Mon
Aug 26 2013 9:00am

9 Reasons You Should Absolutely Watch The Neverending Story as an Adult

The Neverending Story was a classic children’s fantasy of the 1980s, right up there with The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Legend, and The Last Unicorn in creating a latticework of terrifying puppets, questionable animation, and traumatizing storylines. It had an added allure for this small, library-loving nerd: it was about a book that never ended. Most fantasies just give you a perfunctory review of some scrolls or an ancient dusty text before galloping back into an action scene, but The Neverending Story is literally about a kid sitting in an attic and reading all day—making it both fantasy and Carverian realism as far as I was concerned.

Looking back at it as an adult (more or less), I was surprised by how well it holds up. True, you have to look past some extremely...emphatic acting, and Falkor is slightly creepy now that I’m older (although compared to David Bowie’s tights and Molly Grue’s lamentation for her virginity lost youth, he’s really not that bad), but most importantly, watching it now gave me a completely different experience, not just an exercise in nostalgia.

 

1. Nostalgia

Neverending Story Bastian

Let’s just get this one out of the way. Being a kid sucks most of the time. You have very little agency, you’re bound by rules you don’t always understand, you often have to eat things that you hate, and there’s usually at least some amount of homework. If you were anything like me, the best days of your childhood were most likely spent huddled under a blanket, reading something—The Hobbit, Earthsea, Harry Potter, Ender’s Game—that took you somewhere else, somewhere where you were definitely not a kid, or at least you had some compensatory magical ability. The Neverending Story takes this memory and cranks the dial all the way up, adding a forgotten math test, a spooky attic, and a vicious thunderstorm to create the best possible environment for escapism.

 

2. The effects are fantastic!

I mean, they’re not always good, and they don’t quite stand up to The Dark Crystal or other Henson work of that era, but they have a particular homemade flavor. Morla the Ancient One and the Rock Biter are expressive characters who come to life with only a few moments of screen time, and the council of advisors who summon Atreyu are all unique, rather than succumbing to the discount Mos Eisley Cantina feeling. The Neverending Story isn’t lifting imagery or ideas from Star Wars, E.T., Henson, or even something like Excalibur. Fantasia feels like a fully-realized, self-supporting world, and the movie is telling a story that, while drawing on archetypes and classic mythological themes, still gives you something new.

 

3. The Auryn

Neverending Story Auryn Necklace

The Auryn is still the coolest piece of fantasy jewelry ever. It doesn’t need to be cast into a volcano, it won’t screw up any time streams, and it doesn’t require a piece of your soul. It simply functions as an elegant symbol of eternal return and interconnectedness, and occasionally mystically guides you to the Childlike Empress. No big deal.

 

4. Artax

When you were a kid, Artax’s death was shattering. His death is real, and tragic. Yes, Artax does come back, but only because Bastian—who is just as devastated as the audience—wishes it. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I spent waaay too much time wondering if the Artax at the end was really the same Artax, if the newly-wished-into-existence horse would have the same memories as the original. And does he remember his death? (Like I said, maybe too much time spent on this...)

Watching The Neverending Story again as an adult is beneficial in a very specific way: You watch the horse die, it still hurts, and you remember that you’re not the hollowed-out shell of grown-up responsibility you sometimes fear you have become.

See? Helpful.

 

5. The Magic Mirror Gate is far more resonant now

To put it a better way, it probably didn’t make any sense at all when you were a kid, but now it will. As a kid, Engywook’s words of caution—“kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away screaming!”—didn’t sound terribly scary, because they refer to a very adult type of self-doubt. Bastian and Atreyu are both confused by the Mirror—like the kids watching the film, they can’t understand why seeing your true self is so frightening. But what adult would be willing to look into it, and see that their self-image is false?

