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June 14, 2024 94 mins

In this classic episode of Weirdhouse Cinema, Rob and Joe venture into the 1984 fantasy film “The Neverending Story,” a generation-defining film based on the elegant novel by German author Michael Ende. It’s also a throwback to a time when you could have one guy do most of the creature voices in a film. (originally published 04/07/2023)

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hey, welcome to Weird House Cinema. Rewind. This is Rob
Lamb and oh we have one of my favorites here
for you today, one of my favorite movies, and I
think it was a pretty solid episode as well. Hopefully
my enthusiasm and Joe's enthusiasm for the peace shines through.
This is going to be our episode covering The Never
Ending Story, the classic, really generation defining nineteen eighty four

(00:27):
fantasy film. We originally published this episode four seven, twenty
twenty three. Please enjoy.

Speaker 2 (00:36):
Welcome to Stuff to Blow your Mind, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 1 (00:46):
Hey, welcome to Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (00:48):
This is Rob Lamb and this is Joe McCormick. And
today we're going to be covering a well known classic.
We are finally getting around to the nineteen eighty four
fantasy film The Never Ending Story, something that I know
many people of my generation grew up watching over and
over on VHS tapes. But Rob, I think, if I

(01:09):
understand correctly, both the movie and the book here are
very dear to you.

Speaker 1 (01:14):
Yeah. Well, I don't have as long a history with
the book. The book is one that I ended up
purchasing at some point. It was on the shelf, and
then I finally got around to reading it as well
when I got back into the film with my son
a few years back. But I instantly it was one
of these situations you never know exactly what the source
material for something that you hold dear is going to

(01:34):
be like. But I was really blown away by Michael
Inda's novel. In my experience, it delivered everything I wanted
to of the never Ending Story as I knew it,
but then adding all of these other dimensions to it,
and of course an entire half a book plus on
top of what we see in the film, which.

Speaker 3 (01:54):
I haven't read the book, but from what I understand,
the other half of the book not featured in the film,
goes in a much darker direction.

Speaker 1 (02:01):
Yeah, I think that's fair to say. I've made the
comparison before to like Doune and Doune Messiah, where the
first half of The Neverending Story is basically done about
a hero's ascension and then the second half the Doom
Messiah portion of the Neverending Story. It is kind of
about the complications that occur when one achieves this power,

(02:23):
like what does that disrupt? What new challenges are presented?
And so forth. So yeah, I've been wanting to cover
the Neverending Story on Weird House for a while. You know,
it's certainly a mainstream film and one that I think
many listeners have already seen, so it's weirdness doesn't emerge
from its unfamiliarity. It's, in many ways, I think, a
generation defining film. Like you said, it's one of these

(02:44):
films of the sort of the dark fantasy films of
the nineteen eighties, alongside the likes of The Dark Crystal
and so forth that made a huge impact on a
lot of young viewers. But I feel like this one
hits a little differently than just about any other particular
dark fantasy film of this time period I can think of,
Like you know, did a Dark Crystal Return to Oz? Yes,

(03:07):
they all have these fantastic, rich worlds. They all present,
often a young viewer with the with some dark imagery
or ideas, But there's nothing quite like nineteen eighty four
as the never Ending Story.

Speaker 3 (03:18):
Well, one thing I didn't realize until just this moment
when you made the comparison is the thematic overlap between
the Never Ending Story and Return to Oz, which are
both essentially stories that integrate a fantasy world with the
mundane human environment in the imagination of a child, and
that human child character is essentially being like, there are

(03:42):
there are adults around that child trying to tell them
not to have an imagination anymore, and the child is
rebelling by dreaming up all of these fantastic places and
creatures and adventures.

Speaker 1 (03:53):
Yeah, I mean the adults are also helping to foster
a traumatic world that is sending the young person even
further into the world of fantasy. So this one should
be a fun one to discuss here. I tell you what,
I was trying to think of an elevator pitch. At first,
it was difficult because I mean, it's the never Ending Story.
It's like, all you have to say is that, and
I have this instant, crystallized idea of what it is.

(04:13):
But when I thought a little hard, I was like, oh,
it's essentially Feris Buehler's day off, except for book nerds.

Speaker 3 (04:19):
That's very good. And in fact, I was going to
get into this later in the discussion, but maybe it's
good to bring up right here at the top. When
I think back on my childhood feelings about the never
Ending Story. One way in which I think it is
distinct from a lot of these other fantasy films is
that in this movie, the things about it that stuck

(04:40):
with me the most were actually not the fantasy elements,
not the creatures within Fantasia, but like the scene where
and we'll describe the plot in more detail later, but
like the scene where the human child Bastion goes into
the bookshop and speaks with the man bookshep, or the

(05:01):
scenes where he has snuck away from school and I
guess he's still in the school building. He's snuck away
from class and he's just hiding out reading a book
by himself. Those scenes, when I was a child, they
had a really powerful sort of magic about them, just
like the excitement at the idea of being alone, away

(05:23):
from the scheduled existence of like school life and activities
and all the things adults are telling you to do,
and just getting to hide with a book and read
and these sort of dusty corners. It was almost intoxicating.

Speaker 1 (05:36):
Oh, I absolutely agree. And yeah, these scenes the bookshop
and the school attic where Bastion holds down and reads
the never ending story. Yeah, both of these sequences in
the film I think are very true to how they're
presented in the book, And yeah, as a child and
as an adult, there's something about that, like, yeah, just

(05:58):
like hiding away and reading and then and eating that sandwich,
the scene where Bastian's like, yes, oh yeah, I'm hungry.
I'm going to get out my lunch from today and
eat it. Like I get a little snacky every time
I watch that sequence.

Speaker 3 (06:10):
So not so much about the sandwich itself, but I
thought of the comparison of the reading scenes where he's
hiding out with the book are almost as like carnally
appetizing as really good food scenes in other movies, like
you know, the cooking scene and Goodfellas or something where
you're like looking at delicious foods and you're like, oh,

(06:31):
I've got to go eat now. This movie does that
for hiding away with the book.

Speaker 1 (06:36):
Yeah, the attic especially is great because you look at
the other environments that the real world Bastion has to
encounter like that. We'll talk about him in more depth
in a minute, but like the kitchen of his house
where he has sort of breakfast with his dad, or
certainly the school hallways, like these are so dry and
sterile and just you know, just devoid of joy. But

(06:59):
here in the in the attic, we have this kind
of like transitional realm, this place where they the boring
and like anti creative forces of his life, where they
set aside all of these like remnants of imagination, and
so you see things like animal heads and what like
Knight's armor and so forth in the background, like all
these and even just like suggestive shapes where it's like

(07:22):
this is like a lost temple of the imagination.

Speaker 3 (07:25):
Why are there swords in the attic of the school?

Speaker 1 (07:28):
I don't know, but yeah, it works absolutely because yeah,
there are other aspects about that. As I was, I
rewatched it with my son, which was very nice, and
maybe he even brought it. It's like, well, why why
has no one noticed that that bastion has not come home?
Like it's night time out? Is his dad really working
that late? Well?

Speaker 3 (07:44):
Maybe, I mean you kind of have to press that
don't think about that button then, yeah, because otherwise it's like, oh, yeah,
there's gonna be an emergency here. Everybody's like where has
the child gone?

Speaker 1 (07:54):
Yeah, all right, well, let's go ahead and listen to
the trailer audio for this film.

Speaker 4 (08:03):
What is the secret of this Enchanted book. What wonders
are hidden within its pages? What magical spell does it
cast on all who read it? What is the secret
of the never Ending Story?

Speaker 2 (08:23):
It is impossible.

Speaker 4 (08:37):
You will enter a world where a young boy's imagination
becomes a vivid reality. The world of betray You and
our tacks, the rock Biter and a good and kind
gnome a world that is vast and eternal, out, treacherous

(08:58):
and dazzling, unforgettable and free. Or anyone who's ever made
a wish, believed in a fantasy, or had a dream,
this is the never Ending Story.

Speaker 1 (09:21):
All right. I think that captured some of the sweeping music,
some of the energy of the picture.

Speaker 3 (09:25):
Now, Robert, I don't know if we've ever discussed this before,
but I made a connection in my brain between your
long running relationship with this movie and the kind of
music that is featured in the soundtrack of this movie.
I bet we probably got some of it in the
trailer there, though I hadn't listened to the trailer ahead
of time, so I don't know. But is there a

(09:47):
relationship between the never Ending Story and electronic music scores?
In your mind?

Speaker 1 (09:54):
Oh? Yeah, yeah, definitely. And it's gonna be fun when
we get into the musicians, respond onstable because you've got
a couple of really big names here. You I mean,
you have Claus Dollinger, who is like a great German
synth composer and saxophonist. He's the guy who scored nineteen
eighty one's Dost Bout. And then you also have Giorgio

(10:14):
Moroder adding these additional synth tracks and also that really
catchy theme music for the US release of the film.
And yeah, especially Moroder. Moroder is a huge name in
electronic music in Italo disco. I mean, he's just he's
a titan of the sound. So yeah, well we'll get

(10:34):
into him in a bit, but yeah, it's you can't
just take Marouder out of like eighties films and expect
anything to sound the same. It's definitely a movie where
like the ideas of the book, the music, and also
something very distinctive about the visuals all come together. I
think we've talked before about sort of the sameness of

(10:54):
the visual flare of a lot of films, certainly of
the of the modern period. Know how, certain like monsters
will sort of look the same, space suits will sort
of looked the same, and nothing else really quite looks
like this movie, and part of it has to do
with the uh, the artist that was involved in designing
these various creatures and scenes.

