The Neverending Story

1984, Movie, PG, 94 mins


Only a certified grump could dislike this engaging fantasy that wends its way into the imagination and is a delight on most levels. Bastian (Barret Oliver) is a troubled lad who has just lost his mother. He lives with his father (Gerald McRaney), who lectures Bastian about the boy's penchant for daydreaming. The lad has to fend off school bullies and is having difficulty adjusting to being motherless. One day, instead of going to school, he wanders into a weird bookstore and borrows a book called The Neverending Story. As Bastian turns the pages, the story comes to life. A childlike empress (Tami Stronach), who is not well, lives in a land called "Fantasia" and fears that it will be taken over if she dies. So she sends Atreyu (Noah Hathaway), a young warrior, off to find a cure for her lingering illness. What menaces Fantasia is a plague of "nothing": when the inhabitants of Earth lose hope and forget their aspirations, Fantasia is due to crumble as a direct result. Atreyu's voyage is fraught with peril, and he meets a cast of fantastic characters. Bastian is so enthralled by the story that he is plunged into it as a character. Made on a budget of more than $27 million, the film features state-of-the-art puppetry, animation, opticals, and makeup. THE NEVERENDING STORY owes much to ALICE IN WONDERLAND and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL in some sequences, but director Wolfgang Petersen combines the elements into a charming film that is excellent for children and won't put any adults to sleep, either. leave a comment

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