The Neverending Story – Pt. 1

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Yay for movie recaps! I wanted to switch things up a bit, so let’s see how this goes, shall we? I seriously loved this movie as a kid–still love it, I think. While I’m mostly a fan of the book, the movie holds a special place in my heart for its fantastic creatures and catchy theme song.

I’d be slacking if I didn’t mention the credits at all. They’re decent opening credits–big, fantastic clouds, hints of the Nothing, that famous theme song we’ve all come to love.

Go ahead, Play it. I guarantee it’ll be stuck in your head all damn day.

So then we’re in the real world, and little Bastian is just waking up. He’s got an open book laying nearby, a big one.

If there’s one damn pet peeve I have with this movie, it’s that Bastian is apparently so incredibly brainy because he reads large books.

Which, okay, is kind of a brainy thing to do. But you better believe it gave me a huge complex about my reading material as a kid, thinking it wasn’t “smart” enough because it wasn’t leatherbound and thick as hell.

Ah, if only they would do that to the Choose Your Own Adventure series. I’d totally buy it.

Anyway, over breakfast Bastian has a semi-awkward encounter with his dad. Seems that, ever since the death of his mother, Bastian’s been a little bit distracted. Dad tells him he needs to try to keep his feet on the ground, stop daydreaming, and maybe consider confronting his problems.

My reaction as a kid was to think the dad character was kind of a stupid downer (being a kid who also daydreamed to the detriment of my grades) but as an adult, I kinda see his point.

Hear me out: Bastian’s small for his age, probably doesn’t have a lot of friends, and gets his ass kicked by bullies on a daily basis. He also is apparently obsessed with horses and adventure, but when it comes to getting NEAR a real horse, the kid freaks out.

So Bastian has a few problems, and he uses books and fantasy to cope with that. I can’t really blame him. On the way to school, a couple of bullies chase him down and dump him in one of those big dumpsters.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.31.45 PM

Don't you dare ask the middle one to do the truffle shuffle...

Yeah, I know Bastian’s a dork, but I really hope kids don’t actually do this, at least not downtown in a big city (NYC? Chicago? I’m not sure) where Bastian lives. There’s probably at least one hypodermic needle in there. We’re just a few notches away from a SAW movie.

So Bastian emerges from the dumpster, covered with… like… hay or something. The bullies see him and intend to dump him into the garbage again, but our boy manages to duck into a bookstore, eluding the ruffians.

We all know bullies are allergic to the printed word. It’s why Mike Tyson never really learned how to read.

So here we are in the magical bookstore, where we find this lovely old bastard.

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Ugh, another damn thing that annoys me about this movie. Carl Conrad Coreander (CCC for short) treats Bastian like a piece of crap, acting as if his only customer this morning is a total inconvenience.

You know what, CCC? If I wanted to get shitty customer service, I’d go to the Gap. Small, indie bookstores like yours are having a tough time surviving these days, so you best be nice to your customers.

CCC tells Bastian that he doesn’t belong here, because they sell books. No friggin’ kidding. I thought those were all just fancy coasters, or trick books for hiding candy like Claudia Kishi owns. Fucker.

But CCC insists that Bastian can’t like books and must be looking for the video arcade, but Bastian is all, “Bitch, I love books! I own 183 of them!”

And CCC is all, “Oh, just comic books, I’m sure.”

Fuck you, CCC. Graphic novels are a perfectly legit art form, you stuffy son of a bitch.

Ugh. Can you tell I had arguments about this in library school? ‘Cause I did.

Bastian is well-prepared for this argument, however. He tells CCC that he’s read plenty of books, like LORD OF THE RINGS, TREASURE ISLAND, 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. I say, whatever floats your boat, kid. Somehow, though, I don’t think your argument would have worked for CCC if you had talked about liking books specifically aimed for children. I’m sure those wouldn’t be classic enough or brainy enough for everybody’s favorite elitist old bastard.

Basically, if it was written by a dead white dude, CCC approves of it. Bastian’s speech cows him into acting human for once.

Finally, CCC shows an interest in why the li’l guy ran into the store in such a huff. Bastian talks about the bullies, and CCC suggests punching the bullies in the nose to get them to eff off. But Bastian’s a man of peace/fear, so he doesn’t come up with an answer as to why he doesn’t defend himself.

Blah blah blah… At some point, CCC goes to answer a phone call from another customer (two people in a day? amazing!) and Bastian runs off with a very special book.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.32.13 PM

He’s not actually stealing it. He intends to return it ASAP, but running off with it was his only recourse, as CCC wouldn’t let him buy it no matter how much Bastian begged. That’s right: we’ve got an indie bookstore owner denying service to a willing customer. Is this store a tax write-off as a bad business investment or something?

Yeah, whatever. Bastian’s got the book, and that’s all we care about, dammit. Instead of going to class like a good little boy, he sneaks into the school attic and hunkers down for a nice, long reading sesh.

