Sunday, July 02, 2006

Fantasia can arise anew

Forget Legend and Labyrinth with their scientologist forest children and ginormous codpieces, if you were a fantasy movie in the 1980s, you wanted to be Neverending Story.

After being picked on by bullies, Bastian retreats to the really creepy attic that is somehow located at his school. Once he begins reading the leatherbound book, the story shifts to the magical world of Fantasia that is on the verge of being completely destroyed by the Nothing. The only hope for Fantasia rests with the young hero, Atreyu, who can restore Fantasia by giving the Childlike Empress a new name. Aided by his trusty steed Artax and Falkor, a white dragon that used to scare the bejeezus out of me when I was young, Atreyu sets out on his quest to save Fantasia from the Nothing.

Neverending Story is really a unique children's movie in that it deals with the concept of death. While trudging through the Swamp of Sadness, Artax becomes trapped in quicksand and drowns. Watching it, even now, is incredibly depressing. The scene really adds to the film and I think contributes to the reason it hasn't fallen away along with countless other children's movies that are all sunshine and farts.

For the time, the special effects were quite good, although by today's standards are quite dated.
The one thing that always bugged me about the film was that damn dragon, Falkor. The wolf beast never bothered me, but that dragon was scary. I mean, look at him. Ugh, creepy.

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