For this week’s “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something in the topic of “MOVIES” and go with “The NeverEnding Story“. This movie was released in 1984, and was one that so many remember that were from “back in the day”.
The NeverEnding Story was one that I really loved back in the day. Watched it so many times, and never got tired of the story. I even wanted a tattoo of the Guardians of the Southern Oracle on my back. Never went that far, but all of the artwork in the movie was amazing.
Of course, in today’s world, you see the wolf in the den, and say “hey, I saw something like that at Knott’s Berry Farm”, or something like that!! It still was a great movie, with a story behind it that mean a lot!
If, for some reason, you are of an age that makes it difficult to remember the The NeverEnding Story movie, here’s a preview of what it was about:
Did you ever watch the The NeverEnding Story movie when you were younger? or have you seen it on TV or Netflix later in life? Let me know what you thought of it, and if you have any memories of it in your life!
More Info on the Movie:
The NeverEnding Story is a 1984 West German (English language), epic fantasy film based on the novel of the same name by Michael Ende, about a boy who reads a magical library book that tells a story of a young warrior whose task is to stop a dark storm called the Nothing from engulfing a fantasy world. The film was produced by Bernd Eichinger and Dieter Giessler and directed and co-written by Wolfgang Petersen (his first English-language film) and starred Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Moses Gunn, Thomas Hill; and Alan Oppenheimer as the voices of both Falkor and Gmork. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive film produced outside the USA or the USSR. The film was later followed by two sequels.
Ende felt that this adaptation’s content deviated so far from his book that he requested that production either be halted or the film’s title be changed; when the producers did neither, he sued them and subsequently lost the case. The film only adapts the first half of the book, and consequently does not convey the message of the title as it was portrayed in the novel. The second half of the book would subsequently be used as the rough basis for the second film, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter. The third film, The NeverEnding Story III: Escape From Fantasia, features a completely original plot.
Bastian Balthazar Bux (Barret Oliver), a shy and friendless bibliophile child, hides in a bookstore, interrupting the grumpy bookseller, Mr. Coreander (Thomas Hill). Bastian asks about one of the books he sees, but Mr. Coreander advises against it; despite which, Bastian seizes the book, leaving a note promising to return it, and hides in the school’s attic to read. The book describes the world of Fantasia threatened by a force called “The Nothing”; where the Childlike Empress (Tami Stronach) who rules over Fantasia has fallen ill, and has summoned Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) to discover the cure. Atreyu is therefore given AURYN. As Atreyu sets out, the Nothing summons Gmork (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer), a werewolf, to kill Atreyu.
Atreyu’s quest directs him to the advisor Morla the Ancient One in the Swamps of Sadness, where his beloved horse Artax is lost to the swamp. Atreyu continues alone, and is surprised when Morla reveals itself as a giant tortoise. Bastian, reading, is also surprised and lets out a scream, which Atreyu and Morla appear to hear. Morla does not have the answers Atreyu seeks, but directs him to the Southern Oracle, ten thousand miles distant. In the walk through the Swamps, Atreyu is rendered unconscious and rescued by the luckdragon Falkor (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer). Two gnomes who helped restore Atreyu explain the Oracle, including the trials that one must face before reaching it. Atreyu completes one trial and is perplexed when the second trial, a mirror that shows the viewer’s true self, reveals a boy matching Bastian’s description; whereupon Bastian throws the book aside, but cautiously continues. Atreyu, past the trials, stands before the Oracle, who tells him the only way to save the Princess is to find a human child to give her a new name, beyond the boundaries of Fantasia. Atreyu and Falkor then flee before the Nothing, and Atreyu is knocked from Falkor’s back into the Sea of Possibilities, losing AURYN in the process. He wakes on the shore of an abandoned town, and finds a series of paintings depicting his quest. Here Gmork reveals himself, and explains that Fantasia represents humanity’s imagination, and that the Nothing represents adult apathy and cynicism against it. Upon hearing himself named, Atreyu kills Gmork with a stone knife. Atreyu and AURYN are then recovered by Falkor. Fearing his quest has failed, Atreyu and Falkor approach the Empress’s Ivory Tower, where Atreyu apologizes for his failure. As the Nothing starts to consume the Ivory Tower, knocking Atreyu unconscious in the process, the Empress pleas directly to Bastian to give her a new name before it is too late; whereupon Bastian shouts the name “Moon Child”, and finds himself before the Empress, who reveals that his imagination can re-create Fantasia. With this done, Bastian rides Falkor over the restored Fantasia, and sees Atreyu reunited with Artax. In the real world, the bullies that chased down Bastian at the start of the film, are themselves chased by Bastian and Falkor. A narrator states that Bastian had many more wishes and adventures, and adds: “but that’s another story”.
