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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2009
The Neverending Story is based upon a German novel by Michael Ende, and the film (released in 1984), is directed by Wolfgang Peterson who later went on to direct such films as 'Air Force One' and 'Troy'.

The Neverending Story is a film which surrounds the life of a young boy named Bastian Bux (Barret Oliver), who, one day after being yet again tormented by bullies, escapes to, and hides in an old bookshop. The owner of the book shop (Thomas Hill), who can obviously associate and empathise with Bastian, reveals an ancient, magical looking book to him, which Bastian 'borrows', and is sucked and drawn into the mythical land of Fantasia.

Once in Fantasia, Bastian realises that Fantasia is on the brink of destruction due to an unknown force known as 'the nothing', and soon comes to realise that the future existence of Fantasia relies solely upon him, and him only.
Whilst in Fantasia, Bastian encounters wonderful characters such as Falkor - a part dragon, part dog, The Child-like Empress (Tami Stronach) - ruler of Fantasia, Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) - the fearless young warrior, the ever-lovable Rockbiter and his close band of friends; Teeny Weeny and his racing Snail, and the Nighthob and his "Stupid Bat".

I really do find the characters, sets and backdrops to this film stunning, creating the illusion that an almost entirely different world has been created.

The characters are all well-thought out and highly imaginative, and the acting (keeping in mind that most of the actors are all still young) is very good. The special effects and sets are also fantastic, which is probably why at the time of its debut, The Neverending Story was the most expensive film ever made outside of the United States.

The Neverending Story is such an innocent, enchanting film, that I would be surprised if anyone took an actual disliking to it. I haven't seen a fantasy film able to surpass The Neverending Story visually, in content or story line so far, and that's why it remains such a treasured gem to me, and I'm sure many other people.

Summary: Great family fantasy film. Definately worth a purchase.
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on 20 February 2010
First time i've written a review but i've just re-watched the film after quite a few years and felt compelled.

This film is more than just about book-bashing to kids. It inspires both children and adults to appreciate the magic of our own imaginations and the ability we have to take the work of somebody else and build upon its ideas to create our own. That the kid in this film likes to read is not as important as the fact that his involvement in the story within the book inspires him to explore the power of his creative mind and use it in a positive way. This is something that can happen through whatever medium, whether it be literature, film, art, or music, it doesn't matter.

Through the loss of his mother and subsequent re-naming of the Empress, Bastian finds the strength to overcome the pain he is experiencing in the real world by allowing himself to believe in his imaginary one. The film's references to Bastian's dead mum are subtle and un-sentimental and the scene with his dad at the start is completely believable. These things are what i think gives the film it's emotional kick and why i think adults should watch it as well.

When my daughter is old enough to sit through a whole film with me without figiting then this will be the first one i will pull out and watch with her! Forget the sequels though, they completly miss the point.
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on 23 July 2010
this movie is 26 years old, and the special effects might not seem so special by todays standards. but for me it has stood the test of time, and still touches the little boy in me that used to watch the german fantasy tales that they used to show on bbc childrens tele in the sixties. They where not dubbed but narrated in english and I think this film was wolfgang Petersens homage to. It was a beautifully crafted film and I bet if you where to put this on for some 5 to 7 year olds, they'ed love it. It's not a bad transfer and you can appreciate the finer detail revealed and the DTS sountrack is impressive. i have a vhs and dvd copy's of the movie, and where dvd was a step up from vhs, so to is this blu ray release a step up from dvd. their are no extras as such, but still worth the purchase.
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Bastian is having a hard time dealing with his mother's death, school, and bullies. Granted, the fact that his father doesn't know what to do isn't helping matters. His only escape is the world of his imagination. One day, he hides in an old bookshop to get away from the three bullies chasing him. It's there he finds a book that isn't safe for him to read. See, the story won't end when he puts the book down. Unable to resist, Bastian borrows it and hides in his school attic to read. It's the tale of a warrior on a quest to save his country from the Nothing. But the more Bastian reads, the more he finds himself drawn into the story. Might he be called upon to save the day?
I had heard ravings about the movie since it came out. I only now got a chance to watch it. I must say even though I knew almost everything about it, I really enjoyed it. It certainly has an 80's feel to it between the costumes, music, and special effects. Looking past that, I found myself getting caught up in the story waiting for Bastian to save the day. My biggest complaint is how abruptly it ended. I felt it needed at least another few minutes to resolve some things in Bastian's life. Of course, I see that this was only half the book, which actually makes all that make sense.
Little kids could be scared by some of the things in the story, but older kids will enjoy this fantasy escape. It may be dated, but it's still fun.
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on 8 February 2004
The Neverending Story was the first film I ever went to see at the cinema. I had been pestering my father to take me to see it for months as a poster of the film was pinned up in our local shop. Being only five years old, the film amazed me and in parts really frightened me. I remember having to sleep with my parents that night as I couldn't get to sleep!
Nearly twenty years on and this is still my favourite film. I must have seen it over 200 times and I still get butterflies in my stomach, laugh and cry. With an amazing storyline, loveable characters and spectacular special effects; this truly is a wonderful movie which young and old can appreciate and is one film that I will always hold dear to my heart.
Why is it called The Neverending Story? …Because as long as you have imagination and dreams, the story will never die!
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As a child of the eighties, this film holds a special place in my memories and when I watched it recently I hoped that the raft of recent modern CGI laden films wouldn't spoil this and ruin the nostalgia, I'm pleased to say that the film has not lost its magic...

