HTF OFFICIAL REVIEW: The NeverEnding Story

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 12, 2001.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    The NeverEnding Story

    Young Bastian is a child with an imagination.
    Perhaps it's the fact that he recently lost his
    Mother, and now spends his days reading books and
    keeping his head above the clouds. So much so,
    in fact, that his father pleads with him to
    "stop daydreaming and start facing your problems".
    Bastian's problems is that he is a kid who
    has problems in school and constantly is being
    chased by the neighborhood bullies. One day he
    gets chased into an old bookstore where he meets
    a crusty old bookkeeper. It is there that he is
    told about an "unsafe" book that turns out to be
    titled, The NeverEnding Story.
    Chalk this DVD up to being another one of those
    titles that has been on Warner's most wanted list
    since coming into DVD in 1997. It's no wonder why
    this movie has been on the demand list -- it's a
    wildly imaginative story that was like no other
    when it first appeared theatrically in 1984. Leave
    it to the noted visual director, Wolfgang Peterson,
    to bring the most imaginative dream-like film to
    the screen. With the help of some of the most
    talented technical gurus in film history, this is
    a film that visually unlocks all our minds and takes
    us into the world of Fantasia with charcters of the
    likes of Night Hob, Rock Biter and Falkor.
    The DVD is released 2-sided with both PAN & SCAN
    and WIDESCREEN versions (imagine that!). I, of
    course, opted to watch the film in its correct
    film ratio. It was actually a thrill to see this
    presented widescreen on Home Video. Up until this
    DVD, I still had the original VHS release (which
    incidently was one of Warner's first HI-FI STEREO
    VHS titles back in the mid 80's).
    I had just completed watching The Mummy Returns,
    so it may be awfully unfair to say that I was
    a bit saddened by the picture quality of
    NeverEnding Story. Although the transfer
    is generally very good, the DVD format does enhance
    the film's age. Colors are not as vivid as one
    would like. There is noticeable grain in the picture
    detail. This was obviously not a film that was
    was painfully restored, nor should it have been.
    The sound, on the other hand, was more encouraging.
    Though this DVD is presented Dolby Digital, it is
    not a 5.1 mix. The audio is very robust, and my
    rear speakers gave off some ambient music throughout
    the film. What I did enjoy, was the rumblings from
    my SVS subwoofer as THE NOTHING trampled its way
    through the woods of Fantasia.
    The supplements aren't much to brag about. There
    are very basic pages that list cast members (without
    giving extensive biographies). There are also
    rather useless character bios that really don't
    add much to the overall content. A theatrical
    trailer is also included.
    There is no doubt that The NeverEnding Story
    is a DVD that belongs in every collection. It takes
    us back to a time when we were kids and immersed
    ourselves into books. It brings out our most
    innermost dreams of becoming part of the story,
    interacting with its characters, and ultimately
    realizing how cool it would be if we, the reader,
    could change the fate of the story by letting our
    own imagination run wild.
    Release Date: Available Now
    ------------------
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    Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
    Circa 2000
    Home Theater Forum Administrator
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  2. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  3. PhilipG

    PhilipG Cinematographer

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    Thanks Ron for your review. [​IMG]
    Coincidentally I've just finished watching the film myself - the first time in over ten years. I too had the pan/scam VHS in the 80's, and I watched it to death... and now I have the DVD.
    Having been so familiar with the cropped version, it was an absolute revelation to see The Neverending Story in its full scope glory. Terrific composition. This is one for widescreen.org to showcase.
    DVD quality: good, not great. Better than I expected. However, because Warner wasted one side on pan/scam, there is only a single layer for widescreen data (no DVD-18!), and I noticed several MPEG encoding problems, most evident in the opening credits. Not too offensive. I thought that the colours were very good, and edge enhancement scarcely visible (hooray!).
    The soundtrack for this movie, as everyone knows, is superb. I thought the DVD sound mix was a little sub-par (it seemed too confined to the centre-channel). Maybe Pro-Logic-II will help out...
    The only significant DVD extra is the trailer - however, for a single-layered DVD, I'm quite happy there wasn't more.
    I'd agree with Ron that everyone needs The Neverending Story in their collection. Everyone, that is, who has young kids, or who grew up in the early 80's, or who has time for an imaginative, intriguing, non-cynical film like this.
    But having said that, Michael Ende's book is even better.
     