Which brings us to:

 

6. META-PALOOZA. META-GANZA. META-POCALYPSE

Now we throw the term “meta” around as carelessly as “hipster,” but The Neverending Story uses its nested story structure to illustrate a larger point. Atreyu is living his adventure as the hero, but he’s given hints that his life isn’t what he thinks it is. He sees Bastian in the Mirror Gate, hears Bastian scream when Morla first appears, sees his own story depicted in a series of narrative murals, and eventually is directly told by the Empress that Bastian has shared his adventure. Despite this, he never questions his quest. He carries on being a hero, even to the point of challenging Gmork to an unnecessary fight (more on that later) and dies in the Tower without ever realizing that he’s a fictional creation. He has a job to do, and anything beyond that job is irrelevant.

Bastian, meanwhile, also receives clues that he is more involved in the life of Fantasia than he realizes. He hears the Empress tell Atreyu that “others” are sharing Bastian’s adventures: “They were with him in the bookstore, they were with him when he took the book.” Bastian replies with a Hamill-worthy “But that’s impossible!!!” and carries on in his role of nerdy boy reading in an attic. He only truly flips his shit when the Empress addresses him directly to demand a new name. (More on that name in a second.) The movie deftly skips over that bit, and never returns to it, but think about it: those “others” are us, right? As in, the kids sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching the movie? If we’re watching Bastian, and he’s watching Atreyu, then who the hell is watching us?

Now, before we spin off into dorm room musings, I wanted to pull back and say that I don’t think the film was trying to convince us that we’re all in some reality TV show without our knowledge. But I do think they were trying to sneak in a comment about the way we construct our lives. How do we see ourselves? How do we choose our actions? If our lives were books or movies or six-issue mini-trades, what would we want them to look like? I would submit that you could do worse than this:

 

7. “If we’re about to die anyway, I’d rather die fighting”

On the one hand the fight with Gmork is Atreyu acting like a heroic automaton. But then there’s that other hand, and that other hand has an amazing moment in it. Think about it—it would be so much easier for Atreyu to give up. The Nothing is coming anyway, right? Gmork doesn’t recognize him, he’s done everything in his power to reach the Human Child—at this point no one could blame him for sitting back with the Rock Biter and waiting for the Nothing to take him.

Instead, he risks a painful death-by-combat with a giant wolf. That’s a hell of a way to rage against the dying of the light.

 

8. Bastian recreates the world from a grain of sand

Blakean imagery aside, there’s a great lesson here—a lesson that’s far better for adults than kids. When you’re a kid it’s pretty easy to bounce back from failure and disappointment, because—unless you’re a Peanuts character—you just assume that the next time will go better, and you try again. But once you’re older, and you have a longer list of break-ups, dropped classes, books you haven’t finished reading, books you haven’t finished writing, plus maybe a layoff or two, it gets harder and harder to work up enthusiasm for new projects. Here we have a story where the world really ends, and all the characters we love die—Atreyu and Bastian have both failed. How often do you see a kid fail in a children’s movie? But that failure doesn’t mean that Bastian gets to fall apart and hide in the attic forever—he has to go back to work, and, ironically enough, do exactly what his father told him to do at the film’s beginning. Fantasia is his responsibility now, and he has to rebuild it and take care of it.

 

9. Follow Your Urge to Research!

As an adult watching this you can hear the name Moon Child and think, “what the hell? Did Bastian’s grandparents conceive during a Dead show?” Alternatively, you can look up the name Moon Child, and go off on a fabulous Wiki-wormhole leading to Aleister Crowley and the history of 20th Century Magick, which is just fun. But even better, you could dive into the work of The Neverending Story’s author, Michael Ende. Ende was one of most beloved children’s authors in Germany, and while not all of his books have been translated, it’s worth the effort to find them. The Neverending Story in particular is a fascinating deconstruction of fairy tales, much darker than the film, and one of the most rewarding books I’ve ever read.

You have all followed me on the adventure of revisiting this film. Now, in true Childlike Empress style, I am turning to you. I don’t need a new name, but I would like to now: did you love this movie when you were a kid, or were you more into…I don’t know...Inkheart? What are your go-to movies for adult-ennui-relief? I can always use a few more.


