1984, A year that brought us the Apple Macintosh, an Eastern Bloc boycotted Olympic Summer games in L.A. and an immolated Pepsi-touting Michael Jackson. As an aside, it was also in this year that the first robot related death in the United States was reported at a factory in Jackson, Michigan; in your face, James Cameron!
In a year of aforementioned excitement, replete with flaming pedophiles, killer robots and political tantrums, 1984 saw the release of what was arguably to become a minor cult favorite film, The Neverending Story.She looks older. [/size]
The Neverending Story, a pharmatropically fantastic tale indicative of the genre circa 1980’s, follows the (mis)adventures of a young lad named Bastion through a fantasy world (would you believe ‘Fantasia’) not unlike that of the Labyrinth, although without quite so much of a budget. And no David Bowie either. Come to think of it, it is nothing like the Labyrinth.
“Don’t touch the hair…” [/size]
Bastion is a shy youth, perpetually taunted by his peers. To complicate matters, his mother is no longer a member of the air-breathing club. Quite frankly, I believe Bastion’s father, Gerald “Major Dad” McRaney, did her in with his cholesterol-in-a-glass morning multi-egg beverage.
Four parts raw huevos, one part O.J. - WTF?! [/size]
Naturally, Bastion finds himself at odds with his misdirected, yet caring father and does what any confused youth would do in this situation; he flees to the nearest pedophile.
“Bastion, your mother is Delta Burke.” [/size]
En route to his destination, Bastion narrowly escapes a menacing gauntlet of wedgies from a trifecta of hood-rats. He cleverly accomplishes this by dumpster diving before well before Hollywood hackers popularized the sport.
Narrowly escaping, the venue to which Bastion has fled is a bookstore. This of course is a natural place for any shy and introspective protagonist. After grandpa McKosherPants grills Bastion of his recent scuttlebutt, he is introduced to a mysterious tome which he is summarily instructed not to touch – unlike the shopkeeper's magic pants.
“Oy! Have something for you I do…” [/size]
Again, Bastion does what any confused youth would do in this situation; he robs the old man of his book and runs.
“Exhibit A - dun dun dun” [/size]
As Bastion is now a thieving Felon, he decides that a little B-and-E might help his cred out in the joint. Thusly, Bastion sneaks into his school after hours and ascends to the rafters as an encroaching storm looms near.
F.U. authority! [/size]
I believe this to be either a special-ed room or where the teachers go to smoke.
What the hell kind of Amityville Horror school is this?! [/size]
Gathering his thoughts, Bastion grabs himself some floor and cracks his still smoking hot book. It is here that the story “takes off” as it were – takes off like the shuttle Challenger.
NOTE TO YOUNGER READERS: The space shuttle Challenger, officially, “blowded up” shortly after launch.
Our story drops us promptly into an odd little gathering of panoply freakshow creatures. Said creatures appear preoccupied with their respective idle business until a calamitous event, or some sound engineer rattling sheet metal, spooks them into flight.
As Bastard-er Bastion continues to read, we are transported back to Fantasia’s palace-o-power for a bit of storytelling. Mace Windu laconically informs us that a terrible force is plaguing the land; The Nothing!
“This counsel recognizes you as a member, but you are not yet a master…” [/size]
As Fantasia is comprised of myriad something’s, the spreading Nothing subsequently nullifies their existence creating in its wake, well, nothing. Right then, you get the picture. Enter protagonist number two: Atreyu – A.K.A. Battlestar Galactica’s (1978-1979) adorable rascal, Boxey.
“Oooo, time to accessorize…” [/size]
As many fantasy film adults of the 1980’s inherently lack a natural ability to save the world, Boxey is given a magical happy meal prize and charged with a quest to save Fantasia from the Nothing.
Atreyu sets off on his journey across scenic Canad-err Fantasia atop his trusty white steed. It is not long before Atreyu realizes he is now on the wrong side of the tracks, or rather in a swamp of sadness.
“Nooo, Wilbur, that’s not a carrot…” [/size]
To his chagrin, Atreyu loses his ride at this point. The horse apparently succumbs to a nihilistic fit of depression and decides to slowly sink to its death in runny oatmeal. Both Boxey and Bastion are saddened.
F'ing Boo-hoo! [/size]
Atreyu, now without his equine buddy, loses sight of the objective at hand. He briefly contemplates a career in oatmeal breathing before a giant tortoise is encountered.
Jimmy Carter? [/size]
That’s right, a big, friggin' turtle! And get this, it talks. To be sure, the giant talking turtle has nothing relevant to say thus infuriating Atreyu.
As everyone knows, all reptiles and cold blooded creepies exhibit a propensity for catching colds. This turtle is no exception. He sneezes so hard that our androgynous protagonist is blown off his perch into the beckoning oatmeal.
“Mmm, needs brown sugar…” [/size]
All appears lost. Suddenly, a pink, flying dog-dragon-worm creature swoops down and rescues Atreyu from certain breakfast-type doom.
I hope that’s its paw. [/size]
Upon awakening, Atreyu is a bit confused and unnerved at the sight of a flying cotton candy hot dog. Thankfully, the creature is quite intelligent albeit sounding as if it has down syndrome.
“Don’t stare, don’t stare, don’t stare…” [/size]
Puff the magic dragon informs Boxey that he has taken him like %99.99 of the ba-zillion miles to his destination. This is convenient as his horse, even if among the living, would likely not have survived the journey. I understand this is fantasy, but even as a youth, I found myself questioning this dichotomy of logic.
Now closer to his destination, Atreyu chances upon a friendly, old gnome-like couple.