While at Dragon Con a few weeks ago, I caught sight of a group of three people in costume. I quickly realized that one of the women was dressed as the Empress from The Neverending Story. So I looked across the table to where my bride was eating her lunch and said:
“Cool. Neverending Story.”
And she replied:
“Never seen it.”
I immediately posted on Facebook that my world had been shattered by this type of news. How in the world could she not have seen that classic from the 80s? We’d just finished season 3 of Stranger Things and there is a whole thing with the Neverending Story song… it never occurred to me that she might not get that reference.
I had to fix this situation. So on that Monday night, we found that Vudu had the movie for free (with limited ads – honestly it was better than watching it on tv. There were probably only about 6 to 8 minutes of commercials total for a 90-minute movie). So we watched it. And of course, because she’s not a crazy person, she loved it.
But it got me thinking about the various movies I grew up on that for some reason Courtney had never seen. I mean, there was a point where she was 20 years old and had never seen Star Wars (blasphemy). For a long while, she’d never seen The Wizard of Oz (what was happening on Spring Break – they show it every year).
I had an idea. We made a list of movies that either she hadn’t seen but probably should have by this point or just movies that she hadn’t seen but kinda wanted to see. Then I would talk to her about the movie and get her thoughts as an adult. I did this with Neverending Story, but it’s been a couple of weeks so it isn’t quite as fresh.
You Haven’t Seen It?
John – The Neverending Story is a classic. I joked that perhaps you were spending time playing outside while the rest of us were watching movies, but then one of your best friends mentioned she’d seen it (and thought she’d seen it with you). So what gives? Why didn’t you see it back then?
Courtney – I actually wasn’t sure if I’d seen it or not. Images from the movie pop up every now and again, so sometimes I think I’ve seen it and then other times not so much. I will say that you know I’m not a big fan of LONG movies, so if you’re calling it The NEVERENDING Story I’m probably going to assume it is going to be a very long one.
Of course, when we started watching it, I quickly realized I hadn’t seen it at all. When did you first see it?
I was 8 when it came out. I think I saw it in the theater, but it is just as likely that I saw it on HBO. They’d run the same movies over and over and over during the summer.
Prior to our watching it, did you have any clue what it might be about?
All I knew was that it was in the fantasy genre. Maybe some kind of quest. I had no idea it was a story within a story.
How about the movie itself? Did you end up liking it?
Oh, I knew right away that I was going to like it. Immediately the whole bit with the characters like the Rock Guy-
Yeah, and the elf-guy.
The Bat Rider?
I don’t know his name. Turn it on.
I load it up and fast forward to the scene with the Rockbiter, Snail Rider, and Bat Rider. Courtney immediately picks the Bat Rider as her favorite of the trio.
Rewind it to the beginning, with the bullies.
Did you notice that Major Dad was eating 3 raw eggs? He was hardcore from the beginning!
<10 minutes pass as we watch the scene with the bullies and Bastian hiding in the bookstore and then stealing the book.>
So let me ask you this: do you think the bookstore owner wanted him to take the book?
So here’s a thought that will wrinkle your brain: did the bookstore owner know Bastian was going to come into the store?
What do you mean?
Well, he was reading the book as he comes in, but later we find out that Bastian is a character in Fantasia’s larger story. So was the whole beginning of the movie stuff that was actually in the book already?
Hmm… I don’t know…
<The swamp scene appears on the tv.>
I loved the fact that he could live through Atreyu, who was young and underestimated. Both people who lost someone close to them.
You kinda spoiled that scene for me. I mean, it still got me, but you dampened it a little bit.
But you can see that was something that could have scarred you as an 8-year-old. Good lord.
That was the scene that made me definitely know I’d never seen the movie.
Alright, other favorite characters? I personally like the turtle!
The Luck Dragon is absolutely my favorite. I love that he’s a big dog. It just takes any potential fear you might have of this massive beast and puts it to the side. The ear scratching moment! He was great!
And how about the story within a story aspect?
It was awesome. Just like the bookstore owner said, he had real stakes within the story and wasn’t just a bystander.
Finally… what did you think overall? Did you like it?
Yes! Yes! Yes! I actually would love to see it with our 8-year-old niece and see it through her eyes. But, yes, it was great!
So a success! I’m hoping to get a horror movie in at some point during October. She’s never seen Alien…
John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!
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His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.
He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com