...When the film starts, it's in a familiar world and we are introduced to Bastian; the lonely boy who daydreams to find happiness and escape the school bullies. After 'borrowing' a book whilst running from thugs he finds himself making the ultimate escape - to another world called Fantasia.

This becomes a fantasy adventure with giant creatures, monsters, magic, and a damsel in distress. The main hero of the film is Atreyu, and adults can understand the gasp of surprise by those relying on him to save the world when it turns out he's just a child, whereas children can identify with the young warrior. It might sound a bit formulaic, and it's certainly been done many times before, but The Neverending Story stands out not just because of visual effects or the fantastic score, but because it is emotionally engaging and draws viewers in - something I perhaps didn't appreciate when I was seven! Not only is it compelling, but it is explained that by simply watching the film, you are part of the story because you are helping to visualise it. Fantasia is the product of human creativity and it is being destroyed by mankind's lack of imagination.

The various creatures in the film look great. Although Falkor the Luck Dragon (who looks like a dog) does appears a bit ropey at times, especially when his mouth seems to lack movement and struggles to keep up with the words coming out of it! But that doesn't matter, you can see past that and it doesn't impact on the character - you still believe in him. I personally think that the giant Rock Eater couldn't look any better even if modern CGI techniques were thrown at it. This film was made with a great passion for the visuals and you can tell how much effort went into bringing Fantasia to life.

The film has never looked better than on this Blu-ray edition, and the beautiful score sounds incredible. I was worried that hi-def might expose previously unseen shoddiness but I'm very pleased to say that the film isn't destroyed by unveiling flaws and strings! Rather disappointingly though there are no additional features. The DVD of the film contains more bonus material than this and all the DVD had was the theatrical trailer and a single page of "cast and crew".

This film is as famous for the score as it is anything else. Klaus Doldinger creates a soundtrack which captures the emotional tone of the film and immerses you in every moment. The added synth-pop music adds another dimension too and ensures that the music sounds undeniably eighties, but it hasn't dated badly at all. The film begins and ends with the Lamahl classic "Neverending Story", surely one of the catchiest film theme tunes ever and yet another reason for this epic fantasy to reach cult status.

Many of the characters in the film are animated puppets, but the voices inject personality and you never feel as though you're watching something being manipulated behind the scenes. It's an impressive feat that you should experience genuine fondness for a fluffy flying dragon and empathise totally with a giant rock eating being who feels he failed his friends. Atreyu may be young, but Noah Hathaway shows that child actors are more than capable of portraying emotions - watching him scream at his horse as it sinks into the swamp is one of the most heart-rending scenes I've ever seen. And watching the child empress pleading directly into the camera with tears running down her face melts the coldest of hearts.

In a nutshell: The Blu-ray package might be a bit sparse, but the film is still fantastic: A family film which isn't dumbed down, it doesn't patronise younger viewers by 'protecting' them from the darker side of life. Watching this at the weekend cuddled up with my two daughters (aged 3 and 5) was a special moment for me. Seeing my children absolutely enthralled in a film which I enjoyed as a kid is something which felt magical. After the film they raved on about it and told everyone about what they'd seen, it was clear that the depth of the film had effected them just as much as the fantastical story - the first thing they mentioned wasn't the flying "dog-dragon", or the evil wolf, or even a sneezing tortoise, it was how sad it was when a boy stood in the swamp and cried hysterically as his only companion struggled to make it out of the mud. This was a favourite film of mine twenty years ago, and now it's one of theirs. If it had been a brainless action flick then it wouldn't have achieved that. You don't just watch the film, you are part of it.
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on 18 October 2006
Superb modern fairytale with a message that is not cloying that is a delight to adults and children alike. It will make you laugh, cry and cheer in equal measures. I have loved this for so much for so long, I have made a decision to never watch the sequels for fear of tarnishing my love of the original. If in doubt as to whether or not you should watch it - just watch it - you will not be disappointed
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on 9 October 2014
Based upon Michael Ende's celebrated novel The Neverending Story takes place in a world where dreams and reality become one through the power of a young boy's imagination.
Still mourning the loss of his mother, seemingly dismissed by his father and facing constant abuse at the hands of school bullies, a young, lonely boy named Bastian ( Barret Oliver ) finds sanctuary one morning running from school bullies in an old fashioned and dusty bookshop.
He finds the owner reading a book entitled " The Neverending Story " and is compelled to run away with the book, hide in his school attic and get lost within it's pages.
However, as Bastian reads the book, he finds himself strangely drawn into its pages, so much so that he is made to feel as if he is a living part of the story.
He reads that the world of Fantasia is under threat from the " Nothing " a hateful storm which is destroying Fantasia and all those who dwell in it, and it is up to a brave warrior, a young boy named Atreyu ( Noah Hathaway ) to find a cure for the guardian and ruler of Fantasia,The Childlike Empress ( Tami Stronach ) and restore the world back to it's glory.

