The Neverending Story (film)

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An ostracized young boy named Bastian who loves to read steals a magical book which claims to have No Ending. In it is the story of an otherworldly Magical Native American boy named Atreyu on a quest to save a Magical Land from vanishing. As Bastian reads more and more of the story, he finds that the book seems to be aware of him. Eventually, it is revealed that the magical land within the book is actually another dimension encompassing all of human imagination, and only a human with creative ideas can save it.

Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story spawned three movies. The first one was very well received (except by, among others, Ende himself, who sued unsuccessfully to have the name changed because he disliked it so much and had his name taken out of the writing credits), the second less so, and the third is deeply unpopular. The first movie was based on the first half of the book and the second (rather more loosely) on the second half, while the third was not based on it at all apart from having the Old Man of Wandering Mountain show up.

  • The Neverending Story (1984)
  • The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1991)
  • The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1995)

Tropes used in The Neverending Story (film) include:

Rockbiter: They look like good, strong hands, don't they?

  • Dramatic Thunder: Near the end of the first movie...
  • Enforced Method Acting: That look of shock on Atreyu's face and how dazed he looks getting up after he kills Gmork? That was real. Apparently, they didn't realize how heavy the mechanical wolf puppet could be, and when they shot the scene, it almost knocked out Atreyu's actor. They decided not to try for a second shot after he revealed the claws almost poked out one of his eyes too.
  • The Film of the Book: For the first two, anyway. The third went off into some unknown tangent.
  • Framing Device: The first film starts off looking like this trope is in effect. Until you realise that Fantasia is another dimension and not just a story being read by Bastian.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Sphinx have very prominent bare breasts. Said breasts also come with fairly notable nipples. The scene involve shows them a lot. The mood takes away from that, however.
    • Well, there's also the fact that they're statues, and even most Moral Guardians give stone "artistic" nudity a pass.
  • The Heartless: The Nothing is described as an Eldritch Abomination who works in these terms.

Atreyu: What is the Nothing?
Gmork: It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it.
Atreyu: But why?
Gmork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has control has the power.

  • Heroic BSOD: Rock Biter.
  • Idiot Ball: Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life in the sequel, in for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by the villain. You'd think he'd be less inclined to make wishes, particularly for such reasons, when the self-professed villain and her bird-boy lackey (who he should be able to notice is working for the villain) both keep insisting he make wishes. Not only that, he accepts magical (possibly boobytrapped) gifts from her and despite knowing and having far more reason to trust Atreyu than her, for some reason continues act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the villain shouldn't be trusted.
  • Informed Ability: Atreyu, despite being described as a great warrior in the first film and even killing the monster with a shard of rock, is easily murdered by Bastian in the 2nd.
  • Jerk Jock: Slip (played by Jack Black) in the third movie.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: In the first movie, Oppenheimer is not only Falkor, but also Gmork, Rockbiter and the narrator.
  • Magic Librarian: Mr. Koreander is depicted this way in the second and third films.
  • Narrator: The first film suddenly sprouts a narrator only at the very, very end. It would be all too easy to construct a lofty critical reason for this, such as, "It's to emphasize thematically that the real story is only beginning etc..." but in all likelihood it was just because of earlier scenes being cut or a sloppy mistake in the film's writing or editing.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Childlike Empress explicitly tells that others have been following Bastian through his experiences, like he had been following Atreyu.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Literally.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Double Subversion - Atreyu isn't worthy to make it past the sphinxes, but makes it through anyway.
  • Pals with Jesus: In the movie Bastian got to ride Falcor in the real world to chase some bullies.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Despite Ende's pouting, the original story is largely unfilmable. It's magical and interesting, but it's also a rambling, meandering thing filled with Loads and Loads of Characters, Deus Ex Machina, New Powers as the Plot Demands, and reads like, well... like a young boy's daydreaming. The fact that the second movie is much closer to the plot and style of the book, and is not nearly as beloved as the first, should probably tell you something.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop
  • Shaky POV Cam: Gmork was shot in this style.
  • Stuffed Into a Trashcan: Dumpsters are trashcans too.
  • Swiss Army Tears: The second movie ending.
  • That's No Moon: Morla is originally perceived by Atreyu as a hill of some sort.
  • Totally Radical: The third movie has Nicole saying that Bastian's hairstyle is so "Un".
  • Villainous BSOD: Xayide meets her demise when Bastian wishes she had a heart. Considering all the destruction and pain she'd caused, it's little wonder this did her in.
  • We All Live in America: At least the original German versions of the movies (let alone the books) base the story in Germany. How come Bastian's hometown does nothing to not look like a US city then?
    • Stargate City: It's not a US city; the movies were filmed in Vancouver.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: This is more like, "Who Named Their Mother Moon Child?"
    • The live action series Tales from the Neverending Story goes with the "Moon Child was inspired by Bastian's mother's name" idea from the movie (despite being yet another Alternate Continuity), but clarifies that his mom's actual name was Selene (after the Greek moon goddess).
  • Wishplosion: The end of the second movie.
  • World-Healing Wave
  • You Would Do the Same For Me