The Neverending Story (1 & 2)
THE NEVERENDING STORY (DIE UNENDLICHE GESCHICHTE) (U)
D: Wolfgang Petersen
Warner Bros./Bavaria/WDR (Bernd Eichinger & Dieter Geissler)
West Germany 1984
W: Wolfgang Petersen [based on the novel by Michael Ende]
DP: Jost Vacano
Ed: Jane Seitz
Mus: Klaus Doldinger & Giorgio Moroder
PD: Rolf Zehetbauer
Barret Oliver (Bastian Bux), Noah Hathaway (Atreyu), Tami Stronach (The Childlike Empress), Sydney Bromley (Engywook), Patricia Hayes (Urgl), Gerald McRaney (Mr. Bux)
Filmed entirely in Bavaria, West Germany, The Neverending Story is amongst the greatest fantasy films in the history of cinema. Take that Hollywood!
Based on the novel by Michael Ende, the story uses an original approach to depict its tall tales of a fantastic kingdom. Bastian, a bullied schoolboy, hides out in a bookstore and discovers an old, dusty tome with a mystical insignia on it's cover. He steals the book and takes shelter in the attic of his school to read it; the magical realm of Fantasia is under threat from a mysterious force known as 'the nothing', tearing through their great lands. A young, adventurous warrior named Atreyu is given the quest to stop the force and save the princess. The twist is that 'the nothing' is fuelled by the reader of the book's lack of imagination and that the real saviour is Bastian.
Considering this movie is over 30 years old, the visual effects, makeup, set design and other technical aspects have held strong reasonably well and it's almost immortalised by Limahl's title song and Giorgio Moroder's electronic score.
Keep believing kids! And watch this movie. It's awesome!
THE NEVERENDING STORY II: THE NEXT CHAPTER (U)
D: George T. Miller
Warner Bros. (Dieter Geissler)
W: Karin Howard [based on the novel by Michael Ende]
DP: Dave Connell
Ed: Peter Hollywood & Chris Blunden
Mus: Robert Folk
PD: Bob Laing & Götz Weidner
Jonathan Brandis (Bastian Bux), Kenny Morrison (Atreyu), Clarissa Burt (Xayide), Alexandra Johnes (The Childlike Empress), Martin Umbach (Nimbly)
Though the first film was based upon the fantasy novel by Michael Ende, it only tackled 50% of the source material, so a sequel materialised, intending to tackle what didn't make it into the first movie.
Unfortunately, what it became was this terrible mess, assembling an inferior cast for a story which feels so far removed from the first film, it's difficult to see it as a sequel at all.
Bastian returns to Fantasia with a magical amulet which allows him to make wishes at the expense of his memories, and along with the young warrior Atreyu and a creepy talking bird, he has to defeat an evil queen and protect the childlike empress.
There's a strange lack of magic & fantasy, with below standard production values & visual effects. Hugely disappointing, even for huge fans of the first film.
A third film was released in 1994, but nobody cared anymore.