Saturday Movie Review – “The Neverending Story”

When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t go to a
birthday party without them renting this. There are
several very good reasons for that.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Barret Oliver as Bastian Bux

Noah Hathaway as Atreyu

Tami Stronach as the Childlike Empress

The screenplay was by Wolfgang Peterson, Herman Weigel, and Robert Easton, based on a novel by Michael Ende.

Directed by Wolfgang Peterson.

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Premise

A boy finds a remarkably involving book in a local bookstore.

High Point

The second alley scene.

Low Point

The limitations of the day’s animatronics were obvious in a few places. If they had the same creative freedom with a large budget budget and full access to today’s technology, it would be darn near perfect.

The Scores

This is a family movie that entertains the adults, delivers a non-preachy yet clearly positive message, and involves the viewer in a fun story. There sure aren’t too many of those around, and there were even fewer in 1984. I give the originality 5 out of 6, hampered only because it was an adaptation.

The effects were very good in most areas, but as I mentioned above, the limitations of the animatronics were clear. (Most of these limitations appear as issue with lip sync, the G’mork attack, manipulating props such as the amulet, and so forth.) Unfortunately, the moments where the limits were hit were obvious and somewhat common. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story has an excellent combination of fun and encouragement. They did a great job, with some nice attention to detail. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was great, particularly from so young a cast. They were very well chosen. One good child actor is hard to find, and this movie stars no less than three of them. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is very positive. It’s a fun and involving movie, even when I watch it at my age. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is pretty slow for many kids, but otherwise, it’s well done. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, anyone who has kids or remembers being a kid should check this out. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Neverending Story receives 34 out of 42.

9 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “The Neverending Story””

  1. Amanda Hugandkiss says:

    Great film
    I used to watch this a lot when I was a kid (I was ten when it was released). It’s a terrific film, with a very strong message. Absolutely wonderful.

    I’ve since read the book (I was *ecstatic* when I found out the book continued well past the movie’s ending) and many of the other books Ende wrote.

  2. Cerberus7 says:

    +2 Mod of Child Fandom
    Fair scores all around viewing the film from today’s standpoint, but I’d give a +1 to the effects and +1 to the production. The issues you cited were never a problem for myself or my friends with this movie. That, and I’m a huge fan of this film and I just need to give it a 36. I have yet to read the book (it’s on my list), but I suspect I’ll enjoy it.

  3. nidx says:

    Amazing movie
    when i was under 16 this was my favourite movie of all time (now it is just my favourite "kids" movie of all time) i should really re-watch the dvd

    My favourite things about the movie were the secret room in the school and the kid being cought in a book for hours upon hours. the neverending snake symbol was amazing… LOVE that movie

    • AceCaseOR says:

      Re: Amazing movie

      My favourite things about the movie were the secret room in the school and the kid being cought in a book for hours upon hours. the neverending snake symbol was amazing… LOVE that movie.

      Agreed. One of the many things I remember about watching the film is wishing that my school had a secret room like that.

  4. Jethro says:

    Meeeeemoriessss…
    I looooved that movie when I was a kid. Absolutely loved it. As a kid who used to get completely absorbed in books, it spoke to me on many levels (:

    It was also the first movie I read the book for, and realized how much better books can be than the movies made out of them. If any of you haven’t read the book, GO GET IT. The point where the movie ends is the MIDDLE of the book! And no, Neverending Story 2 has nothing to do with the book.

    • Amanda Hugandkiss says:

      Re: Meeeeemoriessss…

      If any of you haven’t read the book, GO GET IT. The point where the movie ends is the MIDDLE of the book! And no, Neverending Story 2 has nothing to do with the book.

      I wouldn’t really say that, as a lof of the events in the second movie took pages from the middle part of the book. Still, the second movie was a bad adaption and could never rival the first movie’s emotional theme.

  5. Abednigo says:

    What name did he give the empress?
    I’ve watched this movie dozens of times (not on DVD though which might help), but I could never understand the name he gives the empress at the end. Anyone know?

    I’m definitely going to check out the book.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: What name did he give the empress?

      I’ve watched this movie dozens of times (not on DVD though which might help), but I could never understand the name he gives the empress at the end. Anyone know?

      I’ve never heard the name clearly. In fact, I’m pretty convinced that it was deliberately left muddled and ambiguous so that the kids in the audience could imagine whatever name they wanted.

    • taumeson says:

      Re: What name did he give the empress?

      I’ve watched this movie dozens of times (not on DVD though which might help), but I could never understand the name he gives the empress at the end. Anyone know?

      I’m definitely going to check out the book.

      The name is "Moonchild". Interesting name; his mom was obviously a hippie. :)

      The Neverending story is my official "favorite movie". I’ve read the book, as well.

      Sure, there are other movies that really gave me an emotional hit…Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, for instance. And watching the Neverend Story now doesn’t make me feel quite the same, but I’ve got so many memories of so many emotions…I think it just makes every movie pale by comparison.

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