Speaker 3 (11:14):
That's a good point. So I was going to raise
this when when we were talking about the plot, but
actually we could address it now. So yeah, I couldn't
help but compare this to a new fantasy film that
I saw over the past weekend. I went and saw
the Dungeons and Dragons movie, which I quite liked it was.
I thought it was great. It was funny, you know,

(11:36):
tightly written, well structured, plot zipped right along, had a
really nice cast. So basically thumbs up to all that.
It was a grand old time. But I do have
to admit I was not crazy about the way the
movie looked. Not because it looked bad. It didn't, you know,
like there was nothing ugly about it. It's not like

(11:56):
Jason X or something. But it just looked the same
way most big budget, mainstream genre movies I see these
days look so like I feel like all the Marvel
movies I've seen look this way too, And I don't know.
I'm not involved in cinematography, so I don't know exactly

(12:17):
what this quality is maybe if you out there listener,
you know more about cinematography and I don't know how
movies are color rated and all that kind of stuff,
like could explain what this thing I'm talking about is.
It's this quality of big mainstream genre movies today all
looking very smooth and digital somehow, like everything feels very

(12:40):
evenly well lit, and everything looks clean, and everything's just
kind of like sealed and seamed up and kind of
paved over with this digital sheen, like the whole movie
has been face tuned. You know those face tune apps
like people can use on I don't know if they use.

Speaker 1 (12:58):
On Instagram like a face or something.

Speaker 3 (13:01):
Well, no, I don't mean fully like, I don't mean
the ones that like give you a cat face people.
There's some kind of apps people, I'm gonna sound really
stupid people who actually know what these things are. But basically,
there are these apps people use to make their faces
look quote better. I don't know if they actually end
up looking better, but like with the other you know,
they'll run a selfie through them and their face comes

(13:21):
out just looking like smoother and more sort of evenly
lit and more. I don't know, like it sort of
takes out some of the texture and the individuality of
the image so.

Speaker 1 (13:34):
That they come out as a lie. Okay, that's fitting
for what are we discussing later on?

Speaker 3 (13:40):
Well, I don't know. So I mean, I don't want
to sound overly harsh, because again, I mean, I liked
the I liked the D and D movie. I've enjoyed
plenty of other movies that did look like this, But
I feel like the lack of visual distinctiveness does kind
of take away from my enjoyment. And I couldn't help
but keep making that mental comparison. When I was rewatching
the Ending story here and there are all these scenes

(14:03):
where I don't know, like you there, there's a lot
of playing with light and shadow. You can identify individual
sources of light to the surfaces within the sets and
and on the people feel like they have texture. There
would be bumps and wrinkles and things, and there's a
there's a feeling of dust and age and just generally

(14:23):
real life. And uh, the Never Ending Story has that
has that to the gills. You know, it's all over
the place that that that sense of reality and texture
to it. And that's what I feel like is lacking
in a lot of these big budget movies I see today.

Speaker 1 (14:38):
I think as a solid point. I mean, I agree
too that I saw the Dungeons and Dragons movie and
I loved it. I thought it was a lot of fun.
But yeah, I would stop myself from comparing it to
films like this, just because I was just like, it's
it's great if you compare it to like all the
other films that are coming out these days. But yeah,

(15:00):
like you said, the light and the darkness, the sense
of like physical reality that you find in a film
like this, it just doesn't compare.

Speaker 3 (15:08):
Yeah, I also didn't mean to imply that in every
other respect than the visual they are similar. They're also
different in other ways.

Speaker 1 (15:15):
Fun flick, though, recommend Under the seconds whatever the rest
of the name of it is called to adventure I
I can't remember the colon, but.

Speaker 3 (15:22):
You know what to talk about thieves, Gil honor among thieves.

Speaker 1 (15:25):
That's it, all right. Well, if you want to go
watch an ever ending story before proceeding with this episode,
we'll lucky for you, it's widely available both physically and digitally,
even if I'm not sure it's actually streaming anywhere at
the moment, I think it was on a streaming service
and then it like cycled out of that streaming service.
But it's highly available. You should be able to find

(15:47):
it wherever you are going to get your physical or
digital media. All right, well, let's get into the people
behind it. Let's start at the top with the director,
who also has a writing credit. It's Wolfgang Peterson, who
lived nineteen forty one through twenty two, twenty two German
director who rose to international acclaim with his third full
length film, nineteen eighty one's Dots Boot. This is, of course,

(16:07):
the German submarine movie. This film, The Neverending Story would
be his follow up film from nineteen eighty four, though
in nineteen eighty five he also directed Enemy Mine, which
is a science fiction film that I also quite like.
I wouldn't put it on the same level as this
film by any means. It also has, for my taste,
the best teaser trailer of all time. But don't watch

(16:30):
the full trailer for it, because it's also one of
these films where the full trailer for Enemy Mine ruins
absolutely everything that happens in the picture. Oh No, So, anyway,
I like Enemy Mine, but critics and audiences at the
time apparently did not, and Peterson did not return to
filmmaking till nineteen ninety one with a psychological thriller titled Chattered,
and then nineteen ninety three's In the Line of Fire,

(16:52):
which was a bit of a hit with everyone but
also certainly wasn't really weird.

Speaker 3 (16:57):
Wait a minute, in the Line of Fires that the
one where Clint Eastwood plays a secret service agent who
failed to save JFK's life. And then am I getting
this right?

Speaker 1 (17:08):
Yeah? And John Malkovich is trying to kill the president.

Speaker 3 (17:11):
I think for no particular political reason, he just wants to.

Speaker 1 (17:15):
Yeah, I saw it, but I don't remember much outside
of that. But the interesting thing about Peterson's filmography is, yeah,
he hits comes out strong with Dallas Boot. He does
this pair of pictures, a fantasy film and a sci
fi picture, and then most of the rest of his filmography,
the rest of his career, it's films kind of like

(17:36):
it's films like In the Line of Fire, which, again,
In the Line of Fire apparently did great business and
people liked it, critics liked it. But is this anybody's
favorite film? Does anyone consider nineteen ninety five's Outbreak, Break
another Peterson film, or nineteen ninety seven's Air Force One
their favorite film.

Speaker 3 (17:53):
He did Get Off My Plane.

Speaker 1 (17:55):
That's the Harrison Ford one, right.

Speaker 3 (17:57):
Harrison Ford is the president. What is another president? It's
a Harrison Ford. His Air Force One gets attacked by
I don't know, terrorists of some kind. Is Gary Oldman
one of them?

Speaker 1 (18:08):
I think, oh, that sounds about right.

Speaker 3 (18:10):
Yeah, yeah, But so Harrison Ford at one point famously says,
get off my plane.

Speaker 1 (18:18):
Yeah yeah. He also did two thousand's a Perfect Storm,
which I also saw. He also did a two thousand
and six remake of the Poseidon Adventure titled Poseidon. Oh,
and he also did the two thousand and four film Troy,
which has I think bred not as I say, no,
Brad Pitt playing Achilles.

Speaker 3 (18:37):
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, the Troy. I watched part of
that on television in Iceland. I think, yeah it. I
remember thinking it didn't look great though. I think it's
one of those like two thousands movies that, like the
movie itself doesn't look that good, but it's got a deep,

(18:57):
great cast. I think it had maybe Eric Bana as
oh what's his name, the the the hero of Troy
of the Other Side, not the Greeks. So what's his name, Hector,
that's it Hector, Yes, yes, I think it had and
it had Brian Cox, maybe his Agamemnon, and I don't

(19:18):
know a bunch other.

Speaker 1 (19:20):
It has a great cast, as I recall seeing. I
haven't seen the film, but yeah, yeah, so I get
the impression that, like with Peterson, again, not to cast
any doubt in his later career, because it sounds like it.
You know, it was tremendously successful, but it's like the
with Enemy Mine and an Everthing story. He made a
film for Bastian and with the rest of his pictures,

(19:41):
he made films for Bastian's dad, you know.

Speaker 3 (19:46):
Yeah, these are these are orange Juice and an egg
in the Blender movies.

