My Neverending Childhood

Neverending Story

Yesterday, a local theatre had an afternoon showing of one of my favorite childhood films, The Neverending Story. Steven had never seen it before, so I insisted we go. I own it on DVD, so it wasn’t like it was the first time I’d seen it in many years, but I’d never seen it on the big screen. The first time I ever saw it was on videotape.

When I was little, that was one of our go-to movies. It was before the days you could buy your favorite films on VHS. No, we had to rent it over and over and over again. Then we’d run down the street singing the theme song at the top of our lungs, pretending we were riding Falkor.

I always enjoy watching this film, but seeing it in the theatre, larger-than-life, with the music streaming out at me from large speakers…it was a much more emotional experience than I’d expected. I started tearing up just listening to the opening theme. It took me right back to that insecure, awkward kid I used to be. The little girl who wanted an imaginary world to disappear into in the worst way. By the end, when Bastian starts making wishes, I was a blubbering mess.

And it was great.

Even looking at it as an adult, it holds up rather well. There are a few exceptions–I had a huge crush on Atreyu at the time, but the “noble savage as savior” trope really doesn’t work these days. Also, there’s a dearth of female roles–something I didn’t notice at the time because most movies were like that. The fact that the few we have are either all-knowing Mysterious Creatures or nagging wives doesn’t really sit well with me now.

And this is the movie that taught me about continuity errors. The Childlike Empress wears a nifty pearl headpiece, but in her big scene at the end, the two strips in the middle move depending on which take they used. That bothered the heck out of me when I was little, but now that I’ve seen oodles of examples of this everywhere, I’ve gotten used to it. I do still notice it every time I watch though.

Given how well the rest of this film works, I find all those issues very easy to overlook. (I will admit nostalgia may be a big factor in that.) Even the special effects hold up pretty well. They’re not great, but they’re not laughable like some other fantasy media of the time.

Happily, Steven enjoyed it, even seeing it for the first time as a theoretically-grown-up adult. So we will remain married. And I’ll continue to show him more of the beloved films he’s missed. But that…is another story.

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