Any fellow kid of the 80's will have fond memories of the classic 80's fantasy adventures that appeared on a regular basis at the local cinema when growing up ( Labyrinth, Legend, Dark Crystal & Return to Oz were favourites of mine ) and whilst certain effects in this particular film have aged ( when compared to the the modern capabilities today in special effects ) there is still much to be savoured here, from the adorable Falkor the Luckdragon ( voiced by Alan Oppenheimer - who also provided the voice of that other 80's icon SKELETOR from He-Man ) the dreamy score & theme song by Limahl, the message that we should " do what you dream " as well as the strong performances from the three young lead actors.

This all new Blu Ray release now comes with Special Features, including :

Reimagining The Neverending Story : 25 Minutes Long
( Such a shame that this fascinating Documentary has NO input from either of the two lead actors, Noah Hathaway or Barret Oliver, nor Alan Oppenheimer ( voice of Falkor, Gmork and The Rock Biter ) although Tami Stronach ( The Childlike Empress ) does feature, hasn't aged (?!) and looks absolutely beautiful )

Feature length commentary with Director Wolfgang Petersen

Restoration : 10 Minutes long ( German with subtitles )

The Making of The Neverending Story : 17 Minutes long ( German with subtitles )

Original 1984 Documentary : Fantasies : Nearly an Hour Long ( German with subtitles )

It also features the original Theatrical Trailer.

The sound and picture quality show no difference from the original vanilla disc Blu Ray release, but not being very technically minded i'm probabaly not the best person to dissect it's merits in regards to it's picture & sound quality, personally, I think it looks great and the special features attached to this release are great.

Highly Recommended for 80's Kids & Fantasy Fans everywhere.
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on 10 October 2011
The film is Directed by Wolfgang Petersen and is a typical 80's style fantasy film, but primarily directed at kids. it is the story of Bastian (Noah Hathaway), who lives with his dad following the death of his mother. Bastian is bullied at school, and his father is distant, so he has no real friends. He happens to discover an old bookstore one day, when he is running away from the bullies, and finds a book, called the Neverending Story, which the bookstore owner warns is not "safe" like other books. He takes the book to school and reads it alone in the school attic. Here begins the story within a story of the residents of Fantasia, whose world is being destroyed by a force called the "Nothing". The reason that Fantasia is being destroyed, is because modern children are reading less and using their imagination less, causing the world to die. Only Bastian can save it, but does he realise that he is part of the book he is reading?

This is a really fun film, with fast paced adventure and lots of emotion. The scene where the horse dies made me cry when I was little! The charcters are larger than life, and I really liked the luck dragon, who helps the boy on his adventure. There is a character called the rockbiter, who is huge, but loveable, and a little guy who rides on a racing snail, who some viewers will recognise as the oompa loompa in the new charlie and the chocolate factory movie.

You can occasionaly catch this film on TV, and they made 2 sequels, which are nowhere near as good, and confusingly, have different actors playing the lead role.It looks a bit dated, and the music is a bit wobbly, but if you can put that aside and just enjoy a story of a young boy trying to find himself, then you will enjoy this film.
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on 27 October 2009
Funny as it is, i wasnt introduced to fantasy films, as such, until i was 25, and my girlfriend, had bought this for her daughter, and one cold january saturday, i watched it with her other younger boys.
what an amazing story for kids, let alone anything else. i fell in love with it, because the big wolf sums it all up, the way that fear controls, and imagination and hope and possibiltys, are made from us all. And that not only children, but all of us could learn from it.
Because wasnt most if not all things made in our world created by imagination and dreams. You could call the vaccuous shallow lives of fear and modern day control, celebrity obsessed, disjointed purpose and values something that supresses freedom of thought and deed. But this film explains it in a way, i never could.
I may love my goodfellas and resevoir dogs, but when anyone now asks, what is one of my favourite films, i say "the never ending story", and they laugh very hard, and i do too, being a forty year old git. then they ask to borrow it using an excuse to get it for their son to watch, and afterwards they get it, and they dont laugh.
So i agree with the person who said this should be added to the school curriculum. It would make those minds shine, because it sadly tells a story, of how our ever cynical and more fearful world, is crushing the joy of being alive and able to freely express happiness, and use our god given minds, to create heaven from hell.
Its not just one for the kiddys, its for us all. Because arent all adults just big children with more moss on them?

And im proud to say i still have pillow fights with my 66 year old mother, both parents are big kids. And so am i, and films like this reinforce the importance of taking things far too serious.
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