Monday, May 17, 2010

A Trip Down Memory Lane: The NeverEnding Story

I had never seen Labyrinth until recently. Unfortunately upon my first viewing I could feel little in the realm of excitement, wonder or joy. There was too much singing- and although David Bowie in tight pants can be fun, I still found myself longing for the imaginative world of The NeverEnding Story. This made me think about two things. For one, it got me started on my remakes aren't so bad kick. If I wasn't affected by a movie that I never saw as a child or growing up, imagine how unaffected most kids today are when seeing the original movies that are being remade. If you do not have a nostalgic remembrance for a movie that isn't necessarily a great movie to begin with, then I think you have a pretty tough time forming any sort of bond or even liking for it. All I'm saying is, that I'm pretty sure The NeverEnding Story isn't a 10/10 kind of movie--yet I'm unhealthily obsessed with it because I grew up with it.

Now this may or may not have to do with the fact that I never saw Labyrinth growing up, but the second thing I thought of after my first viewing was that The NeverEnding Story fucking rules. I expected so much more imagination and cool creatures and scary moments from Labyrinth-- especially when Jim Henson is involved---but I mostly just felt like I was walking down a dark alley on Sesame Street. No offense of course to Labyrinth fans but I'm pretty sure The NeverEnding story is the gold medal winner. Due to this- I saw fit to take you on a pictorial journey of The Neverending Story. Lets relive some brighter moments down memory lane.

We begin with a nightmare. Because let us not forget that "In the beginning, it is always dark". Bastian walks up in his wood paneled bedroom and glances over at what I assume is his mother's picture hanging on the wall.

Upon closer inspection, Bastian also has a lovely portrait of a Native American hanging on the wall. Random? Maybe. But it just might have something to do with the impending introduction of Atreyu. OR if you think about what Bastian's mother's name actually is, it does make sense that she would have a bit of Native American heritage. Meaning of course, that Bastian descends from the "plains people"---thus bridging the gap between himself and Atreyu. Man, I think about things too much.

Does anyone else usually throw up a little bit in their mouth when they watch Bastian's Dad make and drink his orange juice and raw egg breakfast drink?

Speaking of assholes.....who tells an 8 year old that he's too old to be daydreaming and having an imagination. THEY WERE UNICORNS DAD, NOT HORSES. Jeesh. I didn't stop having an imagination till I was like 14.

Thanks to Bastian's incessant daydreaming and love of books, he gets bullied by some true ruffians. Time for a dumpster dive! What the hell people were throwing out in that dumpster anyways? Pencil shavings? Stale noodles? Someone enlighten me.

Never fear, a hop, skip and a jump away from the dumpster, lands you right inside the bookstore of Sean Connery.

The sad part is, I really thought that was Sean Connery up until about oh, 5 years ago. Whoops!

Thanks to not Sean Connery guy, and some savvy book selling skills- Bastian pockets the book but leaves a cute scribbly note behind instead because he's just a good kid.
By the way this book makes number 187 in Bastian's collection....that's a lot of fucking books!

After rushing the book to school, breaking into the attic and skipping a math test, we find ourselves in Fantasia.
Hey...isn't that a Tim Burton Oompa Loompa? Well he hasn't aged a bit!

Well I take that back...he DOES appear to have some wrinkles..


The Child-like empress is sick! I know because this guy told us so.

This brings me to one of my favorite parts of The NeverEnding Story, all those crazy, wacky people that apparently reside in Fantasia!

Enter the girl-like Atreyu

And wear your Auryn proudly.

Sandwich break!


Remember when Atreyu makes it through the swamp of sadness and finds Morla?
Who is really just a cute old turtle thing, but for some reason Bastian flips a shit and screams really loudly?

What's the deal with that? I've still never quite understood this part. Why does he scream this loudly when Morla comes out, and not loudly when Gmork emerges from the forest? In fact I'm getting a little tired of Bastian always screaming and acting crazy.

Oh well, enter every one's favorite Luck Dragon Falkor--who by the way I still think looks like a dog but whatever.

Thanks to Falkor's luck and his protection, Atreyu wakes up just where he needs to be. At the gates to the Southern Oracle. The first of these gates happens to be two sphinxes with huge boobs. Thanks to Atreyu's confidence, he passes through. But first take note of these two sphinxes will you?

Now check out the Southern Oracle...