Leah Schnelbach has never quite managed to keep her feet on the ground, no matter how hard she tries.

52 comments
Hedgehog Dan
1. Hedgehog Dan
Guys, if you love the film, be sure that you read the book.

Even if you just like the movie. Even if you don't.
Percy Sowner
2. percysowner
I was an adult when I first saw the movie. What can I say I'm old, I like fantasy and I had read the book and wanted to see what the movie did with it. I love the movie. It is great for all the reasons you note. It is a very adult movie for being seen as a "kids" movie.
Hedgehog Dan
3. David E.
I'm just going to say http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf1WT8VEZxk
and then of course there's this
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gL1hC7Vt6Hw
Hedgehog Dan
4. Nicoclaws
You all should REALLY read the book. It's even better !
Ian Gazzotti
5. Atrus
"The Auryn ... doesn’t require a piece of your soul."
Then the second half of the book starts, and things go south.

I actually stopped loving the movie after reading the book, because all the specials effects in the world cannot make up for the fact that the film is missing the whole second half of the story and the greater part of the message.

Seriously, the city of the emperors is one of the creepiest things ever in a book (and Ende himself wrote some seriously disturbing imagery in his adult novels), not to mention a stern message to those who think they can live their whole life in a fantasy world.
Hedgehog Dan
6. tiffstitch_
I've been thinking about re-watching this, thank you for the great article, and now I need to re-watch it. Possibly pick up the book as well.

My go-to movie would be The Princess Bride. It never fails to lift me out of the boredom of adult life when I get in a rut.
A.J. Bobo
7. Daedylus
I think this was one of the few movies I saw in a theater as a kid. I loved it. It's been one of my favorite movies since then. Whenever I look at big clouds, I see Falkor and Gmork is gives me the creeps.
Rob Rater
8. Quasarmodo
I just love that damn song!!! I bought the soundtrack trust to have it.

(When I was younger, I wasn't that familiar with it and saw the video, which I thought was silly because they kept showing close-ups of the girls mouth when she would sing the "ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh" part. I should probably youtube the video now and see what I think since I love the song so damn much.)
Melissa Shumake
9. cherie_2137
i'm glad i'm not the only person who thinks falkor is kinda creepy now. i enjoy the movie, although not as much as when i was a kid. it comes off as pretty cheesy now. i think my favorite sequence is with the southern oracle, and i'm not really sure why. and yes, the book is excellent. just don't ever watch the sequel movies, they're terrible.
Jessica Trevino
10. Ciella
So I realize you only made a flippant comment and a link to the Molly Gru/ Last Unicorn scene, but did they really cut part of that scene out on the anniversary DVD!? Cuz as an adult/woman, that scene is heart-rending beyond belief. I almost want to break into tears thinking about it. Deleting even part of that scene is a damn shame.

Also the wolf in Never Ending Story scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid.
Leah Schnelbach
11. Cloudyvision
@Ciella, I think they cut part of the line, so that rather than saying "Damn you!" Molly just says "Where have you been?" Which really undercuts the emotion of the scene, I think...
james loyd
12. gaijin
"As an adult watching this you can hear the name Moon Child..."
Is THAT what he said? I saw it in the theater and then watched that bit on VHS over and over with the sound way up and could never understand what he was saying. He might as well have been one of Charlie Brown's teachers. I guess I should have googled it once that became possible.
Allana Schneidmuller
13. blutnocheinmal
I always really liked this movie, and even the 2nd one to a degree.

But by far my go-to kids movies that help with the adult-blues are The Iron Giant and Disney's Robin Hood.

As far as live action of course there's always The Princess Bride.
But if you haven't seen Stardust, I highly recommend seeing that. I enjoyed the movie more than the book, and as a big Neil Gaiman fan I was surprised at that. It had an excellent cast though, so that helped.