Speaker 1 (19:51):
Yeah. So, but anyway, John taking anything away from him,
Like I said, I I haven't seen Daf's Boot in forever,
but I remember liking that one even as a younger
viewer of films. And we'll come back to that one
because the score on that one's also really good. All right.
So again Peterson also has writing credit on this, but
so does Herman Weigel born nineteen fifty German writer and

(20:13):
producer on a number of mostly German screenplays German language
screenplays in his filmography. He was also one of the
associate producers on nineteen eighty six is the Name of
the Rose, and he's still active. But as we mentioned,
this is of course based on a book. It's based
on a book by German author Michael Inda, who lived
nineteen twenty nine through nineteen ninety five. So he's yeah,

(20:34):
the true master of mind, I think behind this film
author of the book which came out in seventy nine. Again,
this film is an adaptation of the first half or
so of the novel, and the remainder is equally great,
but kind of a different tale. You know, what happens
next is kind of about like what happens when the
dreamer is truly ascendant and the potential pitfalls of the fantastic,

(20:56):
but it's still great. Indo was a German author, the
son of a surren list painter that was banned under
the Nazi regime. Perhaps like fatherlike son, because in his
writing often features surreal and paradoxical elements. There are often
a lot of real mind twisters that he unleashes on you,
certainly in The Never Ending Story. His other novels include Momo,

(21:17):
which I'm currently reading with my son, and also a
book called Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver, which
I don't know anything about, but yeah, definitely has a
following outside of this film, especially in Germany. The book
was tremendously popular in Germany and in the famously disliked
this film adaptation, which I think is just going to

(21:39):
happen sometimes with adaptations, no matter what the creator, the
author is so tied to it, it's just not always
going to I personally love both the film and the novel.
I think the film does a fine job with the material,
even if the original book is ultimately more thought provoking
and less diluted. But it's still like nothing.

Speaker 3 (22:00):
Else, you know. Despite the fact that I absolutely do
love this movie even without having read the book, I
feel like I can detect places in the script in
the film where the story is kind of patched together,
kind of quickly duct taped together to cover up some gaps,
like I don't know, do you know what I mean?

(22:21):
Like there are parts of it that just kind of
feel like, uh, Okay, we maybe couldn't afford to do
this shot or something, so we had to like stitch
these two parts together.

Speaker 1 (22:30):
Yeah, yeah, and certainly you can see that comparing the
book to the movie, like their whole encounters that are
cut out, and by a little luck dragon magic, you're
able to sort of stitch everything back together again. Now,
it's worth noting that The Never Ending Story spawned two
sequels in nineteen ninety and nineteen ninety four, as well
as in nineteen ninety five animated series and a two

(22:50):
thousand and one German language live action TV series. I
can't speak for the TV shows at all, but as
far as the sequels go, I did watch I think
maybe half of Part two finally, and it at least
tries to adapt some aspects of the second half of
the book. It stars Jonathan Brandis as Bastian. It has
some cool creatures in it, but it's just the same

(23:12):
magic is not there. And then Part three, I've not
seen it all, but it looks kind of awful, even
though it does have a good cast. It's got Jack
Black in it, It's got Freddy Jones and Julie Cox
in it, and Jason James Richter of the Free Willie
franchise plays Bastion.

Speaker 3 (23:29):
Does it have an Orca?

Speaker 1 (23:30):
No, no, Orca, just luck Dragons.

Speaker 3 (23:33):
Then I'm out.

Speaker 1 (23:42):
All right getting into the cast of this movie. First
of all, playing Bastion Bastian Balthazar Bucks. His full name
in the novel is Barrett Oliver born nineteen seventy three,
former child actor of the nineteen eighties who really lit
it up for a short while there. This was his
first film role, followed by the nineteen eighty for Tim
Burton short Franken Weeny, which is really good, nineteen eighty

(24:04):
five's Daryl. That's dryl like it stands for something, but
I don't think I ever saw it. It's about a
robot or a computer.

Speaker 3 (24:11):
I'm guessing you don't know what Darryl stands for. No,
it's do all robots yodel loudly.

Speaker 1 (24:18):
Oh okay, Well that makes sense.

Speaker 3 (24:20):
I have ever seen it.

Speaker 1 (24:22):
I get it confused with wargames, I think anyway. Also,
he was in nineteen eighty five's Cocoon, and I also
find it amusing that in nineteen eighty four he appeared
both in an episode of Highway to Heaven and the
TV movie Invitation to Hell.

Speaker 3 (24:34):
Now wait a minute. Before he starred in Daryl, didn't
he also star in Larry and then another movie named Darryl.

Speaker 1 (24:40):
No No, No, No No. He came back for nineteen
eighty eight's Cocoon The Return, and his last film credit
was nineteen eighty nine's Scenes from the Class Struggle in
Beverly Hills. He went on to become a photographer in
his adult life. But that's just one of the major
child actors in this film, because Bastian, of course, is

(25:01):
our character in the real world, but in the realm
of Fantasia, we were following the adventure of a Treyu
who's played by Noah Hathaway.

Speaker 3 (25:08):
I don't know why I thought this, because they don't
even look that similar. But I think when I saw
this was when I was a kid, I thought these
I thought it was the same actor playing both roles.

Speaker 1 (25:18):
I might have assumed the same thing. Yeah, I didn't.
When you see a movie like this young enough, you
don't really you know, you're not gonna pull out IMDb
and start figuring out who's playing who. But anyway, Yeah,
Hathaway was another major eighties child actor. He started off
as Boxy on the original Battlestar Galactica series and did
various TV roles until nineteen eighty four, when He started

(25:39):
in both this and also was in the nineteen eighty
four Saul Bass short film Quest, which I think will
cover the next time we do a short film episode
of Weird House Cinema.

Speaker 3 (25:50):
Oh boy, Saul Bass, director of I was about to
say them, not them Phase four.

Speaker 1 (25:57):
Yes, the other Ant movie, the Ant movie we've done. Yes,
now as far as Hathaway goes. In nineteen eighty six,
he played, of course, Harry Potter Junior in Troll which
we may have to come back to that one as well.
We've seen its unofficial sequel, Troll Too, which does not
have Harry Potter Junior.

Speaker 3 (26:15):
Troll Too is, of course a B movie classic. I
remember the last time I tried to watch the original
Troll it was it took some effort getting to the end.

Speaker 1 (26:26):
Oh yeah, I've never seen it. It has a great cast. Okay,
what Julia Louis Dreyfus is in it? I guess so yeah, anyway,
I need to see it at some point at anyway.
After nineteen eighty six, Hathaway didn't act again until ninety four,
and then again it was like the twenty teens before
he acted again. Has stated that most of his dialogue

(26:48):
in this film is dubbed Alic should also add that
in the book A Treyu has green skin, and I
think I've read that they did some test shoots with
Hathaway in green body paint and then decided it didn't
look right.

Speaker 3 (26:59):
I read that too. I read that he compared it
to he ended up. He said, he ended up looking
like a fun guy.

Speaker 1 (27:05):
All right. Another character we have as the bookstore owner
Carl Conrad Coriander, played by Thomas Hill, who lived nineteen
twenty seven through two thousand and nine. This is probably
his best remembered role, but he had a long running
recurring role on TV's New Heart, which he just referenced
to earlier. He also pops up in nineteen eighty four's
v The Final Battle, and I had no idea this existed,

(27:28):
but I read that he voiced Uncle Ben in the
nineteen eighty one radio drama of Star Wars, which features
Mark Hamill as Luke. Anthony Daniels is c three po
But then like they didn't have some of the other
like someone else is doing Han solo. Brock Peters is
doing the voice of Darth Vader, so sounds interesting. Hill
was also in the supporting cast of the Clint Eastwood

(27:50):
jet movie Firefox from nineteen eighty two.

Speaker 3 (27:52):
I haven't seen it. Is that about a helicopters.

Speaker 1 (27:56):
Or it's about something that's kind of like an SR
seventy one Blackbird, like a big black jet that the
Eastwood is flying. And I remember seeing the box art
for it as a kid, and I was like, this
movie looks so cool. I absolutely must see this film.
And I can't remember I've ever did or not, because
I don't think it quite fulfills that promise to youth.

Speaker 3 (28:16):
It reminds me of my relationship to a movie called
Navy Seals. So I was like, well, this is just
it's called Navy Seals. It's got to be the coolest
movie ever made. It was not all right.

Speaker 1 (28:27):
We mentioned Bastion's father, who is not in the film
much at all, but I guess kind of has his
character has important weight. And this is played by Gerald McRaney,
another notable TV actor. His first film role was nineteen
sixty nine's Night of Bloody Horror, followed by Women of
Bloody Terror, and in nineteen seventy he had a role
in an episode of Night Gallery. So I had a

(28:49):
pretty horror based beginning, but then it's from there it
goes into a lot of increasingly successful TV work. He
of course was one of the Simons on TV Simon
and Simon in the eighties, and he has at least
one off roles in just a ton of TV series
all the way up through recent shows like This Is
Us and ncis Los Angeles.

Speaker 3 (29:09):
I don't know why. Bastioni's father kind of reminded me
of of Louis del Grand, the guy who plays the
you know, the guy in Scanners. So it's like when
he's leaving for work that morning, he's leaving because he
has to go do a presentation in the auditorium at Concept.

Speaker 1 (29:24):
A similar look, the mustache, the balding.

Speaker 3 (29:27):
Had the never Ending Scan.

Speaker 1 (29:31):
Yeah, all right, let's seeho else do we have here.
We have Tammy's Stronach as the childlike Impress born nineteen
seventy two. This was her first role and her most
notable one. I think she's been active in like documentaries
and so forth on The never Ending Story, and she
has a film coming up called Man in which that
she acts in and was also an ep on. Looks
like as a good cast. We have a character in

(29:52):
the book called karn and this character, I'm sorry, the
character in the book is a centaur. In the movie,
he's kind of a dude with like a super tall forehead,
like kind a kind of a point on the top
of his head, and he's like speaking on behalf of
the childlike Impress.

