverending Story is a movie I watched and loved as a child and even after 29 years of release, it still holds up well as a children fantasy film. There is just something special about the 1980s atmosphere and it really worked for the fantasy films of that era. They are able to successfully draw you into the world and make you feel apart of it.

The Neverending Story follows a troubled Bastian who is struggling emotionally after the death of his mother. Not only that, he has to deal with the school bullies who further terrorize him. One day after being chased by the bullies, he runs into a book store to hide and comes across a mysterious book in which he steals. He then locks himself in the school attic and proceeds to read the book. With every line read, Bastian delves into the magical world of Fantasia. Fantasia is a mythical land of giant rock biters, luck dragons, wolves and other lively characters/creatures.

The sub-plot we're now introduced to is the happenings of Fantasia. We learn of the antagonist of the film - a strange and powerful force called the "Nothing" which is steadily destroying the land. We're not quite certain what the Nothing is, but as it grows stronger, the Empress of Fantasia (Tami Stronach) grows weaker. Therefore, a young warrior and the protagonist Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) is called upon and sent out to find a cure for the Empress and to stop the Nothing.

What is commendable about The Neverending Story is how it was able to keep us focused on both characters. At no point did we ever forget about Bastian as we follow Atreyu on his quest. Bastian's reactions to the events of the story as he reads are priceless. You feel as if you're reading the story right along with him. I found it quite amusing that they referred to the antagonist as the "Nothing" - they definitely had children in mind, also with the inclusion of other quirky and amusing characters in the story. Kudos to the cinematographers in creating that fantasical atmosphere - the musical score also fitted well with the story. The look and feel of the movie is great and definitely appeased to my emotions.

The Neverending Story isn't only about a magical adventure but the movie conveys a meaningful message. It evolves on the topic of self-realization. As Bastian reads the book he slowly becomes a part of it and down the stretch, we see how Bastian's self-being and emotions are tied to the climatic events of the story. Fantasia is tied to Bastian's character and becomes his own fantasy world. The "Nothing" possibly represents his fears and troubles which slowly consume him -- to which only he can defeat. The ending of the story is unwritten but we now witness a much more confident and chirpier Bastian. We, the viewers, were the ones actually reading Bastian's story and hence showing the relevance of why it's called The Neverending Story.

Even after 29 years, this film visuals and makeup still look good. The characters are still charming and the movie successfully drowns you in nostalgia.

Rating: 9/10


  1. This movie is hands down THE BEST movie i ever watched growing up. Awesome review shawna!