And not a kid's movie at all, but the ultimate mood lifter for me is the whimsical Amelie starring the elvishly beautiful and impish Audrey Tatou.
Rob Vitaro
14. rvitaro
The Dark Crystal and The Neverending Story were my first introduction to fantasy as a child. They set me on the path that led me to the fantasy lover I am today, so they hold a very special place in my heart. I only hope I can one day write something as amazing as these two stories.
E M
16. herewiss13
I'd read the book before seeing the movie (both while young) and I never really forgave the movie for making Falkor a giant fluffy puppy dog.
Chris Chaplain
17. chaplainchris1
@13 - yes to Amelie as the ultimate mood lifter! Such a wonderful movie!

I wouldn't mind seeing the Neverending Story again - and I'll check out the book, too. I have to say, the Dark Crystal is wonderful. A friend talked me into watching as an adult (back in seminary) and it's now one of my favorites.

Also, I'm realizing I'm old, because I'm also amused by the idea of Harry Potter and Inkheart being nostalgic childhood favorites. I like Inkheart, and LOVE Harry Potter - but I read both series in late 20s/30s, so...
S Cooper
18. SPC
This was MY movie as a kid. I think my parents are still sick of it to this day from the number of times I watched it. I wore out the VHS tape. Halfway through this I was thinking it was time for my kids to see it, but then I realized my son will be terrified from the first view of the Ivory Tower (he doesn't handle movie music well) and my daughter will ask tons of questions about Artax and I will have to explain through my tears. She refuses to accept that Aslan dies either. Maybe next year.

I love the book as well, and somehow the imagery from the movie and the book don't overlap in my head. It's written so visually (really all the senses). Reading it for the first time was a one-of-a-kind experience. My only problem is it made my eternally mad at the "but that's another story" line in the movie because it's not!

My first reaction to Stardust was that it was a Neverending Story for its time.
Hedgehog Dan
19. Thalion Pelargor
If you really like the book, you should try the authors other works like

Momo / The Grey Gentleman
or
Jim Button

thought they are all targeted a little younger than the neverending story.

In Germany where I live these 3 books are some of the most classical children books nearly everbody who reads as a kid knows.
Hedgehog Dan
20. mirana
The Last Unicorn was the first fantasy film I remember watching (at age 5), and I made my parents rent it practically every weekend. Molly Grue's "youth" speech was not, nor has ever been "creepy" to me. It was possibly the saddest moment for me in a movie FULL of saddest moments. (Although Bowie's pants and "Dance magic, dance" routine absolutely ruined Labyrinth for me and I never had the desire to watch it again. Yes, I realize that's the opposite of every other straight woman, ever.) The subsequent DVD releases of it, trying to "tone it down" and also rob Peter Beagle of any royalties are endlessly infuriating to me. It's still one of my top favorite animated films (and most expensive OST CD I ever bought...had to import a OST full of songs by "AMERICA" from Germany). I don't watch it to feel better, though. It's way too dark, haha!

I do love The Neverending Story and own it. The inclusion of Bastian is a clever breaking-the-mold story device, but I found that on re-watch as a teen and adult that my opinion hadn't changed from when I saw it as a child. I just don't care about Bastian. For me, the story was always Atreyu's, and Bastian just tacked on. I guess the second movie, where Bastian becomes a little shit didn't help. I just spent the movie being seriously annoyed that Atreyu (THE HERO) just got ignored. Ugh.