Speaker 3 (30:09):
Yeah, it took him as kind of I don't know,
a lieutenant or the steward of Gondor. But for Fantasia,
while the Empress is sick and he's sort of watching
over things, and he's the one who explains to everyone.
He is master exposition. He lays out the lore.

Speaker 1 (30:26):
Yeah, and clearly I think based on Kyron the centaur
from Greek mythology the teacher who what todd Achilles actually,
But yeah, and he has a bigger role in the book,
but in this he's just has this one scene. But anyway,
Moses Gunn plays him in the movie. Solid character. Actor
appeared in such Flix Says nineteen seventy is the Great

(30:48):
White Hope seventy one, Shaft seventy five's Rollerball nineteen eighties,
the Ninth Configuration, fire Starter in eighty four, Heartbreak Ridge
in eighty six, and on TV. He was very active
and has a great villainous role on a Tales from
the Crypt episode titled Fitting Punishment, in which he plays
this mean funeral home director. And I think we've mentioned

(31:10):
that episode before because it also has an actor by
the name of Teddy Wilson in it who is in
Devil's Express. All right, so mostly human actors we've been
talking about here, but of course this also has some
voiceovers in it because you have multiple non human characters
that are portrayed via some fantastic puppetry and so forth.

(31:31):
And that includes the character rock Bider, the luck Dragon, Foulcore,
the villainous Gomork. There's also a narrator there. It's funny
because they are like two different narration systems going on
in this movie. At one point Bastion is narrating and
then later we just get some other dude narrating.

Speaker 3 (31:48):
Yeah, that was a little confusing, but okay, So this
does confirm my suspicion just from listening that basically all
or maybe actually all of the voices were done by
the same person.

Speaker 1 (32:02):
Yes, yes, Alan Oppenheimer did the voices, and I believe
uncredited for all of these creatures. And this is something
that always floored me, and I think it is perhaps
just a snapshot of the time period and how voice
acting was approached, because obviously, if The Never Ending Story
was made today, and certainly if they end up remaking
it at some point, as they've been talking about for

(32:23):
a while, you'd have some big name actors playing all
of these characters. Like I can easily imagine you got
Liam Neeson playing Falcore. I'm gonna say Werner Herzog as
the Gomork. Maybe Dave Bautista is rock Biter, you know,
the drill.

Speaker 3 (32:38):
You may be being a little too optimistic. I think
maybe it would be Chris Pratt as Falcore, Adam Sandler
as rock Biter.

Speaker 1 (32:46):
Oh no, no, no, no, yeah, surely not. I mean,
I'll credit it to Sandler, but no, I can't. I
can't imagine it. But at any rate, you mean you
would have somebody playing those voices. They would probably be
someone with with outside star a power. But yeah, in
this it's just veteran actor and voiceover actor. And I

(33:07):
think by certainly by this period, like almost entirely voice
actor al Allen Oppenheimer just voice doing all the voices.
You could just this is a time when you just
had one guy come in and you're like, hey, can
you do voices for I don't know, like a dog,
like luck dragon, a giant rock creature, and some sort
of villainous werewolf. And also we might need some narration.
Can you jump in on that tune? He's like, yeah,
I can do that, and no need to hire anyone else.

Speaker 3 (33:29):
I am truly impressed by even though I did detect
that at least some of these voices were the same person.
I mean, he's got to do a lot of them,
so I'm impressed how many different voices he can do.

Speaker 1 (33:41):
Yeah, and you look at his credits and it's extensive.
He has three hundred and thirty five credits on IMDb,
spanning seven decades, all the way back to nineteen sixty three.
I mean, Oppenheimer was on a late series episode of
The Andy Griffiths Show, for example, But then around nineteen
seventy three he starts doing voice rolls and becomes a

(34:02):
major force there. Certainly a lot of it is that
kind of additional voices credit you see from older animated specials,
you know, where they just brought some people in it
had them to do some voices. It might be a
minor voice might be like the secondary character, but they
just get that additional voices credit.

Speaker 3 (34:18):
I don't know why, but I always like to see
an arc where somebody goes from you know, doing in
front of the camera work to doing voice acting and
then they really are a hit as voice acting, you know,
Mark Hamill kind of arc.

Speaker 1 (34:31):
Yeah, yeah, and yeah. I mean, this guy's work has
been great. Certainly not going to read through everything that
he was in, and I'm not even gonna read through the
list I put together for my notes here, but one
of the big ones is that he voiced both Skeletor
and Man at Arms in the nineteen eighties, he Man
and The Masters of the Universe, as well as very
spin offs of that show, and then he pops up
in just about everything you know. Veris like an episode

(34:51):
of Batman, the animated series, Chippendale Rescue Rangers, Duck Tails,
video game voices for stuff like The Fallout and Balder's
Gate franchises, and more recently the Toy in the Toy
Story franchise he voiced Old Timer. So yeah, he just
has done so much a big name in the voiceover

(35:12):
voice acting area. Now on the acting side of things, though,
I will Mention briefly. He had a small part as
the chief supervisor in nineteen seventy three's Westworld, and he
plays Duncan in a great essentially film stage adaptation of
Macbeth from nineteen eighty one that starred Jeremy Brett as
Macbeth and Piper Laurie as Lady Macbeth. Oh, I've never

(35:33):
heard of that. It's pretty. It's like I said, it's
not very cinematic. It's very much a film like stage performance.
But if you're at all, if you're like a kind
of a Macbeth completist, I guess, or you really like
any of these actors, it's worth checking out, all right.
He doesn't play much of a role in the picture,
but we have a character by the name of Teeny
Weeney who rides a racing snail. He's played by Deep

(35:56):
Roy born nineteen forty nine, a Kenyan British actor who,
at four foot four, has been a go to actor
for creature performances and diminutive character performances for decades. He's
worked in Star Wars, Dark Crystal Flash, Gordon Gray Stroke,
The X Files, Planet of the Apes, Charlie and The
Chocolate Factory, Star trek in more, he also pops up

(36:18):
very briefly and returned to oz Ah. Yes, there's another
character early on called Knighthobb who's kind of this bat
writing goblin, who also doesn't have a tremendous role in
the plot, but was played by Keelo Bruckner, who lived
nineteen forty through twenty twenty, German actor whose biggest splash
certainly this was his biggest splash outside of German film

(36:40):
and television, but he has extensive German language credits. So
if if anyone out there has certainly more familiarity with
German language film and television than we do, maybe you
are more familiar with Kelo Pruckner's work. We also have
a couple of gnomes in the picture. We have Indy Wook,
the gnome, played by Cindy Sidney Bromley, who livedeteen nine
through nineteen eighty seven, British character actor whose credits include

(37:03):
nineteen sixty two's Night Creatures, nineteen sixty seven's The Fearless
Vampire Killers, the excellent nineteen seventy one and very cinematic
adaptation of Macbeth eighty one's Dragon Slayer, nineteen eighty one's
An American Werewolf in London and eighty six is Pirates Now.
Inge Wook's wife is another gnome named Ergel, played by

(37:23):
Patricia Hayes, who lived nineteen oh nine through nineteen ninety eight.
Outside of this film, her other big role of this
time period was the good Witch for Raziel from nineteen
eighty eight Willows. She's the good Witch. She has a
memorable battle in the movie against the bad Witch, Jeene
Marsh's Queen bav Morda that is just absolutely brutal. So

(37:45):
it can't help but compare it to the Gandalf Sarremon
Wizard duel from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings like that.
It's a great sequence, but it's very I don't know's
it's I'm not sure how to describe it here. It's
it's very clean, it's very honorable, whereas the fight between
these two witches is just absolutely brutal and eye gouging

(38:08):
and they're just trying to absolutely murder each other. So, yeah,
Willow is not a film without its faults, but that
whole sequence is great. Okay, one more cast note before
we move on to a couple other individuals, but one
of the three bullies in the film that are after
Bastion early in the picture and then get their come
up and slay it in the picture is played by

(38:30):
Chris Eastman, who also played the bully Belch in the
nineteen ninety TV adaptation of Stephen King's It, which alone
is pretty interesting. Like this kid had the like the
bully market cornered for a short while while he was
acting as a as a youth. But then on top
of that, he's also I believe, currently on the board
of the Canadian Anti Bullying campaign. I am someone, So

(38:54):
I don't know, like how can it did? Like I
don't know the fullback store here, like if he felt
like he had to do this because he played two
different cinematic bullies or what the deal is?

Speaker 3 (39:04):
The guy who played Scott Farcas is also on that
all right.

