The NeverEnding Story
Untruth in Advertising?
I must admit, I was shocked and appalled when I saw the end credits to this
film and realized that it does, in fact, have an end. It could have been that
same experience at a young age that traumatized me for life.
Now, with the overused jokes aside, I must say that The NeverEnding Story is
perhaps the perfect family film. It's about a young boy named Bastian (Barret
Oliver), who is a "weirdo" as classified by his schoolmates. He's constantly
harassed by the bullies at school, and on one particular occasion, hides from
them in a used book store.
After convincing the kid-hating owner that he's a book lover himself, the bitter
old man tells him about the book he's currently reading. It's a dangerous book,
one that sucks you right into the story. Being a curious young lad, Bastian
decides to "borrow" the book and read it for himself.
Once Bastian starts reading the book, it turns into something straight out
of Jim Henson's mind, without Jim Henson. It features countless puppets and
odd creatures, which all look like something out of a child's imagination. There
are gnomes, luck dragons, rock biters, giant turtles, sphinxes, racing snails,
and even "stupid bats."
It seems that Fantasia (the land in the book) is being destroyed by the evil
"Nothing." The Empress and her people seek out a warrior named Atreyu, a young
boy, and the only one who can save them. Atreyu goes on a quest to find a cure
for the Empress's illness, which in turn should be able to save Fantasia.
The NeverEnding Story is a nice little fantasy, and one of those guilty pleasures
from the 1980s (along with such "classics" as The Goonies and Gremlins). It
features countless strange and bizarre creatures, a very fantasy-ish storyline,
and top notch (for the time) special effects.
This is director Wolfgang Petersen's first English language film, for which
he also co-wrote the screenplay. He does a good job of creating a unique world
full of imagination. The acting is all good, considering the main characters
are children who undoubtedly haven't had much acting experience.
Basically, this is the kind of movie that is entertaining for people of all
ages. Of course it looks dated now, but if you can accept it for what it is,
it's definitely a lot of fun. I hadn't seen the movie in probably 15 years,
but still enjoyed it just as much as I did back then. Plus, at only 92 minutes,
it's tolerable for even the most attention-deficient children.
Considering the movie was made in 1984, the picture is phenomenal. It's presented
in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and it looks excellent. The sound, unfortunately,
isn't quite as good. You can't really complain though, for such an old film,
and the 2.0 surround definitely doesn't sound bad; just not as good as it could
(or should) be.
The only extras included are some notes and trivia on the book and its characters,
and the original theatrical trailer. The trailer for this movie is perfect for
promoting the film: it shows all the fantasy elements of the story, without
revealing too much of the plot. It still would have been nice to see some "making-of"
stuff though. I think it would have been very interesting for this movie. Oh
The NeverEnding Story, from Warner Home Video
92 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) 16X9 enhanced, 2.0 surround
Starring Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Patricia Hayes and
Produced by Bernd Eichinger and Dieter Geissler
Screenplay by Wolfgang Petersen and Herman Weigel
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen.
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