It Has Happened - The NeverEnding Story to Never End Again
by Brandon Lee Tenney
February 26, 2009
Gather ’round, faithful readers. Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a boy. A boy a lot like you. He found an old, long-forgotten book. As a loner, he found solace in this tome. And the story within just so happened to find solace in him. The story drew him in, weaving the boy's life with its story, making a hero of him in the land of Fantasia where he became tasked with saving the the entirety of the universe (as he thought he knew it) on behalf of the lovely Childlike Empress. This is The NeverEnding Story, and since its release in 1984 it has carved out a nostalgic place in the hearts of many a young viewer.
And guess what? Warner Brothers and Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way are looking to reboot the mythical tale for contemporary audiences. The NeverEnding Story, mind you, was first a very, very good book. The German novel (get it on Amazon), written by Michael Ende, is a splendid fantasy and has garnered quite a following. Then, when adapted for the screen, the story of Bastian, Atreyu, The Childlike Empress, Falkor, Rockbiter, and the Nothing garnered its very own cult following. I am one of those followers. It wasn't uncommon for me to plead with my parents for an AURYN talisman (see here) when I was younger. There's a certain child-like love that surrounds the film. And one does not bastardize that type of love.
So, why does the news of a reboot excite me? Because, objectively, The NeverEnding Story is, in a word, shit. Sure, as a kid, it was the greatest. Falkor was as real as my own labrador and I was Bastian. But when it comes right down to it, the film is far too childish, far too campy, and reeks of the 80s. A reboot would, hopefully, allow the sublimity of the core conceit to shine through. Think of Harry Potter or the Narnia films - the way both of those movies (and their respective books) have galvanized their audiences. The NeverEnding Story has that power. Not to mention, I'd love to see Falkor in all of his CG glory.
With many 80's franchises set to be rebooted (e.g. RoboCop, Akira, Karate Kid), I'd love to see The NeverEnding Story join the ranks as well. It's a story that is relatable to almost any era. And, riding the coat tails of the big-studio fantasy tent pole franchises of late, it definitely has blockbuster potential. Are you ready to delve into Fantasia once again? Or should Hollywood just let a sleeping luckdragon lay?