Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Night Magical Movie: The Neverending Story

So, I just finished reading The Neverending Story by Michael Ende and of course the whole time I kept thinking about the 1984 classic fantasy movie directed by Wolfgang Peterson.  My son Tristan loaned me the book and I promised him I would do a movie post!  This beloved film is basically the first half of the book and is a pretty darned good adaptation, although I heard the author didn't dig it, I thought It stayed as close to the story as movie versions usually do, and while there are changes, as there always are, the spirit of the book pretty much remains.

Bastian (Barret Oliver) who's mother has recently died, is the kid that gets picked on and bullied, you know the kind of kid, creative, sensitive, loves to read and make of fantastic stories.  Your basic middle school target.  He dashes into a big used bookstore run by Mr Coreander on his way home from school to escape the pursuing bullies that are after him.  While hiding out, he discovers an unusual book decorated with an emblem of two intertwined snakes each biting the others tail.  The book is irresistible, so Bastian takes it and runs right to his school, up to the attic, and begins to read.
Deep Roy as Teeny Weeny with his racing snail.
As he reads, he gets lost in the amazing world of Fantasia, a land full of fantastic creatures.  We discover that this world is in jeopardy.  A strange force called "The Nothing" is destroying parts of Fantasia bits at a time.  Many beings have traveled to the Ivory Tower, the center of Fantasia to discuss the problem with the Child-Like Empress. 
The Child-Like Empress.
They discover that she has taken ill and it seems to be connected to The Nothing somehow.  It's determined that in order to recover she needs a new name, only no one that lives in Fantasia can name her.  They summon Atreyu of the plains people who hunt the the purple buffalo, and the Empress sends him on a quest to find her name.  She bestows him with a gift to protect him on his journey, The AURYN which is an amulet of two entangled snakes biting each others tails, just like the cover of the book.
The design for AUREN

Atreyu and his horse Artax.
As Bastian follows the story of Atreyus quest, he becomes deeper and deeper immersed in the story and a few times he feels he may be a little too close to the story when it seems they may be talking about him. 
"They can't be talking about me!"
We follow Atreyu through the swamps of sadness, as he meets the giant ancient turtle Morla meets and befriends Falcor the whit, dog-like luck dragon, he consults the Southern Oracle, and faces down Gmorg, a terrible beast. 
Atreyu talks with Morla 

The Sphynx gate of the Southern Oracle

Atreyu scratches Falcor behind the ear.
The scene in the swamp of sadness always makes me tear up, Noah Hathaway who plays Atreyu is really a talented actor and just breaks your heart in that scene.  You can actually get a tattoo by Noah if you visit his tattoo parlor in Los Angeles. 
I love this publicity shot of Atreyu and Bastian!
For it's time, the special effects were pretty darned good, the world and creatures were created back in the good old days before CGI, so it was all done the old fashioned way, which has a certain appeal.  The messages about the importance of keeping a healthy balance between fantasy and reality in our lives is somewhat watered down in the film from the book. 
Spoiler Alert:  In the book, we learn that what The Nothing pulls away from Fantasia, ends up becoming delusions and broken dreams in the human world.  The balance between the two is vital to the survival of both. 

I love this old movie, it's just a lovely fantasy with a big heart that I love to revisit from time to time.  If you love it too, be sure to check out the book, I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Monday Movie Featured Item:

Mother of Pearl Tree Pentacle Amulet, available in our Etsy shop, Click here

This Tree Pentacle Mother of Pearl Amulet isn't the AUREN, but it will still be true to you on your spiritual journey. It is a grand tree that encompasses the tree mysteries and a pentacle representing the balance between the elements, with the element of spirit above all.  Mother of Pearl gets its name from the fact that it comes from a shell where pearls can grow. Its metaphysical properties include healing, prosperity, intuition, psychic sensitivity, powers of creativity, inspiration and manifestation. Mother of pearl is also protective and has the ability to transmute negative energy and can also be used to purify environments including your own energy system when worn as jewelry. In addition, it's used in metaphysics to access ancestral and primordial memories. All of these properties make it a very powerful material for creating magical amulets.

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