Yay! As a kid, I found the idea of this incredibly thrilling. As an adult, the purpose of Bastian’s father’s little talk this morning becomes clearer and clearer…

Screw school, I’m goint to Fantasia, where the fairies flutter and the racing snails roam!

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.37.55 PM

If the Rock Biter takes a crap, does that mean we've got another mountain to hike over?

These dudes meet in the forest and decide to camp together. The Night Hob, Rock Biter (not pictured), and pixie-thing are all travelling to the Ivory Tower to ask for help from the Childlike Empress. Seems there’s a dastardly fog-thing called the Nothing that’s popping up in weird patches, making things just disappear.

It’s not destroying anything, mind you. Just making things disappear. It’s pretty odd, actually, and very disconcerting. And the Nothing is spreading! What if it covers the entire land of Fantasia?

Substitute “the Nothing” for “the Gay Agenda” and you might have Carrie Prejean’s book. Maybe. Add some stuff about Perez Hilton, and then we should be good. Slap it between some hard covers and call it a day!

So everybody arrives at the Ivory Tower, and it’s everything we expeted.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.40.48 PM

I’m sure rent must be astronomical, but it’s totally worth it.

We arrive there just in time for Cairon, the Empress’s right-hand man, to make an announcement.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.42.09 PM

"I have a third nipple, and I'm proud of it."

No, not that. The Empress is deathly ill, and it seems to have something to do with the Nothing. The more powerful the Nothing is, the weaker the Empress gets. She’s dying and can’t save Fantasia, but there is one thing that might work.

The Plains People (who hunt the purple buffalo) has among them a great warrior, the only hope to save Fantasia. Did they vote on this or something? I don’t get it. Well, whatever, here he is.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.44.36 PM

"I am twelve-years-old, but I can still beat your ass."

Cut back to Bastian, who’s already creaming his jeans over the arrival of the “great warrior.” He’s elated to find out that Atreyu is just a kid, around his age. I have to admit that I also thought that was pretty cool as a kid.

Atreyu accepts his mission to find a cure for the Empress and save Fantasia. No pressure or anything.

Oh, and he has to leave all his weapons behind. Lame. Who made up these rules?

Atreyu’s a good guy, though. He starts on his quest immediately after receiving the magical Auryn, a token of the Empress’s protection that will help guide him in his quest.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.45.12 PM

Bling bling!

Take care, Atreyu! We get several beautiful shots in which Atreyu is riding his horse, Artax, tomward… umm…

Where is he going, now?

Oh, meanwhile, a “creatuer of darkness” is also getting started on a quest. I know we’re supposed to be afraid and stuff, but it’s just a green-eyed sentient wolf. Not that scary. As a kid, I remember thinking it was really pretty cool looking actually.

Screen shot 2009-11-14 at 5.46.36 PM

"Rawr, bitches!"

Oh well. More next time!

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Posted in Danger, Movie Recaps, Stereotypes
20 comments on “The Neverending Story – Pt. 1
  1. Sadako says:

    “Which, okay, is kind of a brainy thing to do. But you better believe it gave me a huge complex about my reading material as a kid, thinking it wasn’t “smart” enough because it wasn’t leatherbound and thick as hell.”

    I felt that same way! Every single “smart kid” on TV or in movies would be reading physics textbooks, quoting “A Critique of Pure Reason” (thanks, Skeeter), or reading nothing but the classics. I mean, I read a lot of good books but I was like…an addict reader. I LIVED to read so I was reading everything–some good stuff, lots of crap, Goosebumps, BSC…EVERYTHING. You never see that in books/TV shows. People who read read nothing but good stuff, and people who are “dumb” read the chick lit books. You don’t see the readers who read just engulf everything which I think is more realistic.

  2. R. G. Quimby says:

    I KNEW I wasn’t the only kid who felt this way! Hell, I still read “trash” books and get mocked by dedicated lit fic readers as low brow.

    Seriously, WTF is up with that? Most children aren’t going to get into the classics, at least not until they reach a certain maturity level and can grasp that the pacing on classic novels isn’t going to be what they’re used to. At nine, I totally tried to read DRACULA and MOBY DICK because they were supposed to be adventure stories, but I got really bored by them because they were hard to read, with very little action to pay it off.

    Turns out most modern children just don’t get off on the long pacing of novels written 100+ years ago. Surprise, surprise. 🙂

  3. Sadako says:

    I think one of the worst offenders was Arthur. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I adore Arthur. But a 3rd grader–even one with Mr. Ratburn for a teacher–reading the Three Musketeers and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea? I mean, I could barely get through Three Musketeers as an adult–it’s not really all that fun.

  4. Megan says:

    As with the others, I too got a “What, BSC isn’t good enough?” vibe from much of the prevailing media. Of course, I then read Wuthering Heights in the sixth grade and was told that it was “too old” for me, and I couldn’t possibly follow it. Oh bite me. Make up your mind!