Clearly someone in the art department got lazy because it's the same exact thing only blue and with some glitter. I'd recognize those boobs anywhere. Laaaazy! Despite laziness, the Southern Oracle holds the key to saving Fantasia from The Nothing. The Child-like Empress needs a new name. But the catch is-the person who gives her that name has to be a human child! Anyone know any human children?

And now a brief word from our Sponsor....

They look like big, strong, good hands don't they?

Meanwhile, back in the land of going nowhere fast, Atreyu stumbles upon some kind of strange artwork that shows the timeline of Atreyu's journey--only I don't remember that weird guy handing Atreyu a mask...

Anyways, everything else seems to check out because I remember this

and I DEFINITELY remember this, only I half blocked it out.

But this?

When is this?


If you come any closer, I will rip you to shreds.

Sadly, what could have been the greatest battle scene in the history of Fantasia, the battle between good and evil, The Nothing and Fantasia, Gmork (who made up that name a 5 year old?) and Atreyu...fizzles out into 2 seconds of blood and bad puppetry.

Ah yes well...afterwards, Fantasia is overcome by The Nothing and luckily--the Ivory Tower still stands. Here Atreyu find the Child-Like Empress in all her child-like glory.

We now find that although Atreyu's horse did die--he in fact accomplished what he set out to do. He has brought the earthling child with him. Just as Atreyu suffered, so has this boy. And that boy is of course....Bastian!! Now all he has to do is call out a new name for the empress. He has already picked the name- he's just afraid to call it out because he still doesn't believe this is all real. I will now reenact the greatest scene of all time.

Bastian! Why don't you do what you dream Bastian?

But I can't! I have to keep my feet on the ground!

Call my name!

Bastian, please!





Why is it so dark?

In the beginning, it is always dark.

Annnnd as we know, Bastian gets an endless supply of wishes so that he can recreate Fantasia and make it better than ever. And what is his first wish? Just as it was Jesus's wish, Bastian wishes to take a jolly ride on Falkor!

And there you have it. Fantasia has returned, Bastian learns that an imagination and having dreams is a vital part of everyday life (suck it Dad) and the bullies get chased down a busy city street by Falkor. Plus all the adults see Falkor. Isn't that breaking some kind of Fantasia boundary or rule?

Oooh right Gmork said that Fantasia HAS no boundaries. Fascinating!

Ah well, stay tuned for the next A Trip Down Memory Lane segment- The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. RIP Jonathan Brandis.


April said...

I grew up with both movies, and I happen to love both of them, as well as The Dark Crystal.

Two questions regarding TNES...

1. Is that tall dude walking out of a vagina?

2. What did Bastian name the Child-like Empress (It wasn't really "Moonchild" was it, cause that would be such a major let down)?

Andre Dumas said...

Oh but it WAS Moonchild. Check the quotes on IMDB also if you play it over and over again he really does say that. It is kind of a let down and a really strange name but makes sense when revisiting the Native American hint I gave earlier.

I wouldn't be surprised if he was walking out of a vagina- since most things have a vagina reference or symbol of some sort. Also it's a kind of flower thing-which tends to look like a vagina.

I respect your love for Labyrinth I just wish I had seen it as a young one. I still haven't seen the Dark Crystal but I'm hoping to see it soon!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Labyrinth until I was an adult, so I think I missed something there. I don't quite get the fanfare...

I LOVED The Neverending Story as a kid. The Nothing was the most terrifying thing I'd ever seen. And Falkor is totally a big flying dog!

B-Sol said...

I did indeed see The Neverending Story when it first came out, and it had a big effect on me. Watching it as an adult less so, it does seem like a relatively cheap affair--but the kids love it just like I did! Still has a place in my heart, but it hasn't aged well.

I do know what you mean about having a connection to a movie you grew up with, and how it's different if you first see it as an adult. This is the reaction I had to Goonies, which I first saw a couple years ago, and couldn't figure out what the big deal was. It does make a difference if you're exposed to something young, which is why it makes me sad that kids don't get that kind of exposure anymore to things before there time like they used to say, pre-1990 I guess, before cable and home video really took over and syndicated TV died. This is why I have a nice DVD collection of classic stuff to brainwash my own kids with!

