Okay, this is why watching The Neverending Story was so much better as a kid, we really didn’t care about the things that made sense and yes, if you weren’t wrecked by Artax’s death, then you had NO heart and were a psychopath in training. All that aside, there are plenty of things to note about this movie that are great, but just as many that don’t make as much sense when you hit your adult years. Does that make it any worse for wear? Well, that kind of depend on who you’re asking. Personally I still love the story, but as an analytical adult, yes, there are plenty of glaring errors that don’t readily fix themselves throughout the telling of the tale. But it’s so much more fun to just enjoy it and remember what it was like when we watched it as kids, up to certain moments. Looking at this as an adult however one can’t help but think that Bastian had a few issues and his dad wasn’t really helping by not listening to him. Plus, the whole bullying issue is something that was a little overplayed since some kids might have ended up in dumpsters but a lot of time a kid might have gone home with a bloody nose, black eye, or something similar. Plus, if Bastian wasn’t in school and his father was given a call, doesn’t it sound likely that the teachers would be scouring the school? There’s also the theft of the book that Bastian took, which was pertinent to the story of course but would be chalked up to bad parenting in this day and age.
In a way though, this story almost feels like a kid might have written it in certain stages. After all, some of the material moves quickly, other parts move a snails pace, and while some appears to be quite meaningful and sincere, other parts feel like a child might have said ‘let’s do this and then this and this, I don’t care if it makes sense!’. Much as I love this movie that does explain a good part of the pace, though it was obvious when the creators stepped in to make sure that the movie wasn’t too upbeat and that there were a few things that were utterly depressing to remind kids that life is bound to knock you down a few times. But having Artax drown in the swamp? Much like Charlotte’s Web this was traumatizing to a lot of kids in the way it happened and the fact that Atreyu had to watch it happen. It was bad enough for Bastian and the audience having to know that the Gmork was already on Atreyu’s trail, having been sent by the Nothing, but to lose his only friend as well? Then came Morla, who’s helpful in some ways but utterly useless in others and yet still part of the story in her own manner. Apart from being allergic to Atreyu she was kind of a doom and gloom character that didn’t do much more than sneeze and utter a few useful phrases that put Atreyu back on his path.
Falkor is who a lot of people remember from this movie since the Luck Dragon was actually pretty cool despite looking like a giant dog with scales and fur. But then dragons are known to look vastly different depending on the story, so oh well. He swoops down for the last second save to make sure the Gmork doesn’t take Atreyu, but it’s amusing to think that the Gmork couldn’t track them, though it’s also useful to think that while tracking them he came upon the location where he was trapped when Atreyu found him. There’s just so much to say about this movie without going into the sequel, thank goodness, that it kind of stands a good chance of ruining it for a lot of people if everything was revealed and it was allowed to be dissected by an adult viewpoint. But then again, just enjoying the movie while agreeing with Honest Trailers that yes, there are a few big, glaring errors in the movie, is probably the best move. After all, enjoying a movie is usually the best alternative.
A lot of movies such as this were what a pleasing and happy childhood was filled with, though there were plenty of movies, like this one, that had disturbing images that people nowadays might not want their kids to see. Of course given what they see on TV now that’s kind of a hard stance to defend. But all in all, The Neverending Story is a movie that is better to enjoy than to analyze from front to back since it reminds us of being kids and of having a good excuse to use our imagination with wild abandon.