NEVERENDING STORY [BLU-RAY] (1984)
The Neverending Story [Blu-ray] (1984)
Actors: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver, Tami Stronach, Gerald McRaney, Drum Garrett
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Format: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English, French
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Run Time: 94 minutes
Why is it that "films for the whole family" are usually aimed at the six-year-old members of said family?
That said, the best age to have seen this 1984 fantasy movie at would be in the seven- to eight-year-old range (my seven-year-old daughter loves it to bits).
That doesn't mean that the story is completely inaccessible to anyone older though.
As far as cheesy 'Eighties Fantasy flicks go, this expensive and lavish German production by the director of Das Boot, aimed at the international market, has aged rather well in this Blu-Ray format.
Except for the corny Limahl theme song by Georgio Moroder there is little to date it, and thanks to the remarkable Blu-Ray sound and image quality NeverEnding Story feels like something made over the past decade or so instead of - can ya believe it! - more than a quarter century ago . . .
Yup, it's been twenty-six years now and except for some dodgy flying dragon effects even the pre-CGI special effects have held up remarkably well. Particularly impressive is a giant rock creature which has a solidity and realness to it that is lacking in many CGI creatures today. (Today it probably would have looked like something out of a videogame.)
The rather post-modernist plot involves a young boy named Bastian (Barret Oliver) reading a magical book about a brave warrior boy called Atreyu (Noah Hathaway) who has to save a magical empire named Fantasia from a growing force called the Nothing that threatens to devour the entire place.
The device probably works better in the original literary format, but seven-year-olds will simply delight in the prospect of having their own flying dragon to chase away bullies.
THE DISC: This disc is the first time that this movie is available in 5.1 audio. It looks and sounds fantastic. Compare this movie to the original Clash of the Titans, which is only a few years older but suffers from excessive grain in many scenes even in its Blu-Ray incarnation.
The 5.1 sound is however all that is "special" about this bare bones disc. You don't get any special features. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Not even a director's commentary by Wolfgang Peterson or trailers for the original feature or its two sequels.
WORTH IT? The lack of special features is lamentable, but the odds are that your seven-year-old won't mind.
(Note to parents: heed the PG rating. Some bits involving a wolf creature are scary and the scenes involving Atreyu's doomed depressive horse will probably have your little 'uns sobbing aloud.)