WHEN: 5:12 pm EST, September 4th, 2013

WHERE: The living room of my apartment in Portland

FORMAT: Blu-Ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV


PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Meh. Second day with the kids back at work. I really want a coffee.

One of my favorite parts of The NeverEnding Story, even now, is when the Rockbiter sighs dreamily and says, “I never knew it was that beautiful.” The score swells magnificently and the Ivory Tower comes into view.

The music, the mystery, and the serene power of the tower are extensions of the Childlike Empress. This place is her home. Yet there’s very little explained about the massive structure at the heart of Fantasia. Yes, it’s intimidatingly beautiful, but it lacks some practical elements. I’m thinking that elevators might not be a thing in Fantasia, for example.

How the hell do you get to the top? Actually, how do you manage to even get in? There appear to be lights that indicate roads on the  rocky exterior. Maybe there’s even a city surrounding the tower. I would think that, as the center of Fantasia’s power, the Empress would consider making the whole thing more accessible to her subjects. Maybe from a security standpoint this is good, but it’s just plain inconvenient for the masses trying to see her. Seriously, there are no discernible entrances.

Was I supposed to bring rappelling gear?

Now, imagine you are a Fantasian who is trying to see the Childlike Empress because your lands are being destroyed by the Nothing. You have somehow found the front door to the Ivory Tower (lucky you!) but now you must make the journey to the top. You had better hope that there are some magical shenanigans to escort you there or you’re about to be introduced to your quads.

Hello there!

Or maybe you have wings and just jet it to the top like the Night Hob. Once you do the reach the top, prepare to see the least convenient meeting hall ever.

Who thinks that a balcony is a good place to hold a meeting? There are no awnings or anything and the acoustics must be horrible. Plus the air temperature up that high is frigid.  The Rockbiter wouldn’t even fit through the non-door. Also, there’s no way that thing could accommodate all the representatives from Fantasia. But this is where the Childlike Empress thinks it’s best to address her people, so I’m sure there’s some mystical reason behind the whole thing.

I also have to wonder if anyone else lives in the Ivory Tower. I assume that the Empress must have attendants, guards, cooks, maids, advisers, and a myriad of other denizens living there, too. If not, it’s a waste of space for just one person. The Empress may want to put her power on display, but she doesn’t seem the type to flaunt it with an ornamental monolith.

Despite my complaints about the architecture, the Ivory Tower is gorgeous. It’s a perfect example of an axis mundi, for you symbolism nerds. The tower bursts forth from the ground, glowing in the sun. It’s the heart of Fantasia and the home of the Childlike Empress. There are some faults that I can imagine, but I think, ultimately, the Ivory Tower is a fantastic set piece and beautifully represented in the film. The tower is a case where aesthetics are more important than function.

Except the vagina door. It’s gotta go.