WHEN: 5:35 am EST, December 22nd, 2013
WHERE: The living room of my apartment in Portland
FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: I’m eating breakfast and I’m anxious to begin.
My plan for my this viewing is to type while I watch The NeverEnding Story for the final time this year. I wanted to do a stream-of-consciousness article to wrap up this crazy experiment. I am equal parts eager and melancholy.
I still enjoy this opening and even Limahl cannot ruin these sweet cloud effects.
Farewell, excessively German crew members.
What does the rest of Bastian’s room look like? Probably more bookshelves and pictures of famous American Indians.
Bastian’s dad helps him to open the can of jelly like he’s actually trying to show off his superior strength to an 11 year old. Good thing he drinks all those egg and OJ shakes to maintain his massive muscle structure.
I won’t have to watch this painful family interaction again. It’s truly torturous.
These bullies rarely speak on screen. Most of their dialogue is ADR. The best insult: “Hey fella!” What tween (even in the ’80s) uses the term “fella” unless they’re rubbing a dog’s tummy?
I try to read those newspapers every once in awhile. They look mostly like the financial sections, so I guess Mr. Koreander has some stocks.
Bastian’s school looks so much like my middle school with all the art in the hallways. I even recognize the poster with turkeys on it next to the attic door.
I’ve pondered several times about writing an article on how the attic is a reflection of the unconscious. It is located in the topmost part of a structure and houses all the memories that have been stored for later use by others. Bastian enters and begins his journey into Fantasia. It’s all very Jungian.
The Rockbiter effects are well-done. The screen is seamless between him and Night Hob and Teeny Weeny. I pretty much love all the effects in this film. I still don’t know how the screen with Atreyu looking through Engywook’s telescope is done. It must be some combination of green screen and forced perspective. I love it.
The racing snail and stupid bat are awesome puppets. I know I’ve spent time talking about the poor execution of the articulation, but those two creatures are solidly done. Also, it’s hard when the puppeteers aren’t also the voice. They had to match someone’s voice or the person had to match the mouth. Either is pretty tricky to do.
The first appearance of the Nothing always scared me as a kid.
The first appearance of the Ivory Tower still makes me giddy and smile. The music, the matte painting, the model work, all add up to a great establishment of the beauty and grandeur of Fantasia and the Empress. It’s surreal and beautiful and magical and amazing.
The flower petal door is still weird to me. Who wants a wall that has stairs and people’s feet all over it?
I do like that Fantasia has buffalo instead of a large creature that looks like a buffalo, but is called something whimsical just because it’s a fantasy book.
Cairon’s rules for questing are weird ones. You cannot ask any advice? Then how is Atreyu supposed to find anything? And if he must go alone, then why does he bring Artax? These are pretty silly rules in my opinion. Also, no weapons, but the AURYN is okay because it’s cool or something. Atreyu takes all this without question.
My final time dealing with G’mork. I’m quite surprised he hasn’t made it into any dreams. He was so scary as a child that I was sure he would. I know I’ve matured and can tell fantasy from reality, but G’mork is so inherently evil and his presentation is so well done that I figured my lizard brain would grab on to the wolf symbolism at some point. He is right on their trail, too.
And no crying during the Swamps of Sadness. Artax’s death scene has become a hump to get over. Atreyu needs to become tragic and face some severe obstacle on his journey. It’s well-edited, though. Atreyu’s yelling echoing through the black screen. Then Atreyu just sitting by a puddle. Good work, Wolfgang.
Shell Mountain is kind of an obvious name, right? Morla‘s ponderous conversation style still makes me happy. I enjoy mouthing along with her dialogue. Her scene is my second favorite, right after the climax. I’ll even take the silly sneezes.
I can’t quote the entire film. I still mess up some of my favorite parts. You’d think I’d have it all stored up in my brain, but nope.
Falkor’s creepiness just continues to add to itself each viewing. I loved him as a kid, but this project has given me the opportunity to see how oblivious the crew must have been. He’s not endearing anymore, just kind of there as help for Atreyu. Atreyu has no reason to trust Falkor, but the two join forces right away.
Bastian’s decision to stay in the dark attic always confused me. You can finish the book later. Unless it has some sort of magic that induces the reader to complete it once they begin.
Seriously, Atreyu watches someone get fried by the magic eye lasers of death and decides to “try it.” I think maybe he secretly knows that if he fails then he wasn’t supposed to be the hero anyways and the pain of further trials will be over swiftly. It’s a brutal death to witness, but he thinks real hard, then jumps at the opportunity to die.
Engywook didn’t get time to tell Atreyu to bring some warmer clothes, either. The Magic Mirror Gate and the Southern Oracle both look pretty cold. Or maybe it’s magic snow that isn’t actually cold. Or something dumb like that. Plus, the Magic Mirror is a pretty cool test. Atreyu is just confused while Bastian gets to freak out.
Atreyu gets pretty pissed when he finds out how to save the Empress. A name? Seriously? He really wants to call bullshit on the whole quest at this point.
Falkor’s assurance that they can find the boundaries of Fantasia and a human child “with luck” is not really encouraging and I might try to find a different dragon at that point.
Atreyu’s ride through Fantasia is meditative.
Bastian’s love of his mother‘s name is a little creepy with a sprinkling of Oedipal Complex.
When I was young, I used to not be able to tell if Atreyu was a girl or a boy. I knew he was a boy for sure because you see his nipples on the beach and girls can’t show their nipples. Child logic for the win.
Rockbiter gives a compelling performance. Life sucks at this point for everyone.
This is the last time I have to deal with the weird Fresco Room. But I’m a bit sad to say good-bye to the face off between Atreyu and G’mork. It’s a good way to insert exposition in a menacing manner.
The Ivory Tower appearing in space is pretty sweet. It’s a nice bookend to its first appearance at the beginning. The shots are similar and show the destruction while highlighting that the tower is still holding strong, so there’s hope.
Tami Stronach still is and always will be amazing as the Childlike Empress. So impressive. Her voice is magic.
The Big Reveal still gets me. I’m part of The NeverEnding Story!
The darkness is pure genius. So simple, but rife with symbolism. They are in the time before time, the womb of Fantasia’s conception.
One final dragon ride for the road, folks.
I’m so happy to be done. Thank you, cast and crew, for a fabulous year. I’m not going to miss the sacrifice of time I committed to this project, but I will miss Fantasia. Will I watch The NeverEnding Story ever again? Yes, but that’s… another story. So, a fond farewell to all and may your days be filled with adventure.