Speaker 1 (39:08):
Earlier I mentioned the visual style of the picture and
how there's something about this movie that stands out, you know,
it doesn't have that same it doesn't resemble other pictures.
And the individual of note here is Count de Uido
Rico who was born nineteen forty six. He was the
conceptual artist, creature designer and scenery designer on the picture

(39:31):
he is a German educated Italian artist and illustrator who's yeah,
I think his work is just really key to the
distinctive look of The never Ending Story. Outside of this movie,
he also worked. He has Skies and Clouds artist credit
on nineteen eighty's Flash Gordon, which I think totally makes
sense because both of these movies are full of swirling, psychedelic,

(39:51):
brightly colored clouds. His work is very surreal. He's an
artist and author of children's books as well, such as
nineteen seventy He Ates the Rainbow Goblins and he If
you look him up, you can find his website. His
website features various concepts he developed for The never Ending Story,
including some concepts for a more humanoid werewolf style Gomork,

(40:14):
which I think is very interesting that I think he
based on a picture of himself, So it's always neat
to see those early mockups of what things might look
up look like in a film and then realize where
they deviated and where things stayed the same. You can
see too, his designs for the urn, the the amulet
that the that the childlike Empress gives the Treyu in

(40:36):
the picture that is also the emblem on the on
the cover of the never Ending story text.

Speaker 3 (40:42):
Oh yeah, these illustrations are fantastic, and his his Gomork,
sort of his more man Gomork certainly looks much sadder
than the than the purely malicious wolf that's in the
in the movie.

Speaker 1 (40:57):
Yeah yeah, but it's especially interesting to keep in mind
and when we come back around to like how the
Gomork is depicted and how the camwork describes itself in
the movie versus the book. All right, So moving on
finally to the score. So this is one of those
situations where the score was partially changed for audiences outside

(41:18):
of in this case Germany. So in the German cut
of the film, the entire score is Class Dollinger, but
for international audiences some tracks by Georgio Moroder were added
along with the theme song, which Moroder was behind. It
reminds me a little bit of the situation in the
nineteen eighty five Legend, which had a score by Jerry

(41:38):
Goldsmith for the European release and then Tangerine Dream for
the American release. That always puzzled me regarding Legend. With
this film, I'd say there's less of a like a
sharp division between the scores, like both of them are
very situated and based in electronic sounds. So starting with Dollinger.
Claus Dollinger was born in nineteen thirty six, great German

(41:58):
synth composer and sad phonist. He composed the score for
Peterson's nineteen eighty one U Boat film Dos Boot, which
is just a great synth score on its own. I
was relistening to some of it. I haven't seen the
movie in forever, but it has a really killer lead
melody that incidentally got a techno remix in nineteen ninety
two by the group U ninety six, so we can

(42:19):
look that up as well.

Speaker 3 (42:21):
U Boat jams.

Speaker 1 (42:22):
Yeah. Yeah. His work on The Neverending Story is also great,
with such tracks as Fantasia and the Dad's like the
mysterious intrigue of the book. And then there's the track
Bastion's Happy Flight, which just giving the title that you
know exactly what scenes I'm talking about from the latter
portion of the film that give us that care free exhilaration.

(42:43):
And then of course we also have the Gomork music.
Anytime the Gomork is mentioned or reference, there's really startling,
scary music that Dollinger was behind. But then we have
Moroder born nineteen fifty who did the synth editions and
the theme song, so he is the father of a
disco himself. Italian composer Giorgio Moroder gives this the signature

(43:05):
techno pop tracks for the US version, including the Swamps
of Sadness track and the Ivory Tower track. I mean,
if you really get in deep, you can definitely tell
the difference between Moroder's work and Dullinger's work, but I
like all of it. He also did synths on the
theme song, and it was behind the theme song The
Neverending Story, sung by English pop singer Limol born nineteen

(43:26):
sixty eight, or perhaps Limeol. I'm not sure exactly how
this particular artist, Moniker is pronounced.

Speaker 3 (43:32):
I think it's an anagram for the name Hamil, which
is the singer's actual name.

Speaker 1 (43:38):
Oh for real, Yeah, okay, it's kind of like the
Fantasia version version of his name. Yeah. And of course
this track was popular again in recent years because they
featured it prominently on a season of Stranger Things.

Speaker 3 (43:50):
Oh, I guess it didn't make it that far.

Speaker 1 (43:54):
I have to say, I don't. I mean, you can't
really take the theme song for the neverding story out of
the situation. But it's not my favorite thing that Moroder
has been involved in.

Speaker 3 (44:04):
I mean, it does say the name of the movie
a bunch of times, and that's a good move.

Speaker 1 (44:09):
Yeah, yeah, so yeah. Maroder is a legend, a true
synth god, italo disco mainstay. His nineteen seventy seven electro
disco album From Here to Eternity is pretty incredible and
in film and TV. His other notable works include he
scored the original Battlestar Galactica in the seventies. He scored
nineteen eighty three Scarface. In nineteen eighty four, he created

(44:32):
a score for nineteen twenty seven's Metropolis. I think I've
seen this. I'd have to go back and look at it.
He scored nineteen seventy eight's Midnight Express, eighties American Jigglow,
eighty two's Cat People. In eighty three, he scored the
mega hit Flash Dance, including writing the theme song Flash Dance,
What a Feeling, which is just an all timer, Like,

(44:54):
you can't listen to this song and not get into it.
As forgettable as the movie may be, Uh, it's a
pretty great track.

Speaker 3 (45:01):
I don't think I know the song what a.

Speaker 1 (45:03):
Feeling Du dun u da da dun dun d d
dun d.

Speaker 3 (45:10):
Okay, maybe I hold on, Okay, I'm looking it up. Oh,
I absolutely know this song, Okay, I just didn't know
what it was called or what it was from.

Speaker 1 (45:19):
Sorry, no, no, no. It's like like, like I say,
it's not necessarily a movie that you or I would
have a lot of feelings about, but the song what
feelings are. Yeah. He also scored nineteen eighty six's Top Gun,
including writing the theme song danger Zone sung by Kenny Loggins,
Wow Highway to the danger Zone. Yeah. And he also

(45:42):
scored over the Top from eighty seven, which I think
that's the arm wrestling film that I've never seen, but
I know some people find amusing on some level.

Speaker 3 (45:50):
Sylvester Stallone, is it?

Speaker 1 (45:53):
I think so? Yeah, it's a Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling picture.

Speaker 3 (45:56):
That one's kind of a bore until you get to
the scene where he arm wrestles Brundle Fly. That that's
a real twist.

Speaker 1 (46:02):
I was fixing to say. It's like I think of
arm wrestling in motion pictures, I'm going to think of
the Fly or I'm gonna think of what is it
arms of Steel had some.

Speaker 3 (46:10):
Hand hand of steel, hands of Steel. Yeah, yeah, the
I wonder if the scene and hands of Steel was
inspired by the Stallone.

Speaker 1 (46:18):
Movie might have been. Yeah. So anyway that the music
for this film is great. Uh, you know all on
all this the score is just an embarrassment of riches.
I was talking with JJ prior to come in here.
I've never actually seen the German language cut of the film. Uh,
and seen like the film with without the Morauder additions
to it, But that would be an interesting exercise at
some point. Yeah, unlike say the Jerry Goldsmith cut of Legend.

(46:42):
I'm just not gonna do it. I'm sorry, I'm just
Hanjurine dream all the way.

Speaker 3 (46:45):
Yeah, I know your proclivity's there. Okay, well wait, are
are we going to the plot now?

Speaker 1 (46:58):
Yeah, let's jump in. Let's in the book.

Speaker 3 (47:01):
Okay. Well, so the movie does start off, at least
in the version I watched to revisit it with the
title theme, the Moreauder song with the with the you know,
the never ending sorry gets your blood pumpin' ready ready
for an adventure. And so our main character Bastion, when
we first meet him, he wakes up from a nightmare.

(47:23):
He's in bed, he's obviously been having bad dreams, and
he immediately finds comfort in a book. So it's a
good way to get things started. We know, we know
what he's all about from frame one.

Speaker 1 (47:35):
That's right. The books. Books are his refuge. Books are
his sacred space.

Speaker 3 (47:40):
And the next morning, Bastion and his father are in
the kitchen together. They're having breakfast. We find out that
Bastian's mother has died and his father his father. Well,
first of all, before I sort of alluded to this earlier,
but there's something strange going on with Bastien's father's relationship
with the blender, in which he I think we see

(48:02):
him pour orange juice from a pitcher into the blender
and then crack a raw egg in there and then
just blend and drink.

Speaker 1 (48:09):
It yep yep, drinks it down, gulps it down, and
then has like a one minute conversation with his son
about his disappointment in him, and then he's out the door.
It's like a Bastion is like not only a latch
key kid. He has to like lock up and leave
for school in the morning. But yeah, my son and
I were commenting on this as we were rewatching the film.

(48:29):
You know, like, what a like, what kind of a
breakfast is this? I guess it's like a true work
best breakfast, right, I mean, he's such a workaholic. All
he has time for is that raw egg and that
orange juice. Just gulp it down and.

Speaker 3 (48:40):
Co he needs to take a vacation to Hawaii and
explore his wolfy side.

Speaker 1 (48:46):
Now, you mentioned that that Bastion's mother had died, and
it isn't important to note she did not just die.
This scene would be very strange if she had just
passed away. But we get the impression that it's it's
been some time, like long enough that Bastian's father is like,
you need to get past this, get on with it.
You know, we got to move on with life. And
you know he's still still is dealing with it to

(49:07):
a large extent, and his father is like, no, put
it behind you. You need to grow up and get
with the program.