  4. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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  5. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    quote: There is no doubt that The NeverEnding Story is a DVD that belongs in every collection.[/quote]
    I totally agree with that. The NeverEnding Story is a great fantasy film that most people should love.
    I do agree also that Michael Ende's book is much better than the film. The film takes most (not all) of the first half of the book and adds in a new ending. The NeverEnding Story II through, takes in some of the themes from the second half of the book, but adds in more characters and subplots that were just horrific and made the film even worse (but then again, The NeverEnding Story II is just horrible itself).
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    [Edited last by Matthew Chmiel on September 12, 2001 at 04:45 PM]
     
  6. Lafe F

    Lafe F Second Unit

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    I noticed Warner did not include the "Box Office Bunny" cartoon on the Neverending Story II disc.
     
  7. Tom Ryan

    Tom Ryan Screenwriter

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    I don't really believe there's any such thing as a disc that belongs in EVERYONE'S collection. I mean, there isn't one movie that everyone loves. However, this one is hard to hate [​IMG].
    -Tom
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    There is nothing wrong with any of the surrounds on your Forrest Gump DVD! It's ok!!!
     
  8. Ben_S

    Ben_S Agent

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    This is one of the best movies to watch as a kid and has a very special meaning to me and no doubt a lot of other people. Seeing it for the first time in many many years and in widescreen almost brought tears to my eyes. The transfer is fantastic and the musical score has never sounded better. I think it's one of the best fantasy film scores ever.
     
  9. David Rubenstein

    David Rubenstein Stunt Coordinator

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  10. Brett Hancock

    Brett Hancock Supporting Actor

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    Sweet. I remember watching this one when I was 6-7 the part with the wolf scared the piss out of me every single time. None the less a wonderful movie. Pecae
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    "Come on, you fuckers think that just cause a guy reads comics he can't start some shit, I'll fucking take all you on!"
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  11. David Dennison

    David Dennison Second Unit

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    I watched it with my 3 year old daughter. She loves the movie and has already watched it several times.
     
  12. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Hey Matthew-
    Have you seen The NeverEnding Story III? It makes the second one look so much better!!!!
    On that note, I have both of the NeverEnding Story discs and I'm glad to have them, all though I was hoping for more supplements.
    You guys are right, the movie should be used for widescreen demonstrations. I never knew what I was missing!
    -Nate
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  13. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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  14. Roland Wandinger

    Roland Wandinger Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember vividly my visit to the Bavaria Film Studios in Munich were they show a lot of props from the movie like the southern Oracle and the Luckdragon.
    I saw this movie maybe 5 times in cinemas and countless times on VHS. Some years ago I bought the LD and know the DVD.
    I was a little disappointed by the sound of the DVD compared to the LD so I synched the picture of the DVD to the sound of the LD -> the best you can watch this movie at home!
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  16. John_Lee

    John_Lee Supporting Actor

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    Am I the only person who still chuckles when they realize that 'The Neverending Story' has a sequel? How did they know where to start?
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Good point. . .then again, how could a "neverending story" HAVE a sequel? By definition, a sequel comes *afterwards*. . .
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Roland Wandinger

    Roland Wandinger Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Jim Robbins

    Jim Robbins Stunt Coordinator

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    Roland,
    I took the same tour of Bavaria studios and you're correct about the props. The kids could even have a video of them flying on the back of the Luck dragon. If anyone gets the chance, go by the studios in the south of Munich. You'll see a full scale "Das Boot", sets from "Enemy Mine" as well as others.
     
  20. Matthew_S

    Matthew_S Second Unit

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    I'm with Al Brown.
    "Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film, "The Never-Ending Story""-L. Hutz
     

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