Also: It took me YEARS to figure out what the heck Bastion's mother's name was. And I too was let down by the fight with the Gmork. That speech by the Rockbiter always made me cry as a kid. And oh yeah, my son insists that Atreyu is a girl, no matter how hard I insist he is a boy!

Andre Dumas said...

Kinderscares- Phew! I'm glad I'm not the only one!

Hahahah! That is an amazing fact about Wee Sol thank you. I love it.
Awww man you missed the Goonies? Bummer!

Glad you can appreciate the NeverEnding Story though. It is a lovely treasure.

Sara said...

I watched this movie everyday when I was a kid. It formed much of my childhood so I am completely with you!
Also, I miss these effects that we had in films like Neverending Story. CGI has made us lazy. There will never be any CGI created that matches the awesomeness of Falcor!

JLG said...

Love this movie. Named my dog Bastian.

deadlydolls said...

Every time someone says a negative word about Labyrinth, a carnivorous fairy loses her wings :(

But le sigh. The rest of this post is positively amazing. And I'm so ever relieved to hear others agree that the name given to The Childlike Empress is nearly impossible to understand.

Anonymous said...

I am a Labyrinth fanatic, used to beg my mom every weekend to rent it and I still watch it regularly. (My daughter likes it too.)
I used to watch NES but only key scenes. I guess it just didn't do it for me but it's still a cool movie from the good old days.

-shorty spice

Anonymous said...

Man...this movie. YES. It's much less unimpressive to those who didn't have an attachment to it as a child (much like the 1970's cartoon The Hobbit, which I watched with my roommate last year and she was nothing but mortified about it), but having the connection with it from when I was a kid just makes it happen.

I'm glad you cleared up the name of his mother too. Because I spent the longest time thinking he said something like "Osaya", which now that I play it over in my mind, could have been the way he was sectioning the syllables of Moonchild (Moon-Chy-Ald?).

I'm also glad that there are as many lovers of this movie as there are.

realistic cynic said...

Hey I'm wondering if this happened in any of the movies or if it's just my imagination. Growing up I was obsessed with these movies, and I could have sworn as a young child I owned a book (published AFTER the movies were made, obviously) that had a scene where Bastian is in a room wih a woman who has multiple faces. I'm not talking about the character with three different faces on each side. there were like fifty or something. Now I own all three and have watched each scrupiously to no avail of finding said scene.
Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Andre Dumas said...

Hmmm doesn't sound familiar. I've only seen the first and 2nd however. Maybe it's from a different movie?! Sounds neat though, tell me when you find out.

Pierce said...

Thank you very much for sharing this. I look forward to reading some of your other stuff on horror movies as I enjoy so many of them.

I'm in the process of reading the book of this now, and it explains a lot of stuff that was left unclear in the movie. I highly recommend checking it out. I'm pretty sure Michael Ende was dropping acid when he wrote it, because most people on pure air don't think of such stuff.

I find that I appreciate the movie even more as an adult due to some of the cerebral aspects of it. The book, of course, is even more hardcore in that respect.

The nostalgia factor definitely contributes to my enjoyment of this movie, as well as Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. I don't know if I'd enjoy either very much if I hadn't seen them as a child, but since I did, they're both totally kick-ass!

Andre Dumas said...

Thanks Pierce! Ah, you just reminded that I need to read that book. I keep meaning to but always get sidetracked with something else. I will put it on my list (yes I have a physical list now). Thanks for reading!

Oh and I also need to see the Dark Crystal. Gah.

christine said...

Thank you so much for this post!This has been the ultimate movie of my childhood and I've seen it recently with my best friend.Would you be surprised if I'd tell you that I'm still getting shivers when I see the scene that has the Nothing painting?:))It had always scared me,so that's why I didn't want to watch it alone[thys may sound silly but I had no idea what could have been my reaction to the movie in the present]Watching this movie at the age of 20 I discovered lots of connections that I didn't notice when I was a kid,so yeah,it is a big difference of interpretation:D Again,lots of thanks to you and of course,my parents that showed me the movie in the first place:D

Anonymous said...

This was on of my faves as a kid and still is now. OMG, that entracne does look like a vagina, you got your labias minora and majora, lol Also, OMG, it's the thing from labyrint, only instead of it being an old man with a bird for a hat, it's a bird with an old man for a hat. Hey I never noticed both the four-faced middle-aged woman and the four-face Victorian fop. Oh, and lbnl, Bastian's actually 10.