The NeverEnding Story (1984)


    Release: 1984

    Director: Wolfgang Petersen


    Budget: $27 Million

    Box Office Performance: $100 Million

    MPAA Rating: PG

    Synopsis: Downtrodden and sad little boy Bastian Oilver discovers a whole new world called Fantastia in a book called The NeverEnding Story and must become it savior from the vast and powerful enemy, the Nothing.

    People throughout history have said that books can transport the reader to a world that they never deemed possible.  I know that much is true for me.  When I read stories, my imagination allows me to see through the eyes of the characters that I’m reading about.  When a warrior defeats a dragon, I’m there.  When a teacher solves a riddle hidden for 2000 years, I’m there. When fairy tales and folklore come to life, guess what, I’m there. While reading has and always will be something that I love to do, I know that when I’m done reading, the story won’t change, and I’ll be safe in whatever environment I began reading in.  What if the story, when we read it, changes to how we think something should be?  What if the landscape evolved to our hopes and dreams?  What if the very existence of a world that was real but resided on paper, depended on children’s imagination? That’s what we have here in a West German-produced English language film based on the book by Michael Ende.

    From the beginning, you are sucked into a world of fantasy, intrigue and childlike innocence. Reeling from the death of his mother, a young boy named Bastian fills his lonely days reading books. His over-worked father has no real time for him, which only leads to his isolation more.  The cherry on top is that he is constantly bullied by the local douchebags that think their super tough for picking on a boy half their size. That all changes one day when he runs into a bookstore to hide from his attackers.  There, he finds the bookstore owner, who leads him to take the fable book The NeverEnding Story. Hiding in the school attic, he indulges himself into a world that takes him on the wildest ride of his life and he ultimately finds himself being the savior to a land he never knew existed. Throughout his adventures, he meets unforgettable characters such as Atreyu the warrior, Engywook the gnome scientist, Deep Roy the messenger on a racing snail, Tilo Pruckner Nighthob messenger on a sleepy bat as well as Falkor, a furry luck dragon that has the single greatest honor of being the nicest, if not the ugliest, dragon in existence. Along the way, Atreyu meets figures such as the Southern Oracle, Mirror of Truth, and fights his enemy, Gmork. This talking werewolf is out to kill Atreyu, who can provide Bastian with a way to rename the Childlike Empress and stop the Nothing from destroying Fantastia.  This ultimate world destroyer is when children stop using their imagination and become adults. I guess things like the real world, jobs and family are a bad thing because we must accept that we can’t do anything we want and must be happy being who and what we are. I won’t continue because the ending is good and worth a watch.

    So, if you haven’t seen this gem yet, stop wasting time and give it a try.  It’s not a bad film for young adults but beware of some parts.  One will have you bawling like a little child. Some scary moments exist in the film but nothing that isn’t shown daily on public television after 7. This was one of my favorite films growing up as a child and it’s still one of my favorite fantasy films to this day.

    • Main Actor: Both Barret Oliver as Bastian and Noah Hathaway as Atreyu share a decent amount of time on screen.  Both perform their roles beautifully and relay the emotions felt by the entire crowd throughout the movie: B+
    • Main Actress: While her screen time was extremely limited, I know that she was my adolescent Hollywood crush. A good performance but hard to grade due to limited amount of talking: C+
    • Supporting Cast: Great!! Made the movie so much more than it could have been. Even an abstract idea such as the Nothing had an identity to it. Falkor is probably the single biggest character remembered from this film to this day: A-
    • Music: Excellent!  The title song was catchy, the music leading up to the scenes was great and it’s remembered as a great soundtrack from start to finish: A
    • Plot: Wonderful! From the first moment of the film to the last clip it brought you to the incredible world of Fantastia: B+
    • Overall Grade: A-

    Fun Facts:

    • At the time of its release, The NeverEnding Story was the most expensive film production in the history of German cinema. With a price tag of about $27 million, the project supplanted 1981’s Oscar-nominated Das Boot—also directed by Wolfgang Petersen—as the country’s priciest film
    • The books author, Michael Ende, called the movie revolting even though he worked on the script with Petersen. He demanded his name be removed from the credits.
    • Ende was not on board with the busty, laser-shooting Sphinx statues that Atreyu encounters in the film. He said that “The Sphinxes are quite one of the biggest embarrassments of the film. They are full-bosomed strippers who sit there in the desert
    • After making a few more movies, Noah Hathaway left acting behind and tried out several other careers, including martial arts trainer and tattoo artist, the latter of which required him to revisit his NeverEnding past. “I wouldn’t do another Auryn (talisman) tattoo because I did 15 in three weeks,” he told The News Tribune. “It is very flattering though
    • During the first Ivory Tower scene when the group of Fantasians are gathered together, if you look very closely you will see characters such as Yoda, Mickey Mouse, Chewbacca, C3PO, The Ewoks, ET and Gumby
    • The movie was filmed in Germany during the hottest summer it had in 25 years. It was so hot one of the statues of the Ivory Tower melted. On other days the crew were forced to shut down production because the blue backgrounds for the matte work wouldn’t work properly




    About Brian Noonkester

    I'm just an average everyday movie lover. I also love reading movie reviews and wanted to write my own reviews. I hope you enjoy my site and please leave comments telling me how I'm doing and what you think could make it better.

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    3 Comments on “The NeverEnding Story (1984)”

    1. You should go to the Bavaria Filmstudios and check out the original Falkor! Go travel where the movies took you!

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