The movies I loved as a child were not at all kid's films (Willow, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Ladyhawke, Legend, Beastmaster (I'm not ashamed--I liked the one where they went to LA too.), etc.) My parents didn't have the money to take us to the movies, or rent often, and they weren't concerned about ratings either, so I saw things on TV or what my father's friend pulled from his collection. I saw Conan when I was about 6-7, so my idea of a "kid's film" is sorta scewed. Most of my "kid" films are animated and I bought in my teens, so...The Neverending Story sits in my mind as a time period when I saw the other "adult" fantasy films, not as a "child" film to be validated even as an adult.
Hedgehog Dan
21. Dianadomino
I first saw the movie when I was in my twenties and had 2 small kids. I loved it so much I went to my local library and borrowed a copy to read. This book was amazing. The parts that are about Bastion were printed in one color and the parts that are about Fantasia were in another. The Aurin on the front cover of the book was textured and beautiful. It was bound in leather. There were fabulous illustrations. It was just a step down from the book in the movie. I have never been able to find another copy of the book that was so special, but the story is well-worth reading, even without the fancy edition of the book.
Hedgehog Dan
22. Becky N
I loved this movie so much as a kid that I picked up the book and was amazed that the movie only covered 1/3 of the story the book tells. (The sequil movies totally messed up everything so I wouldn't recommend them.) I think part of the reason I picked up the book was because I couldn't understand the name Bastian screamed out the window in the movie. I replayed that part over and over and just couldn't figure out what he said.

Another thing I love about having memorized this movie as a child is that now when I watch Shrek and he rides the dragon through the clouds, I can see that they took that scene almost frame for frame from The Neverending Story. An Easter Egg for those of us who saw The Neverending Story in the theater and grew up with it.

The only thing about the movie now that bugs me is how often the actors yell and scream and whine. I think "extrememly emphatic acting" is an ellquent way to put it. It rang true with me as a child, but just irritates me now.

I agree with Ciella about Molly Gru. Children won't understand her because they havn't lost the dreams and magic of their youth, but the first time I watched that scene as an adult it killed me. Now instead of crying at the end of the movie like I did as a child, I cry during that scene and the end is as it should be.
Hedgehog Dan
23. Alex F.
I'll second (or third, or fourth, or eighth...) the emphasis on reading the book. The movie really is a rough adaptation of the first half of the novel without any of the emotional consequences, payoff, or catharsis.

Which isn't to say "you're wrong to like the movie!" But the book is really an absolute classic of the genre, and I'd pretty much recommend it to anyone who reads fantasy.

So far as I know, Neverending Story is the only work of Ende's in print in the US. I've been hunting for a used copy of Momo or his other work for a while, to no avail--I'd love to see what else he can do.

I'd also suggest anyone interested in the film or (especially) the book look up the work of Ende's, father, the surrealist painter Edgar Ende. You can definitely see his influence on his son. edgarende.de has some nice galleries.
Hedgehog Dan
24. Reiko
@11 Cloudyvision: Is that what they did?? I saw two different versions of the Last Unicorn when I was a kid, but one version was a copy of a VHS tape. I have honestly believed for YEARS that somehow the family that owned the original VHS had cut that line out of my copy when they gave it to me, to avoid the strong language for me as a kid. I remembered the original line anyway and was surprised later that it was cut, and I remember thinking that it looked like a really amateur job with an awful jump in the animation and sound, hence attributing it to a VHS hack job. But now you say that's the way the anniversary edition was officially? That's kind of impressively bad. I never really noticed the "bad" animation as a kid except for that one place where they made that cut.
Hedgehog Dan
25. KF
@3 David E.:
I was expecting that one of those links would be this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6X15hCn1xc
Hedgehog Dan
26. KF
@10 and 11, Ciela and Cloudyvision:
The eariler, less fancy DVD release has the line, I'm pretty sure. (I'd have to go home and check to be certain.) The transfer's not great but as near as I can tell, there's nothing missing in that one. Or at least nothing that wasn't also missing from the old VHS release.
Hedgehog Dan
27. KF
@20, Mirana:
I have the same expensive import soundtrack CD. Worth every penny.

Have you tried the audiobook, read by Beagle himself?
Ben Goodman
28. goodben
The Neverending Story Part II is the worst movie I've ever seen: completely incoherent and idiotic. It totatlly ruined any good feelings about the first one I might have had.
alex
29. jerec84
I saw this when I was very young, then I saw it again in my 20's and it all came crashing back. There's some other movies I watched once as a child during the mid to late 80's that I've been trying to track down. Movies where I have some image in my mind but nothing else, and sadly stuff more obscure than this, or The Dark Crystal...