Speaker 3 (49:13):
Right, And this is reflectively so he's like commenting on
I think he got a call from one of Bastioni's
teachers about how he hasn't been doing his homework. Instead
he's drawing horses in his math book, and then Bastion's like,
not horses, unicorns, and then his dad's upset. He's like, hey,
so you're getting in trouble at school. You're not even
trying out for the swim team. You say you love horses,

(49:34):
but you're afraid to get on a real one. So
why don't you, you know, get your head out of
the clouds and put your feet on the ground.

Speaker 1 (49:41):
And so this is all we see of Bastian's home life,
but it's it's well done, Like he gives us just
enough notes to sort of build things out with.

Speaker 3 (49:50):
And Bastian's father is not portrayed as like mean or evil.
He is trying to be helpful. What this is what
he thinks being helpful is is like telling his son
he needs to like be realistic and stop daydreaming and
all that.

Speaker 1 (50:03):
Yeah, and like also clear, I mean, you get the
impression that he is also dealing with the grief of
this loss in a very particular way, and on some
of it like thinks that, well, Bastian should do this too.
This is what is sort of working for me. If
he would only just do the same thing, then then
he could move on as well.

Speaker 3 (50:21):
Anyway, Bastien is on his way to school, but then
he hits another obstacle. Gang of bullies, three bullies that
you get the feeling that they mess with him all
the time. They want to rob him, they want his money,
and they end up throwing him in a dumpster in
an alley.

Speaker 1 (50:37):
Yeah, yeah, I hate these bullies there. They're the worst.

Speaker 3 (50:40):
He climbs out of the dumpster and then of course
they're not done bullying him. They're like, hey, get back
in there, and so he runs away and they chase
him and eventually he ducks into an old bookshop to hide.
And in this scene, the old man who runs the bookshop,
this is Corianders. He's very curmudgeonly, but there's something exciting

(51:00):
about this space. It's full of stuff that seems old,
seems to contain secrets, and we know Bascian actually does
love books. And the man who runs the shop does
not expect this. As soon as the kid walks in,
he looks at him. He's like, oh, this is a kid. Sorry.
The video arcade is down the street, that's what you're
looking for.

Speaker 1 (51:18):
You can easily imagine a version of this where it's
the comic book guy from the Simpsons gatekeeping on poor Bastian.

Speaker 3 (51:24):
Worst generation ever. But yeah, so Bastion protests, He's like, no,
I like books. I like books like though the one
you're reading now. But the old Man's like, no, not
like the one I'm reading now. All the books you like,
you like Tarzan and Treasure Island and all that those
books are safe. This book not so much.

Speaker 1 (51:47):
Yeah, and of course we'll learn why this book, the
Neverening story, is not safe, and certainly that's a huge
plot point in the film. But also I felt I
feel like this kind of flows over into the way
received this film as a young viewer, that the film
itself was to some degree unsafe. And granted, any film,
if you're young enough and you don't grasp the conventions

(52:08):
of story and genre, any film can feel unsafe because
you don't know that like the hero is supposed to
win and so forth, or that certain things are not
going to happen in a PG rated or G rated picture.
But I felt like even early on, I could tell
that this film was somehow buckling the against these restraints.
You know that it wasn't a completely safe world that

(52:31):
I was immersing myself in and for for goodness sake.
I mean there's sphinx nipples in it later on, which
also seemed to contribute to this feeling.

Speaker 3 (52:38):
This scene in the bookshops setting up the intrigue that
will follow in the rest of the plot, I think
is very good and I would place it in a
league among the best scenes of this type. Other examples
would include the scene at the beginning of Raiders of
the Lost Ark where the men from the government arrive
and pull Jones out of class to ask him about

(52:59):
the arc and they have that reef conversation. I know
that that scene is often held up as like a
really great example of screenwriting, of like covering a lot
of ground and raising tantalizing mysteries in a very short
amount of time. Yeah, and I would say this scene
is much like that. It does exactly the same. So
the book's not safe. What's he gonna do? He steals it?

(53:19):
Of course, he leaves a note. He's a good Yeah.
The old man finds a note saying okay, I will
return it, but he runs off with the book because
he's got to read it now. It's not safe, That's right.
I mean, I think a lot of us can relate
to this like the books you're told not to read
that you shouldn't read when you're younger, Like, of course,
those are the ones that you're going to get back to.

(53:40):
Like I think I probably mentioned this before, but I
distinctly remember I started reading a copy of the Silence
of the Lambs when I was like in middle school,
I guess, and then and my dad took a look
at it and he's like, no, no, you can't read that,
and stuck it away. It was like the only time
you ever did that. But of course I couldn't not
read the rest of the book. I had to go
and I found where it was hidden and had to

(54:00):
sneak it out and finish reading it at night and
then put it back in its hiding place. You know,
I've actually never read one of those Thomas Harris novels,
but I've heard people say that like they're trash, but
they're exquisite trash, like really top tier.

Speaker 4 (54:15):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (54:15):
I don't know, it's been a long time, but I
mean I enjoyed. I enjoyed reading Red Dragon in Silence,
and then eventually I read Hannibal and I remember not
liking it at the time, but but I don't know
it's it's a weird book. Maybe I wasn't ready for it.
I don't know.

Speaker 3 (54:30):
Anyway, back in the plot, Bastion, so he's got the book.
Now he makes his way onto school, but of course
he's late and he peeks in the window at the classroom.
They're doing a math test. Brother, that's no good, so
instead of going into class late, he just skips, skips
it entirely, runs to the school attic. That interesting that

(54:50):
there even is such a thing. There's an attic at
the school and there's like a glass case containing the
key to the attic, where the glass is already broken.
Wonder if that means like he he has snuck in
there before.

Speaker 1 (55:03):
I don't know, or it was just somebody else had
snuck in there. I'm not sure what the exact situation is,
but you know, he knows what to do. This is
probably a place he's fled to before, and it is
it is like the physical incarnation of the refuge that
he's finding in books, and as we discussed early in
the episode, yeah, it is like it's like a temple

(55:25):
to the fantastic in our real world. It's kind of
a transitional realm between our world and the realm of Fantasia.

Speaker 3 (55:32):
That's right. So he just settles in in this hidden place.
It's very cozy where no one can find him and
it's quiet, and he takes out the book and he
begins to read. And yeah, it as I said earlier,
it's just it feels so good. Especially when I was
a kid watching this, it was like, I want that.

Speaker 1 (55:49):
Basically what transpires next is basically what transpires in the book.
We get this initial chapter that doesn't include a Tray
you a tray who's not introduced yet. Instead, we meet
the Nighthob, meet teeny Weenye. I think in the book
there's also a Willow of the Whisp. Rock Bier is here,
and they're just talking about what's going on in Fantasia,
and they talk about the nothing, this force that's kind

(56:11):
of gobbling up the fantastic realm.

Speaker 3 (56:15):
Yeah, when we first meet the rock Bider, I think
the Nighthob and teeny Weeny are sort of camping together
in the woods, and the rock Bier is this giant
figure made of rock that rolls in with a manual
steamroller bike or something.

Speaker 1 (56:28):
Yeah, and these are great creatures and there's a good
stick in here.

Speaker 3 (56:33):
But they're all facing the same problem. The Nothing is
consuming parts of the world. There's some kind of force
that's annihilating everything. They're trying to escape it, and I
think ultimately they are headed towards the Ivory Tower, the
home of the Impress of Fantasia of this world, because

(56:54):
there they're going to find out what can be done
about the Nothing right.

Speaker 1 (56:58):
Right, And it's here that we're going to a scene
where a Treyu is introduced. He's summoned, he's given the
quest of helping to heal the when we find out
that the childlike Empress is sick and that she alone
is not going to be able to save everyone. And
then also meanwhile, Bastian narrates this bit where we learn
that the Nothing has sent its own servant out on

(57:19):
a quest, and this servant is the Gomork. This is
a first, absolutely terrifying glimpse of this massive wolf creature.
You know, the strong elements of the of the were
wolf and also the giant wolf of fin Rear of
Norse and as all mythology.

Speaker 3 (57:35):
Mm hmmm, yeah, the Goomork is extremely scary. I remember,
I remember that fear, that like bone deep fear watching
watching the Wolf as a child.

Speaker 1 (57:47):
Now green eyes, Oh yeah, green Eyes has green eyes
in the book as well. I astud mentioned in the
book as in the film, the Fantasians at the beginning
are discussing the nothing and what someone asked, well, what
does it look like? And they're like, well, you know,
it's it like a hole and they're like, well, it's
a hole would be something, but this is nothing. They
go into it a little bit more in the book
and they point out that it's like going blind when

(58:08):
you look at it. So just a little hint of
sort of the paradox nature, paradoxical nature of Michael Inda's
work at times, like the idea of like what is
it like to look at something where there is nothing
at all? It's not like seeing an absence, It's like blindness.
It's something that can't even really be put into words.

