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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh well. More next time!