Some of the Characters:
Barret Oliver (Bastian) was born August 24, 1973, and is an American photographer and former child actor. He is known for his role as Bastian Balthazar Bux in the film adaptation of Michael Ende’s novel The NeverEnding Story, followed by roles in D.A.R.Y.L., Cocoon and Cocoon: The Return. Oliver had minor roles in television and film, until starring as Bastian in the 1984 movie The NeverEnding Story. Subsequently, he was cast as the lead in Tim Burton’s short film Frankenweenie and as the android ‘Daryl’ in the 1985 film D.A.R.Y.L., a part for which he won a Saturn Award. Oliver appeared in the Ron Howard film Cocoon and the sequel Cocoon: The Return. His last role in a feature film was Willie Saravian in Paul Bartel’s 1989 ensemble comedy Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Later Oliver became a printer and photographer, specializing in nineteenth century processes such as collodion and Woodburytype. His work has been displayed in museum and gallery exhibitions and used in films. In 2007, his book A History of the Woodburytype was published by Carl Mautz Publishing.
Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) was born on November 13, 1971, to Judy and Robert Hathaway. He is one-quarter Mohican on his father’s side. Noah started his way to stardom in commercials (in which he began to appear at age three). In 1978, he landed the role of Boxey on the cult Sci-Fi show, Battlestar Galactica (1978). Later that year, he played the role of Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story (1984) and the lead as Harry Potter Jr. in Troll (1986). He taught advanced jazz and street dance in his late teens until an injury forced him to quit at 18. Afterwards, he studied Muay Thai boxing and then fought as an amateur. Noah then stayed out of the limelight until 1992 for the drama To Die, to Sleep (1994). Prior to moving back to LA in 1998, he lived in New York for two and a half years. In his spare time, he tries to get out to the track at Willow Springs, California, to race in Super Sport motorcycle racing. He has tended bar at several LA clubs and has several tattoos. He holds black belts in Tang Soo Do and Shotokan, and is currently learning American Kenpo from Dr Jerry Erickson, and he also helps him teach “a close-quarter combat-training course for flight attendants and pilots for the airlines.”
Tami Stronach (The Childlike Empress) was born on July 31, 1972, in Tehran, Iran. She is half-Scottish (father) and half-Israeli (mother). Her father Professor David Stronach, was a notable expert on Persian antiquities. The family had to flee Persia/Iran during the Revolution. They went to America, but ended up in Israel, where Tami is still based. She was studying acting in California, when she was chosen for her role as the Child-like Empress. She has been a dancer throughout her life, and has opted for this as her main career rather than acting. She is an Israeli citizen, and speaks several languages including English and Hebrew. Stronach made her acting debut as “The Childlike Empress” in The Neverending Story (1984), a film adaptation of the novel Die Unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story) by Michael Ende. She has not since had many known acting roles; her parents preferred that she did not pursue any further acting to avoid the possible dangers many child actresses in both movies and television sometimes encounter. Since the days of her childhood role, she has become a member of a well-respected Israeli dance troupe based in the U.S, the Neta Dance Company, joining them in 1996, she performed with the company mostly in places like the U.S, Israel and Europe. She has also choreographed and performed her own works, including “The Maid and the Marmalade” and “Contain yourself, darling.” While her own work has typically been performed in New York City, she has begun more recently to take this abroad, such as with a tour of Australia in July 2006. She is married to Greg Steinbruner since 2010, and they have a daughter named Maya.
Did You Know?
During the first Ivory Tower scene when the group of Fantasians are gathered together, if you look very closely you will see characters such as Yoda, Mickey Mouse, Chewbacca, C3PO, The Ewoks, ET and Gumby.
Ever wonder what name Bastian screams out the window to save fantasia? According to the book, it was “Moonchild”, but of course it has often been debated over what he actually says.
The movie was filmed in Germany during the hottest summer it had in 25 years. It was so hot one of the statues of the Ivory Tower actually melted. On other days the crew were forced to shut down production because the blue backgrounds for the matte work wouldn’t work properly.
The theme song was sang by Limahl, who was the lead singer of the pop band Kajagoogoo.
Contrary to Internet rumor, the horse did not really die during the filming of the Swamp of Sadness scene. As confirmed by German magazine interview with Noah Hathaway shortly after the movie, and in the years since at conventions, the horse was given to Noah at the end of filming but due to the cost of transportation, need for quarantine, and sterilization, the horse was left behind in Germany.
At the time of its release it was the most expensive film produced outside the United States and the Soviet Union.
The knight’s staff lands on the right Sphinx’s foot once he falls off his horse, but later on when Atreyu is attempting to cross the gate, the knight’s staff is laying parallel to the knight’s dead body.
In the trailer, the name of the old elf is given as Inglenook, but in the film his name is Engywook, which appears also in the subtitles.
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