I feel slightly embarrassed and giddy at the same time when I think about this next one.
It featured a mainly child cast, with a sprinkle of a few adults here and there as fill in characters and voices for animated/puppet characters. The story is told through the mind of a child in modern day (1984) America while he is reading a book that a crotchety old book store owner gave him when he sneaked in while running away from bullies before school.
The names of the characters are what stuck with me all of these years:
Bastian, Atreyu, Artax (the horse), Falkor, and G’mork to name a few.
Basically, he finds a nice quiet place to read this book all day while skipping out on school, as the story in the book becomes the movie within the movie (even more so than anticipated as the movie draws to its climax).
As a child, I loved the story and the characters. The scale at which the creators chose to tell this story was rather brave considering the main character within the movie of the movie has to continually jump from one setting to the next while trying to piece together the puzzle that will save his world and everyone that lives in it. There are a ton of set pieces, each with their own unique look and feel and it worked because I was captivated by all of them.
As an adult looking back I feel that this is another story told in the 80s that fed the egos of Gen Xers like myself. Our baby boomer parents loved to tell us that we could be president some day if we worked hard enough and they kept telling us that because we wanted to believe them oh so much. With this film we have children doing adult things again: going on a quest, solving riddles, surviving near death, killing villains, and this time not just saving a town, ultimately saving an entire WORLD.
So why embarrassment with the giddy?
I’m afraid that this film won’t stand the test of time. For 1984, it was great, but the puppeteering and the special effects just won’t hold up to what we are used to today, even just on television. I will try this movie out with my son when he is a little older (not much) and gauge it from his reactions. I think if children see it early enough, it could still hold for a period of time with them as they won’t be jaded. Kids in junior high these days would most likely be bored with this in the first act.
Do I get sucked into the theme that we need to stick with our dreams? Absolutely. So much so, hey, I started a blog in order to continue to keep writing as a major part of my life. I am a sucker for that kind of story and I did like the plot device of tying both worlds together when the climax draws near.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves for our children’s sake of the responsibility we have to continue to pursue that happiness our forefathers were talking about. It’s through our dreams that we can achieve this–even if they don’t work out the way we want them to. Having the pursuit of the dream on the forefront for them to see is a most important thing.
“The Neverending Story” bleeds that expectation throughout it’s action.
So, yes. My son will see it.
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