The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 fantasy movie, based on the book of the same name written by Michael Ende. The film spawned two sequels, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter in 1990, and The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia in 1994. Due to the time gaps between the films different actors obviously had to play the parts of the child characters, although each of the films centres around main character Bastian.
Bastian is a young daydreamer who’s mother died when he was very young. He is picked on at school, and it is whilst running away from the bullies that he comes across an old book shop. The owner of the book shop is reading a large, old looking book entitled The NeverEnding Story. Bastian asks if he may read the book, but the owner tells him it is not safe. This just makes Bastian even more curious, and when the owner leaves to answer a phone call he borrows the book, intending to bring it back when he has read it.
Bastian sits down to read the book, which is about the land of Fantasia and its inhabitants. Unfortunately for Fantasia, it is under attack by a strange force called The Nothing which is gradually erasing parts of Fantasia from existence. The horrified occupants journey to the Ivory Tower to speak with the childlike Empress about the situation, but the childlike Empress is also under attack by The Nothing and has fallen into illness. She has however summoned a great warrior named Atreyu, who turns out to be a child too. He is given an amulet called Auryn to help him on his quest to save Fantasia.
Atreyu first seeks out Morla, a wise turtle like being who lives in the Swamps of Sadness. When Bastian reads the description of Morla in the book he makes a noise which Atreyu and Morla hear. Whilst thinking this strange, Bastian assumes it is a coincidence and reads on. Morla directs Atreyu onwards to see The Southern Oracle for more help, so he journeys across the swamps but becomes overcome by feelings of sadness. He is almost caught by the G’mork, a werewolf creature send by The Nothing to stop Atreyu, but is rescued by Falkor, a giant white luckdragon.
Falkor helps Atreyu to get as close to The Southern Oracle as possible, but he must continue alone past two Sphinxes and a snowstorm to reach the Magic Mirror Gate. When Atreyu looks into the mirror he sees Bastian reading the book, and it is now that Bastian finally realises that the book he his reading is more than just a book. Atreyu goes through the Mirror Gate and talks with The Southern Oracle, who begins to crumble to dust. Before it does, it tells Atreyu that the only way to save Fantasia is for the Empress to be given a new name by a human child who can be found beyond the boundaries of Fantasia. As you may guess, this child is of course Bastian.
Atreyu returns to Falkor and flies madly around Fantasia trying to find its boundary, but Fantasia is disappearing faster and faster. Still reading the story Bastian starts to panic as he has realised that Fantasia represents his own imagination, but just as Fantasia is about to be destroyed completely he yells out a new name for the Empress – Moonchild. Suddenly he finds himself standing in the Ivory Tower with the Empress, who tells him that all that is left of Fantasia is a single grain. Luckily this grain is still enough for Bastian to be able to use it as a seed for re-imagining Fantasia. This he does, restoring Fantasia to its former glory, and he is treated to a flight around the world on Falkor.
The NeverEnding Story is a fine fantasy film with a great array of weird and wonderful characters. Whilst the sequels don’t quite match up to the quality of the first film, they do all share one thing in common – the haunting theme tune provided by 1980’s pop star Limahl.