    The crush I had on Atreyu…it was unreasonable.

  5. R. G. Quimby says:

    Word. Like I said… pacing! Modern readers are used to a different style of narrative, so naturally most children aren’t going to have the patience for an adventure story that moves at the pace of a drugged stegosaurus.

    And yes, I love Arthur, too. And Marc Brown in general. But I have no idea where he got the idea that a kid that young would be devouring books written in an entirely different linguistic style than he’s used to.

    When I was a kid, that Disney version of the Three Musketeers came out and I was like, “What an awesome adventure!” I tried to read it and was like, “WTF happened to the action scenes?”

    Maybe aardvarks are really patient. Isn’t that what Arthur is? An aardvark? It’s still confusing to me as an adult, seeing as how I thought he was a mutant dog or something as a kid.

  6. R. G. Quimby says:

    @ Megan — I’m right there with you. I think I actually wrote some fanfic about it, such was my love for Atreyu 🙂 I wish I still had it!

  7. Mary says:

    Oh Atreyu! I think the last time I watched this was in 2003, so it’s been quite a while. But I too was totally in love with him back in the day. I remember I would watch the scene where he wakes up in the grumpy couple’s little cave or whatever over and over!
    Also, I made one of my roommates at the time do my eye makeup like the sick childlike empress’…didn’t really work out, but that was some great eye work the makeup artist did on her.

  8. “Go ahead, Play it. I guarantee it’ll be stuck in your head all damn day.”

    I didn’t even have to play it to get that song right in my head! That tune is as relentless as the Reading Rainbow theme.

    “Butterfly in the sky…”

  9. I actually think Bastian is pretty cute.

  10. Sadako says:

    “Maybe aardvarks are really patient. Isn’t that what Arthur is? An aardvark? It’s still confusing to me as an adult, seeing as how I thought he was a mutant dog or something as a kid.”

    I think so. A-a-r-d-v-a-r-k! He used to look more aardvarkish until they gave him a nose job that MJ would envy. But to this day I STILL feel insecure when I watch old Arthur eps (yeah, you know you watch those too on youtube) and even BUSTER talks about stuff like Robin Hood. Buster the SLOW READER was reading better books than I am now!

  11. Adam's Clayton says:

    Oh, good God. I could never watch this movie as a kid. It literally quite literally gave me horrible nightmares. I’d dream Falcor would swoop through my window and eat me. Nevermind that Falcor is, you know, immense and wouldn’t fit in my living room, let alone through my three foot by two foot window. Still have never attempted to watch this movie as an adult. Should I swallow my fear?

  12. R. G. Quimby says:

    Haha! I never really thought about the potential scariness of this movie until now, but after asking around, it seems like The Neverending Story scared the crap out of a lot of kids. I always thought that Falcor was sort of cute and puppy-like, though. But then again, I also thought the evil wolf was sort of pretty, so obviously I was sort of a strange child. After watching that evil clown movie from Stephen King, i think my scale got misaligned. If it wasn’t a scary clown, I was okay, I guess. 🙂

  13. Sadako says:

    I thought Falcor was cute and kind of scary. He was puppy like. Like a big white dog you could ride.

    New update soon? 😀

  14. R. G. Quimby says:

    Soon. I promise! I can’t just leave poor Atreyu alone with that freaky wolf. I have a conscience. 🙂

  15. Albert says:

    Great recap! I actually wrote my own recap of this movie a while back (check the link on my name), but I think yours is funnier.

    I know you haven’t updated since November, but I hope you get back to writing recaps soon, because this blog is hilarious!

  16. R. G. Quimby says:

    OMG, you’re so sweet!

    Honestly, I’ve got no excuse for my lack of recaps, but I’m planning to get back in the saddle soon. The last few months have been… umm… eventful? But it can’t be all work, work, work. Building a secret villain lair takes time and patience, but that’s no reason to neglect my recaps. Seriously, though… Thanks for the nice comment. I was on the fence about re-starting the blog, but hearing that someone still wants to hear my snark fills me with warm (yet snarky) fuzzies.

  17. Paris Hilton…you love her or you do hate her. I still need to make my ultimate judgement…lol. However I like her puppy 🙂

  18. R. G. Quimby says:

    I’m with you, Rachel. I’m not sure whether or not Paris is actually dumb as a stick, or some kind of evil mastermind playing us all for fools. It’s so hard to say.

    But yes, I think her taste in dogs is adorable. 🙂

  19. Amiee says:

    I just rediscovered your blog and come back! I was thinking of recaping this movie but am liking your version and want part 2!

  20. R. G. Quimby says:

    Aww, thanks Amiee.

    For the record, I’d love to see another recap of this movie, especially since I’m dragging my feet on finishing it. 😦

    Part of it is because I need to get a hold of the DVD again, which is kind of unfortunate. What kind of 90’s blogger am I to not have a copy of this movie?!

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