WHEN: 3:24 pm EST, December 15th, 2013
WHERE: The living room of my apartment in Portland
FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV
COMPANY: Cinemanaut Bill typing beside me on the couch.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: It’s a snowy day and I’m still in my pajamas. I just shoveled out my car.
The costume and make-up departments in The NeverEnding Story do a fairly good job designing creatures to inhabit Fantasia. The puppets and the actors add to the fantasy atmosphere. But there are some shortcomings. The widest range of creatures is seen when the Empress’s herald, Cairon, addresses the crowd at the Ivory Tower.
There’s a lot going on in just this shot. There are some creatures that are actually present on the set and there are also silhouettes of others. Check out E.T. and the two Ewoks in the lower right, for example. We never get to see these creatures up close throughout the rest of the scene, but they’re there.
Since I’ve seen this whole thing play out 51 times now, I’ve made a short catalog of the types of creatures that inhabit Fantasia. The most important quality in most Fantasians is having multiple faces or heads.
These faces are done really well, but they’re also creepy and make me think that there’s some serious inbreeding going on within Fantasian royalty.
See! And what happens when one head wants to talk to another head on someone else? Can the heads talk to each other? How much time does it take to shave four faces? Bird Man is unimpressed with these people.
Then there’s those things in the upper left. Just look at the ridiculousness. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of wolf head with a goat head on the black one, which means that it could possibly attack itself. And that weird monkey-headed thing is incomprehensible. Thanks, David Lynch.
There are some creatures that make me laugh, though, mostly because of their simplicity. There are plenty of Fantasians that look like the costume department grabbed whatever was close and called it good enough.
The big heads make sense and look cool, but check out Death there in the middle. He has the balls to show up when the Empress is dying, acting all sincere and confused. And those dudes with the palm tree hats are lame. They look like they’re wearing green nighties and a fourth grader’s papier-mâché project on their heads.
Then there are some creatures that cannot be unseen.
This is the real elephant man, my friends. The head of an elephant on the body of a man. He’s even festooned with circus decorations, which seems quite odd in a place like Fantasia, but, hey, it’s an elephant-headed creature.
If you look closely, you will also discover the Golden KKK. They are scattered about the room, but they are proof that, even in Fantasia, bigotry exists. As does bedazzling. Plus, Fish Man is over on the right being his fishy self.
Perhaps my favorite character– the character that I get distracted watching instead of listening to Atreyu– is the angry child butterfly. He’s on the left, trying to kill Atreyu with his brain.
Look how pissed he is. His mood doesn’t change for the entire scene. I’m sure this little boy showed up thinking he might get to dress like an elf or something cool and furry, maybe carry a sword, but no. He’s in a lame gray leotard with glittery wings and he wants the world to know his dissatisfaction.
The point is, these are all creatures that Bastian helps make up. I’m sure the book has a brief mention of some of those in attendance, but Bastian fills up the rest of the room with his own imagination. His psyche is responsible for Angry Butterfly Boy and Three-Headed Goat Thing. This is the hero that is tasked with wishing Fantasia back into existence.