The NeverEnding Story (1984)

The Never Ending Story

The Never Ending Story

The NeverEnding Story Review

The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 fantasy film directed by Wolfgang Petersen and it is about a young boy who reads a book in which a warrior must save a dying land from a dark force. It is one of the most highly regarded and fondly remembered children’s films and it achieved that status quite rightfully.

The movie has quite a typical story at first, but it gets progressively sophisticated and special as it continues. It has such a terrific world building here which truly is extraordinary creating this beautiful whole new fantasy world of wonder. And all of the creatures are wonderfully imagined and depicted. It has a problem and that is the second act which is very inferior to the rest of the movie and quite frankly even boring and uninspired at times. The fact that the protagonist does not have any sidekicks early on definitely contributed to the boring tone because children’s films ought to have memorable sidekicks helping the protagonist and adding the comedic element to the picture. This does not have that and it sacrifices the humor which is non-existent. It is also not that important and not necessary, but I would have liked to have some of it mainly to ease the tone which is even too dark for a kid’s film. But the whole first act is a beautiful introduction to the story and the whole third act is astonishing to behold. It shows the movie’s brain and heart at its core. It wonderfully explored the themes of imagination and childhood. Most of the people, especially adults, easily forget their childhood and they lose their sense of wonder, excitement and imagination and if more people maintained that child’s part in them, this would be a much better and happier world to live in.

As for the characters, they are solidly developed, but nothing out of the ordinary. The protagonist is very good and he is a sympathetic kid, but the warrior child in the story I did not like at all, he was the typical hero and was very annoying. As for the girl empress, she is very likable and the whole sequence with her is quite emotional. And all of the creatures are well developed and imagined with the dragon being the standout here of course with such a memorable design and likable personality.

The acting is passable, the adults are all good, but the kid who plays the warrior is quite honestly awful. He gave a terrible performance to an already annoying character. However, he is a child which is the reason why I forgive them for that otherwise fatal flaw. But the empress and the protagonist are quite good and their child actors did a splendid job here which is stupendous because they are so young.

What I liked most about The NeverEnding Story is the sheep epic scope of it and of course the wonderful imaginative world it created. It has a great attention to detail, very good character design and stupendous practical effects for the time. The effects can sometimes feel dated, but they are mostly executed in a great way and having in mind the movie’s age, it looks incredible. The editing should have been better owing to that slow second act, but the directing here is surprisingly good and polished. As for the cinematography, it is excellent throughout, but the imagery is outstanding and sticks with you, especially some of the flying sequences which are very memorable and endearing. I also have to give kudos to the score as it is absolutely amazing.  It is perfectly uplifting and majestic, fitting within this story magnificently. The opening song was to me one of the most refreshing surprises and one of the most underrated songs as well. It was a terrific start for the film, a catchy tune and a sign that this was going to be a great flick.

Some of the acting is bad and the second act is slow and should have featured some sidekicks to ease the tone a bit, but the first act is a beautiful introduction to this great story and the whole third act is marvelous to behold showcasing the movie’s sophisticated themes as well as the brain and heart at its core. The NeverEnding Story also has absolutely amazing score, great practical effects, wonderful world building and a moving and enthralling story leading to what is arguably one of the finest children’s films ever made.

My Rating – 4,5

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