The NeverEnding Story (1984)

neverending story poster 1984 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Nice all-ages story

Some dated effects

Movie Info

Movie Name: The NeverEnding Story

Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure/Family

Release Date(s): April 6, 1984 (Germany)/July 20, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG

neverending story morla turtle atreyu swamp

I think if they wanted to get real meta, Morla should have told Atreyu a story of a book about boy in Vancouver

Bastian Bux (Barrett Oliver) is dealing with the loss of his mother and bullies at school. When he ducks into a bookshop to avoid the daily shakedown, he discovers a magical book called The Neverending Story. Skipping school, Bastion hides in the attic and begins to read the tale of Fantasia and the danger it is facing. A young warrior named Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) has been dispatched by the Empress (Tami Stronach) to find a way to save the land before it is taken by the Great Nothing. Pursued by the evil Gmork and aided by a luck dragon named Falkor, Atreyu searches for the ends of Fantasia…and Bastian begins to wonder if it is only a book.

Directed by Wolfgang Peterson, The NeverEnding Story is a German family adventuer film (Die unendliche Geschichte). It was based on the popular 1979 book by German author Michael Ende (which I always found ironic).  It received positive reviews and was a big money maker.

neverending story gmork werewolf

Nope…nothing terrifying or nightmare inducing here

The NeverEnding Story was one of the movies that was a big hit when I was young for parties or when friends spent the night, and I can even remember watching it in school. The reason is that it is a fun adventure that is relatively non-threatening and doesn’t have any questionable parts that can worry observant parents. It also came at the cusp of videos being popular so people would rent and re-rent the movie over-and-over again. There are a bit of scares involving the Gmork, but they are quick and not extremely terrifying (except to maybe some young kids).

The movie actually looks quite good, but certain blue screen effects do ruin it nowadays. It was pre-computer animation so large and small scale models are often used for the story. This gives the movie an almost fairytale setting which works since it is a fairytale being read by Bastian. Unfortunately, some of the effects are bad with great improvements in blue screen that would have helped the film.  While most of the film was shot in Germany, the scenes involving Barrett Oliver were shot in Vancouver.

neverending story ending bastian falkor barret oliver

….and using the Luck Dragon, Bastian becomes the ruler of the Earth…and all bow to his power!

The story of The NeverEnding Story is also a lot smarter than a lot of kids’ movies. It has a bit of a post-modern thing going for it where it is very reflective of the idea of it being a story and how readers are often pulled into books. This is a difficult concept to express, but the movie does it simply enough that even kids get what is happening.

The movie only adapts the first half of Ende’s book (the second half involves Bastian’s adventures in Fantasia and his corruption). There were two sequels, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter (1990) and The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1994). The first sequel continued the novel’s adaptation, but the next sequel was a new story. Neither sequel had any carryover cast. A remake or “reimagining” has been in the works but as of now, nothing has fully developed.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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