As a young child, The Neverending Story was one of those films that sparked my imagination and formed my creative aesthetic. Along with The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and The Ewok Adventure, this film began my love of fantasy and the images from it have been cemented in my mind ever since.
Last year, I finally read the book by Michael Ende on which the movie is based and ever since, I'd been meaning to re-watch the movie that I hadn't seen since childhood. I finally got around to doing that the other day. The strange thing is how familiar the movie still felt, as if I'd just watched it a few months ago instead of thirty years ago. That's a result of the multiple viewings.
The thing about 80's premium cable channels was that they showed the same movies over and over again for months. So when there was one I liked, I tended to watch it over and over again. This was one I'd watched countless times. The fact that I, and probably every boy my age, had a childhood crush on the Child Empress was responsible for a few of those viewings, I'm sure. Also, anything with animatronics in the 80's was cutting edge and captured children's imaginations like nothing else, except of course its cousin, animation.
Watching this again as an adult, it brought back a lot of childhood memories, but not exactly the same excitement, unlike something like Star Wars does. There is something so incredibly PG about it that it's hard to love as an adult. The acting is also overdone, with Atreyu screaming every one of his lines. It's no wonder that Michael Ende HATED this film, but I don't think that's really fair. It's still a movie that I think would capture the imagination of a child. Now that I have a child, I'm going to be very interested in how she views these movies when she's old enough.