But I agree, watching this as an adult was a really good experience. I can see how young me would have enjoyed it, but I was way too young to understand everything that was going on.
Hedgehog Dan
30. Masha
Dianadomino I found a copy very like that in a second hand bookshop. Printed in green and red just like the book in the story, and with big full page green and red full page plates at the beginning of each chapter. Couldn't believe it when I found it, and never saw another copy.

I saw this movie when it came out, (when I was about 11) and I'm afraid I despised it. Bastian in the book is plain and fat, and that was very important in the story as his motivation to escape from the teasing and unpleasantness of his everyday life and exist only in the book. Changing that aspect of the character -- to me -- was like the film makers agreed with Bastian's classmates. "We can't make the hero fat, how ridiculous."

From then on everything else just seemed hollow and false - especially Falkor as a fluffy puppy >_
Nonny Morgan
31. Nonny
Both The Neverending Story and The Last Unicorn (and Watership Down) were childhood favorites. Honestly, a lot of the stuff that was expected to go over kids' heads, I got. But I think I was an overly philosophical child, heh.

I won't say that they don't have more resonance for me as an adult. I re-watched The Last Unicorn a couple years back and was in tears, because while I understood what was meant logically, I didn't have the experiences behind me for true emotional resonance. It's very different watching when you've been there. And perhaps my own relation to Molly Grue was also that of being mistreated, given the way that the bandits spoke to her, and so when I re-watched, I read into it not just virginity, but the heartbrokenness of the meaning of a unicorn coming to you *after* you have been through things that have broken you over and over. (And from reading the book, this seems to fit.)

The Neverending Story, I definitely need to rewatch. I loved it so very much but haven't seen it in years. Time to fix that.
Birgit
32. birgit
I remember the red and green print in the German original.
There is also a movie for Momo, and Jim Knopf is a puppet show series on TV.
Hedgehog Dan
33. StuC
The Never Ending Story was a major study in Grade 10 English class.. We had to read the story, write the essay and then watch the movie and critique. I had never read anything that made me cry before. Thank-you Mrs Stoutenberg. First time I had any respect or appreciation that authors really do amazing things.
S Cooper
34. SPC
Sequels? What sequels? I deny the existence of any sequels.
Robert Dickinson
35. ChocolateRob
Reminds me of the ever useful geek phrase for when something has gone wrong - 'Well that sank like Artax into the swamp of despair'
Rob Rater
36. Quasarmodo
My siblings and I always get a kick out of the shopkeeper who yells at Bastian to bring back the book, but then smiles after he's left. We always re-enact that scenario, only when we do it the shopkeeper smiles, then opens his mouth and hisses, revealing vampire fangs. Yeah, it doesn't make any sense, but it cracks us the hell up!
Hedgehog Dan
37. Lsana
I was going to write that the Neverending Story shouldn't be WATCHED as an adult--it should be read. I see many people have already beat me to it, but I'm going to go ahead and toss my two cents in anyway. The movie is a good kids' story, but the book is an exploration of the nature of fantasy and its relationship with reality. I might even call it a "must" for fantasy fans.

The movie was a reasonably good adaptation of the first half of the book, unlike the monstrosity that was the sequel. However, even here, they "Hollywoodized" it. Movie Fantasia is a good and happy place where everything would be unicorns and rainbows if only it weren't for the Nothing. The Empress is a saintly, angelic little girl. Atreyu succeeds because he is good and brave. Book Fantasia is a much darker place, containing every aspect of fantasy. It has unicorns and rainbows, yes, but also vampires and werewolves and giant spiders. The Empress is ruler of them just as much as she is of the good creatures, and she doesn't judge their evil actions. Atreyu's successes can be attributed as much to chance (and his possession of Auyren, to the extent that there's a difference between the two) as to his own actions.