Speaker 3 (58:27):
I mean, this reminds me of things we've discussed on
Core episodes before, where there are you know, neurological conditions affecting,
say the visual processing centers of the brain where you
can have you can have essentially blind spots in your vision,
and you might imagine that manifests as like okay, you're
looking around and there's like a dark spot in the
middle of your vision where no light comes through, but

(58:50):
instead for some of these conditions, instead what you get
is the sensation that you're seeing a continuous scene, but
in fact it's like stitching together these two places that
don't actually connect in space. So you might like, I
think one of the examples we talked about is like
you might look at a dog and instead of a
blank spot over the dog's face, the dog just has

(59:11):
no face.

Speaker 1 (59:13):
Yeah. Now the movie doesn't really attempt to bring this
idea to life. We basically see all these like swirling
storm clouds and nebula effects going on where the nothing
is moving in and I don't know, we can either
think of that as I guess it's just something visual
to represent the nothing, or perhaps this is supposed to
be like sort of the event horizon of the nothing.

Speaker 3 (59:33):
Yeah, I think the event horizon is a good way
way to put it. It's often, yeah, represented as like
a storm and these winds and clouds and all that.

Speaker 1 (59:42):
All Right, Well, at this point we have we have
assigned our main quest to our fantasia hero a tray. You,
it's time for him to set off and get some answers.

Speaker 3 (59:51):
So he goes to many different places, but he can't
find a way to stop the nothing. Oh and we
should mention he's equipped with They get the agents of
the Empress give him a talisman called the.

Speaker 1 (01:00:04):
Orneah, which is like the sort of intertwined serpent symbol
that looks very cool.

Speaker 3 (01:00:13):
So he's got the orn, he's got his loyal horse
attacks and they're riding around trying to find answers. And
they go to one place, they find nothing. They go
somewhere else, they find nothing, not the nothing, just no answers,
and eventually they end up in the swamps of Sadness.
And here's where we sort of pick up on the
quest in more real time. And one of the first

(01:00:33):
things that happens here is something that I know horrified
children of my generation round the world, the death of
our tax. Where so they go into the swamps of
sadness and they the story of this place is that
if you let the sadness overtake you, you will be
sucked down into the muck. And this happens to a
tray You's loyal horse here, and it is so sad.

Speaker 1 (01:00:57):
It is, I mean, if you're watching it, as an
adult or a child. It really pulls at the heartstrings
because our Tax just straight up dies of sadness, with
the tray you pleading for him to hang on the
keep waffling on. Which is worse, I guess because in
the book the horse talks and in the movie the
horse is just a horse. But and so it's certainly

(01:01:19):
potent enough in the film because there's something about the
communication gap, like how do you talk a horse out
of sadness? You can't like, uh, you know, it's it's
he's helpless. In the book, though, they have a whole
conversation and and like there's like he's he's like, hey,
you gotta, you know, don't you gotta, you know, push
through it, you know, don't don't give into the sadness.

(01:01:39):
And so there's this part where quote it goes like this,
leave me, my master said the little horse. I can't
make it go on alone. Don't bother about me. I
can't stand the sadness anymore. I want to die. And
then our Tax explains he is sinking due to his sadness,
but the detray you is protected by the orn, and
he makes one last request to his master, a Treyo.

(01:02:01):
He says, quote, I beg you to go away. I
don't want you to see my end so heavy stuff, agreed.

Speaker 3 (01:02:07):
I think actually though, it might be even worse when
it's just the horse that can't talk. Because it can't talk,
so you have no closure. There's no last words or anything.

Speaker 1 (01:02:18):
Yeah, there's no sense that the horse is okay with
this on any level. Oh we should also mention, Joe,
I know you're a big fan of like woodland environments
that are created artificially on a set. This is a
fantastic swamp set that they've put together here.

Speaker 3 (01:02:33):
You think this is probably indoor, right, I'm.

Speaker 1 (01:02:36):
Almost positive it is, because I think I've seen some
behind the scenes stuff about how they pulled off this
horse sinking and they had to have like a whole
like elaborate system with like an elevator or something.

Speaker 3 (01:02:47):
Yeah, well it's brilliant. It looks so good and so
dank like this the swamp is disgusting. But the reason
there at the swamp is I think tray you has
heard from somewhere that he might be able to find
a way to stop the nothing if he talks to
a figure known as Morla. The aged one is that.

Speaker 1 (01:03:06):
Right, Yeah, an ancient giant tortoise that has dwelt so
long in the swamp of sadness and just lived for
so long in general that nothing matters anymore, like not
even a little bit. And so it's it's it's very
interesting on the page and on the screen. I think
they adapt it quite well. Morla talks to itself, it
has like two distinct personalities and ultimately just really doesn't

(01:03:28):
care about anything but a tray. You keeps asking, and
eventually Morla shares some wisdom. The childlike Empress, who is
not old but has always been young, needs a new name,
though no one in Fantasia can give it to her,
so you're gonna have to go see the Southern Oracle
for more information.

Speaker 3 (01:03:49):
Now, in the movie, we do not find out here
that the Empress needs a new name, I think best
or not in the movie A Tray You doesn't find
that out in the movie until he gets to the Southern.

Speaker 1 (01:03:59):
Oracle, right, yes, I believe that's right, yes.

Speaker 3 (01:04:02):
But instead he for some reason, he's just sent to
the Southern Oracle. I can't remember exactly what Morris says,
but it's like Southern Oracle can help you. Uh, And
it's there's a funny scene where he, of course, he
keeps climbing a tree to speak to this gigantic tortoise
and the tortoise keeps sneezing and that knocks him out
of the tree. But there is in this scene, there's
a moment where bastion out in the real world screams

(01:04:28):
as something that frightens him, and his scream is heard
by the characters in the book.

Speaker 1 (01:04:34):
Yeah, this is a key, key scene where Bastionian begins
to realize that there is this connection between his world
and the world of Fantasia. Now, in the book, it
doesn't occur until the next sequence because in the book
there's a whole other encounter encounter that follows that's not

(01:04:55):
depicted in the film. Trayu encounters Yigramol the Mini the
horror of which is this strange creature that's like a
swarm of hive mind hornets that then takes the shape
of a great spider and has a deadly poison that
will kill you within an hour, but will grant the
victim the power to teleport to anywhere in Fantasia to die.

(01:05:15):
It's weird and wonderful. And it's in this encounter in
the book that Bastian's voice is heard by a Trayu
and the poison is how he ultimately makes it to
the oracle. And it's also where he meets Falcre, the
luck dragon, because Falcre is caught in Yigramohl's web.

Speaker 3 (01:05:31):
Oh, there's a very different meeting scene in the movie.
So in the movie, a tray You is leaving the
swamps of sadness, but it's just too much. The sadness
is overtaking him. He's sinking down in the mud. And
at the same time, the Gomork, the horrible wolf creature
who every time we catch a glimpse of him, it's
almost just a blur, but it's terrifying, and he's racing

(01:05:51):
toward the hero of the Empress, who to kill him.
And right, you know, right when he's about to sink
under and the wolf is falling upon him, suddenly a white,
fluffy flying serpent just comes in out of the sky
and lifts a tray You out of the mud. And
this is how a tray You and Falcre meet Ah Falcre.

Speaker 1 (01:06:08):
I mean, who doesn't love Falcre. It's just such a
great character and just wonderful creature design.

Speaker 3 (01:06:14):
In the movie, Falcore is yeah, a fluffy, white flying serpent,
kind of like the like a like a Chinese dragon design,
but very much with a cute dog's face.

Speaker 1 (01:06:25):
Yes, yeah, wonderful, wonderful design. I should also point out
that the name is Falcore in the movie Falcre in
the English translation of the book, but in the original
German it's Fuker, but that was changed for the English translation,
I think for obvious reasons.

Speaker 3 (01:06:51):
So a tray you wakes up next to Falcre on
a mountaintop and they introduced themselves. Falcre explains that he
is a luck dragon. He gets he you know, he
gets where he's going with luck, and he has conveniently
brought a tray you to the Southern Oracle. I don't remember.
Does Falcore ever explain, like really where he came from.

(01:07:12):
It just seems like he just showed up to help.

Speaker 1 (01:07:14):
Yeah, it's just lucky like that. I guess. So's it's
something that, like I say, in the book, it makes
more sense because they're sort of common prisoners. They meet
on the road at a specific place and then their
stories have become intertwined. It's a little more rush in
this adaptation.

Speaker 3 (01:07:30):
Now here, it's in this part that a tray you
and Falcore meet with the gnomes Ingywook and ergyll. Iningywook
is like in this room that is kind of dusty
and smoky. It's sort of a cave, but with gnarled
roots everywhere and old scrolls and potions and all that
Inywook is supposed to. He fashions himself as a scientist

(01:07:53):
of some form, and he's always doing quote research, though
I think this has played for comedy, like it's questionable
of what value his research actually is.

Speaker 1 (01:08:02):
Right, Yeah, he's the foremost authority though on the Southern
Oracle and has a lot of wisdom to share, but
I mean he's these are cookie characters, like they're constantly
fighting with each other, and yeah, it's uncertain how how
much knowledge he really has to share about any of this.

