I guess this is a weird reason to revisit a family fantasy classic that’s treasured around the world, but I felt like after spending so much time on WARRIORS OF VIRTUE I had an ethical duty to review another first-English-language-movie-by-an-internationally-acclaimed-director, THE NEVERENDING STORY. I saw it in the theater 39 years ago and I remembered it enough to know WARRIORS kinda ripped off its kid-picked-on-by-bullies-given-large-leatherbound-book-magically-connected-to-a-fantasy-world format. I did not remember that in this one the kid just reads about the fantasy world, he doesn’t go there. But there was another detail that did stick in my brain, one that I had to question because it seems so fucking crazy: could it possibly be true that there are no kung fu animals in this one at all? Believe it or not, that is true. What the fuck kind of lunatic wants a story without kung fu animals to never end!? It’s absurd! But somehow they make it work.
Watching it again, I laughed at how quickly it gets into it – not the fantasy world, but the theme song. Limahl and Beth Anderson crooning “The Neverending Stoooor-ryyy, ooo ooow ooh oooowoo ooh, the Neverending Stooor-ryyy…” over Giorgio Moroder synths and footage of clouds. One thing this opening sequence gets across very clearly is that if you want to see a movie called THE NEVERENDING STORY, you came to the right place.
The kid is named Bastian, played by Barret Oliver (Kid #2, UNCOMMON VALOR). We don’t see too much of his life, but we pick up on a few things. His mom died fairly recently. His dad (Gerald McRaney, MOTORCYCLE GANG) is emotionally distant and tells him to keep his head out of the clouds, which the credits already told us is the opposite of what you gotta do in a neverending story. (read the rest of this shit…)