The movie also leaves out the entire second half of the book which explains why interaction with Fantasia isn't always a good thing. The movie is all about "Yeah, yeah, rah-rah imagination." In the book, imagination can be a good thing that lets you create wonderful stories and see the world in a better way, or it can be a terrible thing that causes you to tell harmful lies or in the most extreme cases, lose yourself in insanity.

The best example of the differences between the book and the movies is Atreyu's meeting with Falcor and his journey from Morla to the Southern Oracle. The movie largely skips over this and has Falcor just carry Atreyu while he's unconcious. The book...well, I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it, but let's just say it's a lot more complicated.
Hedgehog Dan
38. Andrea J
The Neverending Story had a huge influence on me when I was a kid. i still wish I'd dressed up as Atreyu for Halloween at least once. That tinkly-sounding piano music during the magic mirror scene? that's what I hear in my mind when I get shivers up my spine.
Chris Nelly
39. Aeryl
The reason the sequel didn't work(despite my undying adolescent love for Jonathan Brandies, and his hottie dad who's from my hometown), IMO, is because in the first Bastian represents us, the audience, but in the next, he's just a character.

Unless you want to go with the sequel demonstrating the dangers of inserting yourself into your fantasy, and how stories based solely on wish fulfillment don't tend to be good stories. But I think that's WAY TOO META. Of course, book readers are saying that's exactly what the book's about so maybe I'm not overthinking this.
Hedgehog Dan
40. Victoria Dixon
I loved the film as a kid and immediately went out and read the book and the sequel, which blew my mind apart and rebuilt it. Absolutely amazing.
Hedgehog Dan
41. TomT
Ah thanks for mentioning that Masha. I was beginning to think I had imagined checking the green/red edition of The Neverending Story out of the libarary in St. Helena, CA. But I see others mentioning it also, so clearly I did indeed find that edition and read it back in College back in the early 80's.

The fact that the movie and book don't match up perfectly has never bothered me. But then I rarely expect movies and books to match well. If they tell the same general story I'm happy.
Hedgehog Dan
43. Alana R.
I adored The Neverending Story, The Last Unicorn, LadyHawke, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, The Hobbit, Star Wars (Return of the Jedi was my favorite, but my husband maintains that Empire is one of the best films ever), E.T., Princess Bride, Legend (among the few Tom Cruise films I actually love), Gremlins, Splash, The Secret of Nimh, Goonies, D.A.R.Y.L., Highlander, Lady in White, The Last Starfighter, My Science Project, Cloak and Dagger, Wargames, Willow, Red Sonja, Conan, Teen Wolf... OK, I'll stop now. I lived and breathed movies growing up, and have tried to get my kids into some of them. The Last Unicorn was a 'win' because even my youngest actually wants to watch it- but Neverending Story and The Dark Crystal scared my kids. Totally wore out my VHS copies when I was still a kid. I guess it really was just a different world- I watched Alien before I was in the 4th grade... but I do still need to read the book The Neverending Story. I did read The Princess Bride, and adore the snarky humor in the book just as much as I love the movie.

