Review: The NeverEnding Story (1984) spoilers included

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Rating U

Length 1hr 42

Release 4.4.1985

Director Wolfgang Peterson

About A troubled boy dives into a wondrous fantasy world through the pages of a mysterious book


The Good

The physical effects are amazing considering the time. The dragon Rankor is a delight to watch. They’re not Jim Henson quality, but they have charm and grandeur.

Arteyu is a solid character that I really felt for. The actor, Noah Hathaway, brought a strength to the role that you don’t often find and with another actor he may have seemed whingey and petulant. I almost wish they’d done away with the meta layering and told me a straight story about Arteyu.

It has that vibe all children’s films had at that time; adventure that may or may not be real. now with added nostalgia to keep it as a firm favourite. For everyone but me, that is.

The Bad

The meta is handled better in films like The Lego Movie. I found the passing back and forth between Bastian and Arteyu a little clunky and distracted me from engaging with either one. I felt almost as if we spent a little too long with Bastian at the beginning with no payoff at the end.

Artax (the horse) dies way, way, way too soon. Had I have seen it as a kid, perhaps I’d have felt more. However, this is a time in which I’ve cried over a messenger owl I’ve gotten to know well over 6 books, I need a little more engagement to feel the loss. Plus, Marvel making me cry over so many characters (yes, I’m looking at you Loki) to discover they’re not quite dead yet, means this just felt lacklustre.

The Ugly

– For me, the biggest problem with this film is that we never have our three main players, Bastian, Arreyu and the Childlike Empress, in the same scene. The fact that Bastian never has a conversation with Arteyu was a massive blow for me.

Final Thoughts

-Why does it have to be so depressing? Yeah, I know we get that ‘upbeat’ ending… but it all feels a little rushed and so I didn’t end the film feeling uplifted.

I wish it had remained in my ‘Ive not seen…’ pile. My only worry now is; if I ever have kids, I HAVE to show them this. It would just be my luck that it ends up their favourite.

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