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MOVIES YOU GOTTA CATCH: THE NEVERENDING STORY

Name: The Neverending Story
Directed by: Wolfgang Peterson
Year: 1984
Genre: Child Fantasy
Starring: Barret Oliver, Gerald McRaney, Noah Hathaway, and Alan Oppenheimer

PLOT:

A young boy named Sebastian is missing his dead mother and being bullied by kids at school. He finds solace in books and happens to take refuge in an old bookstore. Sadly an old crotchety man works at the bookstore and is equally short and bullies the emotionally fragile child. Out of spite and disregarding his warning, Sebastian steals the special book the old man was reading. Sebastian did not realize how special this book was. The book emerges the reader in the enchanted world of Fantasia, literally making them a part of the story. Fantasia is under attack by “The Nothing”, a force of evil and disaster that preys on the lack of imagination. The Nothing is consuming everything in its path and is taking over the world, destroying Fantasia and all of its people. Atrayu, a young native warrior, is given the task to save Fantasia from the Nothing. Atreyu is Fantasia’s last hope, if Sebastian can get him to the end of his journey.

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT IT:

The Neverending Story is the perfect blend of live action puppets and creative film making. Made in Germany-1984, computer generated effects were not as heavily relied on as is the case in today’s fantasy movies. Visually the Neverending Story has a believability and sense of realism you can only get with practical effects, costumes, sets, and make-up.
The acting of the entire cast is believable and not overly dramatic for a “kids movie”. One of the most traumatic scenes in child movie history still hits hard. Atreyu and his trusted steed walking through the swamps of sadness. It’s a tear jerker. Enough said about that.
The sets, characters, and costume designs are amazing! Fantastic beasts like gigantic Rock Men riding stone tricycles, flying luck dragons that look like puppy-dogs, pet bats, and racing snails make the enchanted land of Fantasia seem all the more real.
The music is the biggest downfall of The Neverending Story. Popular in America in the 80’s, the soundtrack is techno-pop. If it weren’t for the choice to go with such poor music the Neverending Story would be near perfect. The international version has a classical score.
The Neverending story is based on a book of the same title by Michael Ende. Do not read the book expecting what you see in the movie. Ende was not happy with the tone the film was taking. He felt that the movie was missing the point of his story and wanted production to stop or the title to be changed. Neither happened. He did sue the production but lost. The NeverEnding Story spawned two sequels: “The Next Chapter” and “Escape from Fantasia.”