Great points that you brought up... and Artax STILL cuts my heart out. So sad. And I totally had a crush on Atreyu- but I agree with many- I will NOT acknowledge the sequel. There WAS no sequel (and don't tell me differently)
Brad Kane
44. bradkane
Reason #10: There's a Hollywood remake in development, and since it probably won't hold a candle to the original, better to enjoy the earlier film now before it becomes confused with the schlock remake.
Hedgehog Dan
45. Karissa
I wore this movie out when I was a kid. As soon as I had a kid old enough to appreciate it, I made him see it too. I've read the book multiple times. I love this movie and (along with princess bride) is one of my all time favorites.
Hedgehog Dan
46. samtrout
one of my favorite child films that is still good today is The Phantom Tollbooth. I also just discovered there was a Never Ending Story III.
http://youtu.be/m_75DCLgVX8
Sean Doherty
47. fight4truth
I enjoyed this post, and hadn't really ever thought to revisit the movie as an adult, but you make a compelling argument to do so!
Another movie that I really enjoyed as a child was "The Flight of Dragons"
Hedgehog Dan
48. Kaylyn
Our family hardly went to movies, but I read so much I could vividly see that movies weren't nearly as good as books. (Disney didn't count: with animation, everything changed anyway.) After saving whatever I'd earned to go see Hollywood's version of a real favorite, I was crushed by Rex Harrison, the doormat version of the pushme-pullyou, and especially the monarch butterfly instead of a Luna moth as Dr.Doolittle's last flyaway. By third grade, I'd switched to TV's Twilight Zone for fantasy.
Hedgehog Dan
49. skrammy
I loved this film as a child - love it just as much as an adult & now my children love it too. We're a family of bookworms & I have always's related to Batian reading via torchlight in the attic. I never thought to look for the book however - so now I will!
Hedgehog Dan
50. Ken Schneyer
A young man once commissioned me to write a scavenger hunt wedding proposal for his girlfriend -- as a Neverending Story fanfic! It was very silly, but a lot of fun to do. Some adults, for sure, are still watching that film.
Hedgehog Dan
51. pe1977
Best. Movie. Ever. Granted watching on DVD for the first time after only seeing it on VHS made me really aware of how fake many of the special effects look but I'm willing to overlook that for the sake of an excellent story. I agree with everything in this article and may in fact go watch the movie again. Right now.

I love the book as well and highly recommend, especially if you can get the original, multi-color text version. A little hard on the eyes but worth it.

A poster above said s/he stopped liking the movie after reading the book and realizing that the second half is cut out of the movie. But they DO make that movie - please see Neverending Story II. Or actually, don't see it. It's terrible. But know that it exists, if it matters that much to you. I'm glad they cut it, really - the movie would have been too long, and it's a whole new plot.

i wonder if I can find a jeweler who will make an Auryn necklace for my very own?
Hedgehog Dan
52. stray
If you go looking for the book in English, get the hardcover with the green and red print. In the US paperback edition they skimped and printed it standard, thus losing a big chunk of the whole point.

Meanwhile, the third translation of Momo into English came out last month. (It's another of Ende's books that makes more sense the older you get.) At that rate, we're way overdue for a new translation of Die unendliche Geschichte. There are also some really great short stories that have never been translated at all, publishers.
Hedgehog Dan
53. Martin Zehr
As a Special Education teacher I used this when working with Severely Emotionally Disturbed boys to unfold the life experiences they may draw from it without attempting to draw out of them their particular trauma they carry within them. It is safe. Every word is profound. Every dialogue and monologue provides insight at many levels. Even the symbolism throughout it is consistent with established archetypes. Jungian insight, Buddhist icons, Christian parables, Native American warrior/hero and elder turtle and a projected affirmation of the human experience with acknowledgement of the tragedy wrapped round it. Existentialist without being preachy, optimistic without being Pollyanna, non-violent without obscuring the conflicts within our lives and the paths we choose. They're all here: the utilitarianism of science and the paralyzing reality of emotions, the victory in defeating our own Gmorks, the randomness of the fates bringing the Luck Dragon and the despair over our inability to lift others when they are sinking in their own swamp of self-destructiveness. "What are the boundaries of Fantasia?" What can we create with our lives, our imagination, our purpose? One speck of sand is all that is needed. One person with one vision, Man and Superman. The constructed journey of Bastian/Atreyo opens the mysticism of humanity. Bastian looks deep within to find the loss and the purpose. Our lives manifest our dramas, project our conflicts and resurrect our sense of purpose. The Neverending Story presumes the capability of human beings to triumph and to fail. It affirms our stories in life as individualized as each of us are and as connected as we all are. For adults? Only adults who can look into the mirror of self-reflection or escape the scripts of authority figures, endure the challenges, and overcome their own doubts and fears can go there.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment