The NeverEnding Story, A Closer Look

The NeverEnding StoryFor some reason, the Safeway I shop at has this thing about playing 80’s music. They can choose from over 70 genres, but they seem to stick with 80’s Flashback. So I go to Safeway maybe 3, 4 times a month. A couple weeks back a familiar tune was filling the grocery air while I shopped- the theme from The NeverEnding Story. Of all the songs they could’ve played during the few minutes I’m in the store, they played that one. I took it as a sign. A sign that I needed to stop daydreaming and concentrate on shopping instead of the music. In a likely unrelated event, a couple weeks later I watched The NeverEnding Story.

This wasn’t the same movie I remembered.

First off, the kid’s name is Bastian. That may fly in Germany, but to me it sounds like the way a 4-year old would say Sebastian because they can’t be bothered to take the time and pronounce the whole thing. But I can. I’ll call him by his proper name, Sebastian.

So the movie starts with Sebastian drawing unicorns, playing with his fingers, and eating toast. His dad makes it a point to remind him that his mom is dead and he should stop being a little bitch about it. Then the dad proceeds to put a raw egg in his orange juice. He has to be aware of the dangers of E.coli and salmonella, right? The guy looks depressed and is clearly acting suicidal. That may explain his prickish behavior, but the way Sebastian reacts to the dead parent update, it doesn’t seem that way.

But things get better once he leaves the shadow of his dad, right? If being hunted down by a pack of prepubescent street thugs and getting tossed in a dumpster is better, than it certainly does! Or maybe that’s just the status quo for Sebastian, for after liberating himself from the dumpster, he’s again set upon by the street gang. There are apparently no adults around, or at least adults who care, to tell the ankle-biters to cut the shit out and get to school, so Sebastian takes refuge in the one place bullies would never go- a used book store.

Here is where we learn the only real twist in the movie: Sebastian is surprisingly well read! But the old fart that owns the book store tells him he’s not that well read, so in a classic “in your face” move Sebastian steals the only book in the book store that the old bastard likes to read. Now, I have an assignment for you, class. After you watch the movie, ask yourself what the hell the old guy was doing reading The NeverEnding Story? If he knew the nature of the book, then he’d certainly read it before. The people of the book needed a human child to save them, so was the old mothball just torturing them by keeping their world in a persistent state of peril?

Back to the movie. Or should I say crime spree, because after stealing the book, Sebastian promptly breaks into his school’s attic to take refuge from the manhunt which is probably underway. No cop, no matter how wily, is going to suspect a kid might hide out at a school. Once he’s properly surveyed the world’s scariest attic, Sebastian finally cracks the cover of his ill-gotten gains.

Do you know how I know the world of Fantasia is messed up? Because one the first characters we meet is a cannibal. Rock Biter, the giant creature made of rock, eats rocks. And they just show it! Crunching all these rocks like it’s just something normal, eating your own kind. I imagine if it was a giant horse named Pony Biter, then you might understand why I’m all up in arms about it. Rock cannibalism is just more tolerable, I guess. And there’s this short guy named Teeny Weeny. Seriously, did his parents not expect people to call him Teeny Weenie?

There’s also The Childlike Empress. She’s really old, but she looks like a little kid. I’m sure it’s hard for her to get a date since she looks like a little kid, which probably prompts most guys to stay away. Then the guys that would go for a little kid are put off by her maturity. Love life must be pretty rough for a child-like empress.

Fantasia is under attack by The Nothing. This Nothing is a scary wind, not to be confused the nihilists from The Big Lebowski who believe in nothing nor the terrifying wind from The Happening. The Childlike Empress sends this kid named Atreyu (bless you) on a quest to save Fantasia by finding a human child. That’s right, even though The Childlike Empress and Atreyu (bless you) both look very human they are in fact not human. So yes, The NeverEnding Story is about aliens trying to save their world from nothing.

Atreyu (bless you) sets out on his quest and the first thing he does is bore his horse to death. Then he gets covered in the boogers of a giant turtle. While all this is going on, a scary wolf named Gmork is tracking down Atreyu (bless you). Gmork seems especially cranky. He’s probably having problems at home with his wife Gmindy. Gmork finally catches up to Atreyu (bless you) and is ready to pounce, but this chuklehead dragon Falkor swoops in and whisks Atreyu (bless you) away.

The Southern OracleFor some reason Falkor drops Atreyu (bless you) off exactly 109 miles short of his destination. That stupid dragon was probably too busty yucking it up with himself to remember where he was going. No, busty was not a typo, it’s just that we’ve gotten to the sexy part of the movie and I’m getting all excited. In the next few minutes of the movie, Atreyu (bless you) has to walk between two sets of statues that have the biggest racks ever carved into stone. The second set of statues tell Atreyu (bless you) some junk, but I wasn’t really paying attention because their huge jugs were distracting me.

Atreyu (bless you) ends up in this cave with Gmork and while he is busy expositing, Atreyu (bless you) shanks his ass and Falkor is able to break away from his stand-up routine long enough to randomly save Atreyu (bless you) again while The Nothing blows Fantasia to bits.

It looks like all has been lost as Atreyu (bless you) rides Falkor through space amongst the broken bits of Fantasia, but they find The Childlike Empress still in her tower and she tells Atreyu (bless you) that even though everyone is dead and the planet is now chunks of rock floating in space, he still succeeded in his quest. The Childlike Empress’s whole plot was to get Sebastian (remember him) to read the book long enough that he starts hallucinating and thinks the book is talking to him. So The Childlike Empress and Sebastian sit down together and have themselves a little palaver, as Sebastian has now crossed over into the world of the book. Yes, you could say it was a very engrossing read.

The Childlike Empress tells Sebastian he can have as many wishes as his wishing ass can wish. First he wishes everything in Fantasia goes back to the way it was, out of the guilt he feels for being so thickheaded and not realizing he could have saved everyone earlier rather than have to resurrect them from the beyond. Once that is accomplished, his next wish is for the blood of his enemies. Sebastian and Falkor dive bomb the punks that tossed him into the dumpster. Revenge is best served from the back of flying dragon.

The moral of the movie: turn to a life of crime and all your wishes will come true.

Now that I’ve rewatched the movie, I can’t help but point out that there is another, sinister interpretation of events no one is talking about. You see, everything that happened after Sebastian entered that book store all happened inside his head. When the dusty old turd that owns the book store stepped out of the room to answer the phone, he really came right back in with a bottle of chloroform. He knocked out Sebastian and put him in his basement to become his sex slave. The Childlike Empress and Atreyu (bless you)? They’re fellow children abducted by the old man. Falkor the dragon? He’s an allegory for the heroin the kids were doped up with. The ending, flying into the sunset on Falkor? That’s Sebastian hoping for an overdose to relieve him from the nightmare he is now living. It’s not pretty, but that just might be what really happened. And as disturbing as that may be, this is more disturbing yet: to this very day, the theme song from The NeverEnding Story is still being played in grocery stores all across America.

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