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THE NEVERENDING STORY

The Neverending Story is something we all saw as children. It burned into our young minds with its incredibly odd, overproduced and underambitious world of a child who gets lost in a book, and eventually saves a mystical universe from annihilation because he shouts out his mother's name (and just what was that name?).

Though there's no doubt that as a movie, the Neverending Story could have been leagues better in writing and production. Let's go past that. Let's go even past the fact that no studio ever had any business putting anything as scary as that wolf-monster or as sad as that horse-death (ORRRTEEEXXXX!!!) in a CHILDREN'S MOVIE. At the very heart, I found, was an epic film of heroism and fantasy.

I marvelled at the scenery in the first hour, I gaped at the characters. The rock-biter scene astonished me. It looked very real. The establishing shot of the crystal palace knocked the wind out of me. I felt that this was the only evidence of a more ambitious film that the writer intended, because as soon as "Atrayou" came into the scene, the mighty "hunter of the purple buffalo", I scoffed. "Scoff scoff!" I said, "what the hell can you do?? you're just some little wiener-head with a horse and a flimsy vest! You can't possibly hurt the nothing, you can't even hurt that wolf guy, you don't even have a weapon!". I kept at it... this kept things fun.

After the first hour, there's little to be found. Morla, the giant turle was great, and the luck dragon/oracle scene was nifty, but not worth trudging through the emotional dreck of Ortex drowning, and the terror of facing that wolfey-thing. There's also the fact that you keep demanding answers of the movie: why's this kid care so much about what happens next? Why does Ortex go down? What makes this Atrayou kid such a hot warrior? Why does this luck dragon help this schlep kid? How is Bastion going to save "fantasia" by screaming out his mother's name, and, most of all: WHAT'S THE NAME BASTION SCREAMS OUT? It's wholly unintelligible.

GRADE: B

The first hour is excellent. After that, watch for Morla the turtle and the oracle scene, but use the fast forward button.

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