Barret Oliver and Alan Oppenheimer in Die unendliche Geschichte (1984)

If you were to tell me what would be considered the greatest much-loved kids adventure ever, many would say its the “NeverEnding Story” (as well as its song) and you would be right! On his way to school, Bastian ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The Neverending Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him to survive. It stars Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Patricia Hayes, Sydney Bromley, Gerald McRaney, Moses Gunn, and Alan Oppenheimer as the voices of both Falkor and Gmork (as well as other characters). There are a lot of memorable inhabitants in the world of Fantasia with the biggest standouts for me being Falkor the wise, incredibly optimistic, dignified and a very friendly sophisticated luckdragon and Rockbiter the kind and concerned humanoid rock golem who gives as a speech about big good strong hands. The scene where Atreyu’s (whom isn’t played by an Indian actor) beloved horse Artax is lost to the swamp, and he continues alone is such as tearjerker. The Childlike Empress also makes a huge impression due to her kindness. The scene where Bastian gives the new name of “Moon Child” to her is nice. Overall this is one of the most imaginative fantasy film I’ve ever seen in my young life, which is only elevated by the incredible visuals, impressive puppetry and a likable young lead playing the still best version of Bastian!

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