The Neverending Story was one of those movies that helped define my childhood, along with Labyrinth, Willow, and The Princess Bride. These stories encouraged my imagination to soar, and although my memory of the actual plots isn’t overly solid, the feelings I have when I think about them are much, much stronger.
Honestly, it’s all the soundtracks that linger in my head when I think about these movies. For those in my age group – the recently-turned-40 people – I bet you can hear the melodies now. The Neverending Storyeeeeeeee, da na na da na na na na na. Or maybe you can hear David Bowie’s voice singing Dance, dance magic dance. Oh, the 80s.
I wanted a memory that allowed me to revel in the nostalgia of the decade. This was a memory entirely dedicated to giving my inner child the spotlight. Watching this movie was for her. The adult me was prepared for cheesy graphics and a story that’s more intended for a younger audience. But the night wasn’t about adult me.
I made popcorn, dimmed the lights, and turned up the volume. This was going to be an event. While watching, I surprised myself with how much I actually remembered about the movie. I was also caught by how quickly the story unfolded. As a kid, I felt the movie was longer. You know, somewhat never-ending.
I realized there wasn’t really that much to the plot, but it didn’t matter. There was so much that Little Mindy clung to, that validated her experience. Especially those bullies in the early scenes. I still remember the names of the boys who bullied me all through elementary school. The Neverending Story provided an escape route from that.
I still ugly-cried when Artax the horse gave up and drowned in the Swamp of Sadness. I still swooned over how cute Falkor, the flying dog thing, was. I still pumped my fist in the air in solidarity when Bastian flew over his bullies at the end of the movie and they put themselves in the dumpster.
This movie warmed my heart back in the 80s, and still to this day. I can’t wait to use my library card a bit more to watch the others that shaped the imagination of my youth.