Film Friday Flashback: The Never Ending Story

It’s my first week of Flashback Film Friday! I hope you guys enjoy this summer feature, and PLEASE comment on movies you loved as a child and what you love and remember about them! I would love to get some nostalgic discussions going! I chose The Never Ending Story series for my first post; it wasn’t necessarily a series I watched a ton as a kid, but I definitely remember enjoying it.

The Never Ending Story

Before watching it:

I vaguely remember characters/snippets from this movie. Atreyu and his horse (I remember him dying in the swamp), and Falkor, the luck dragon, and the childlike Empress. But that’s about it. I remember Bastian reading and skipping class. I remember The Nothing eating everything in Fantasia.

After Watching it again:

Wow, this is a depressing movie! There’s so many sad things, like Artax, Atreyu’s horse dying, the rock giant giving up and letting himself be swept away by The Nothing. And the childlike Empress is WAY younger than I remember her being, not to mention a little creepy. Everything Bastian says is SO DRAMATIC. His lines were cracking me up; and Areyu yells practically half his lines, if not more.

But what I didn’t remember was how clever the premise behind the story is. The idea that Bastian has to see the story through Atreyu’s eyes before he can be the ultimate hero is a fascinating premise. Sure the special effects are not great (it’s the 80’s, what do you expect?), but all in all, it’s an entertaining movie. Maybe I enjoyed it because of the nostalgia, but I was definitely entertained.

Favorite Moment:

When Atreyu first arrives at the Ivory Tower, and everyone’s like, you’re just a boy, we want Atreyu the man! And he’s like I am a warrior. But if you don’t need me, I guess I’ll be going. Such a sass.

Least Favorite Moment:

Artax dying in the swamp 🙁

The Never Ending Story 2: The Next Chapter

Before watching it:

Literally the only memory I have of the second movie is the rock giant riding his rock bike and singing “Born to be Wild”. Or is that the third one?

After Watching it:

Ok, so the Rock Biter riding his bike must be in the third one. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen this before. The Next Chapter seriously suffers from poorly planned sequel syndrome. This is nothing like the first one, aside from the same characters (played, alas, by different actors). The first is a fantastical albeit sad romp through a fantasy world, impressing upon watchers the importance of books and stories. The second is a weird tale of a wicked witch (more or less) who wants to take over Fantasia by manipulating Bastian, and banishing the Childlike Empress. It was weird, and far less profound than the first. Plus, the sub story of Bastian’s father reading the story as it happens was cheesy. Now, it was still a mildly entertaining fantasy movie, but it falls very short of the first. At some point I may watch the first one again, but it’s unlikely I’ll see the second again. The bright spot here is Atreyu; even though he’s a static character, he has some funny moments, and he’s the warrior of the pair. Bastian just sort of runs around being like I’M IN FANTASIA LOLOLOLOL WHAT FUN and then he starts making wishes willy nilly, which allows the big bad witch lady to steal his memories, which somehow helps her take control of Fantasia? It’s a mess.

The special effects are still outdated (still the 80’s) and the creatures are from Jim Henson. I would say that the sets/landscapes are imaginative and cool to look at. The Childlike Empress is SO MUCH BETTER in the first movie, it’s almost laughable. In the first she’s almost like a frail angel, trying to make Bastian understand what is happening. The actress was perfectly chosen. In the second, it was like, oh hey, here’s a girl, who has a similar type voice but doesn’t have the same frailty that the girl from the first had, so she just ended up being weird and incongruent.

Favorite Moment:

Atreyu. He’s such a beast. Gotta love him.

Least Favorite Moment:

Pretty much everything Bastian does. And the childlike Empress. She was so much better in the first movie. Also Falkor’s voice was super creepy in this one.

The Never Ending Story 3: Escape from Fantasia

Before:

So THIS is the one with the Rock Biter riding his bike and singing Born to be Wild. Also, Jack Black is the villain in the human world! I definitely remember that. He’s this jerk who is always taunting Bastian.

After:

Ok, I remember way more of this one. I must have watched it more often, because I remember a lot of this. And I’m not gonna lie, I was laughing pretty hard, especially at The Nasties; I mean, it’s hard to take Jack Black seriously as a villain. Now, this one is again, nowhere near as profound or creative as the original, but it’s still entertaining. The special effects are a bit better, the Jim Henson Creatures are more intricate, and Jason James Richter as Bastian is a better actor than the previous Bastians. I didn’t like the new Rock Biters; they were much cooler in the first two. And Falkor’s voice is best in the first one. It’s fun seeing the Fantasians in the human world; though much of their dialogue is super cheesy. I really liked Bastian’s new mother; she’s trying so hard to be accepting, since she’s his new stepmom, and she’s always trying to be super nice and ok with all of Bastian’s bizarre behavior. I do think it’s funny that every movie, Bastian finds the Never Ending Story book and he’s like, “oh look, it’s the Never Ending Story” like it’s not this magical portal into a fantasy world.

Favorite Moment:

The Nasties crack me up. Pretty much all of their scenes are hilarious. And Jason James Richter as Bastian has much better acting.

Least Favorite Moment:

They modernized the Fantasians, giving them cheesy dialogue, breaking the illusion  of Fantasia being a different world. Also, WHERE IS ATREYU???

Conclusion:

The first one is the best, not that anyone is surprised. It has a very clever premise, and it feels like it’s based on a book, where the other two feel very much like kids movie sequels. All in all, I really enjoyed the first one.

Do you remember watching The Never Ending Story? What are your favorite memories from this classic Fantasy?

5 comments

  1. Olivia says:

    I remember watching the first and second movies of the Never Ending movies in class. I found that they were fascinating but when I was a child they didn’t hold my attention much. Maybe that means I should rewatch them!

    I recently watched Beauty and the Beast for the first time in 10 years. I loved it, and was just as captivated as before. There was a violent part that shocked me at its extent, but the majority of it was funny and sweet :3

    Check out my book review: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2015/06/ruination-review.html
    Olivia recently posted…Ruination (Review)My Profile

    • Jessica says:

      I definitely recommend re watching the first one! It really is a clever story, although the production quality isn’t terribly great (oh the 80’s). Very nostalgic and and a great fantasy story.

      Gotta love Beauty and the Beast. I’m a Disney addict so I don’t think I’ll ever not love anything Disney 🙂
      Jessica recently posted…Book Review: BitterblueMy Profile

  2. Lauren says:

    You forgot my favorite characters!

    I always remember the sneezing turtle from the original and the second movie was my favorite. I’m sure it was because it was creepy. And the bird was annoying and sweet all at the same time.

  3. Christine says:

    I’m impressed you watched all three. I vaguely remember the 2nd, but must have not tried the 3rd since none of that sounds remotely familiar! We got the special version blu-ray version of numero uno from my brother who apparently remembers it VERY fondly from our youth!

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