Speaker 3 (01:08:20):
But he does actually get a traya there so and
Inguwook leads a tray you up to sort of an
observatory where they can look down upon the first of
the two gates the tray you must pass to reach
the Southern Oracle, and the first gate is a pair
of sphinxes, these huge statues, and Ingewook explains that their

(01:08:42):
eyes stay closed until someone who does not feel his
own worth tries to pass by. And we get to
witness this with sort of a paladin riding a horse
to get through the pass and he comes up upon them.
He's got his armor gleaming, he's holding a big spear.
He looks pretty confident until the sphinxes open their eyes

(01:09:02):
and then boom, they zap him with lasers. He sort
of explodes off his horse and dies. But a tray
who is like, well, I've got to get through there,
so I'm gonna try it out. So we see him
approach and he walks underneath these huge, imposing statues. The
designs are pretty scary. It's good.

Speaker 1 (01:09:20):
Yeah, I was thinking they They always have looked to
me kind of like Ray Harry hows and creations, like
they might come to life at any second, but they
don't really, aside from the eyes opening.

Speaker 3 (01:09:30):
I see that Ray Harry house in comparison.

Speaker 1 (01:09:32):
Yeah, as previously mentioned, the sphinxes definitely have nipples. Like
I said, that always stood out to me, and for
some reason I always interpreted that as a younger viewer, thinking,
oh man, this this movie is serious, like this is
kind of the whole This film isn't safe, Like clearly
that the nipples indicate that this is not just for kids,
that this could be who knows what could happen A

(01:09:53):
tray who is not safe.

Speaker 3 (01:09:54):
Yeah, it's true and this is actually in the normal sense.
Also a very scary scene a tray who, like, as
he's walking up the dead paladin on the ground, his
visor flips back when it's blown by the wind and
you see like a charred face inside the mask. So
this guy's burned up by the sphinxes and to tray you,
he tries to walk through, but apparently he fails the

(01:10:17):
test of faith in himself. He didn't have enough confidence,
and the sphinxes open their eyes. They try to zap him,
but he jumps. He just barely avoids the blast.

Speaker 1 (01:10:27):
It kind of gets through on this one on a technicality.

Speaker 3 (01:10:29):
So next he's got to face another gate. This is
the magic mirror gate, and inkybook explains that when they
look into the magic mirror, that people must face themselves.
Kind men find that they are cruel, Brave men find
that they are cowards. When confronted with their true selves,
most men run away screaming. But something that's kind of

(01:10:51):
interesting when a tray you goes and looks in this mirror,
there's a kind of there's like a double exposure effect
in the film, where we see a tray you looking
and seeing himself what, we also see Bastion sitting there
reading the book. Yes, And strangely, bastionen detects this. It's
as if he reads a description of himself in the book.

(01:11:12):
In this scene, he gets freaked out and he throws
the book away. He says, this is going too far,
but then he's also kind of tempted. He's got overwhelming curiosity,
like what if they do really know about me and Fantasia?
And so so he goes back, he retrieves the book
he keeps reading, and a tray who walks through the mirror.

Speaker 1 (01:11:35):
Now in the book, the three gates are a bit different.
I'll note Gate one is that if you're caught in
the gaze of the Sphinxes, you have to solve every
riddle in the world until you die. Gate two is
essentially the same, the test of the true self. But
then Gate three is a keyless gate that only opens
once you no longer have the desire to pass through.
But in the film, he basically comes finally to the

(01:11:56):
Southern Oracle, which is basically the same two sphinxes from before,
except now they're blue.

Speaker 3 (01:12:01):
Yes, it feels like maybe kind of a shortcut, but okay,
and the sphinxes tell him. When tray Who arrives, they
tell him, okay, here's the solution. Here's how to beat
the nothing. The Empress needs a new name. And to Trey,
who says, a new name, that's easy. I can give
her a new name if you want. I can pick
any name I want. But the Southern Oracles tell him, Nope,

(01:12:23):
you can't do it. In fact, no one from Fantasia
can do it. Only a human child can give her
this new name. And he is like, well, where can
I find a human And they say, you cannot find
one inside Fantasia. There are no humans here. You have
to look outside the world to find them.

Speaker 1 (01:12:43):
Yeah, everyone in Fantasia is a dream, is a creation
of the imagination, and a dream cannot itself dream.

Speaker 3 (01:12:50):
So he's got to get outside somehow to find one.
But then the Sphinxes are crumbling. They tell him he's
got a hurry, you know, we don't know how long
we can withstand the Nothing. And here we're on to
the next adventure. So a tray You and Falcore are
flying through the clouds. They fly over many landscapes, mountaintops, deserts,
and they're looking for the boundaries of Fantasia, though neither
one of them knows where that boundary lies. And this

(01:13:13):
scene I thought was kind of interesting because suddenly it's
right after this dire scene where we learn about how
close the Nothing is to destroying all, but then we
go straight to flying around and there's this sense of exhilaration.
There's laughter. A tray You and Falcore are both laughing.
I don't know. I thought, it's notable that this scene
is fun right after this horrible warning given by the

(01:13:36):
Southern Oracle about impending doom if he does not find
the human child that can name the Empress. I thought,
maybe there's something going on here about the childhood experience
with adventure narratives, or narratives more generally, the seeming paradox
of the way that excitement for the human child who
is reading is heightened by increasing the stakes within the story,

(01:14:00):
the situation for the characters becomes more dire, the experience
for the reader becomes more fun, And I think that
maybe the film is suggesting something about the ongoing contagion
between the worlds here, like Bastion's excitement with the story
is infecting a tray you.

Speaker 1 (01:14:17):
I think that's a solid interpretation, because, yeah, within the
context of what's actually going on in Fantasia, this is
all just a failed surveillance surveillance mission, you know, it's
they're just they're trying to find something and they don't
find it. But it's a very fun sequence, Like these
are great flying sequences. Who doesn't want to fly around
on a luck dragon?

Speaker 3 (01:14:37):
After watching this back in the real world, we get
a little scene where Bastian wishes that a tray You
and Falcore would come and ask him to name the Impress,
because he says his mother she had a wonderful name.
He doesn't say what the name is.

Speaker 1 (01:14:52):
Yah.

Speaker 3 (01:14:52):
Now, when they're flying along in Fantasia, eventually a storm strikes.
I guess this is the nothing. A tray you and
Falcor encounter the nothing. It's like a storm and it
knocks a tray You off of falcurs back. He falls
into the ocean, and in this scene there is suddenly
a storm in the real world as well, and it
blows the windows open on the attic of the school,

(01:15:14):
so Bastian has to go like refasten them and then
keep reading. And in Fantasia, a tray You is washed
ashore on a desolate rocky beach with these great stone
ruins in the background, and he encounters the rock Bier.
So we're full circle again. Rock Bier was in one
of the earliest scenes in the movie, and we learned
from him that the rock Bier couldn't protect his friends.

(01:15:37):
He's looking at his big, strong, rocky hands but saying
how even with these hands holding on to his friends,
he couldn't hold them back from the nothing and they
just fell away into it and now they no longer exist.

Speaker 1 (01:15:50):
Yeah, another absolute heart Renger.

Speaker 3 (01:15:52):
So it's a real dark Knight of the Soul scene.
A tray You has lost the r n that fell
off when he fell into the sea. He's lost falcrething
seems hopeless, The nothing is coming. The rock Bier says
he wants to surrender and let the nothing take him
h And then a tree walks into the ruins of
a city. It seems to be a temple of some
sort where he sees paintings of scenes from the adventure.

(01:16:15):
He just went on all the same characters, making you
wonder kind of like weight was all of this foretold?
And then there's the encounter with the Gomork. Finally, a
tray you and the Gomork come face to face, and
the Gomork is so scary.

Speaker 1 (01:16:30):
Oh yeah, absolutely, this is this great wolf there in
the shadows, with its gleaming green eyes and its ferocious
mauve teeth and this grumbling voice. Yeah, absolutely perfect. And
rewatching with my son, it's like he's still he's almost eleven,
and he still wouldn't really look this scene dead in
the like dead on. You know, it's kind of like

(01:16:52):
looking off to the side a little bit because it's
it's pretty potent.

Speaker 3 (01:16:56):
So, I know you wanted to discuss differences between the
scene in the movie and the first I guess I'll
just describe it in the movie. Is that how you
wanna do?

Speaker 4 (01:17:03):
Yeah?

Speaker 3 (01:17:03):
Okay, So in the movie, the Gomork says, you know,
I am the Gomork, you can be my last victim,
and a tray who says, well, I won't go down
easy because I'm a brave warrior, and the Gomork says, well,
if you're a brave warrior, then fight the nothing. And
a tray who says, I can't fight the nothing, he
wants to know why is Fantasia dying? Where is the

(01:17:23):
nothing coming from? And Gomork explains Gomork actually knows. He says,
because people have begun to lose their hopes and dreams.
The nothing is the emptiness that is left, despair destroying
this world. And Gomork has been trying to help the
nothing because people who have no hopes are easier to control,

(01:17:46):
and whoever can control them has power. Now I don't
know if this is different in the book, but I
think this line from the Gomork about how people who
have no hopes and just generally I think are cynical
is what he's sort of portraying are easier to control.
I think that is actually truer and much more profound

(01:18:08):
than you might notice at first, because it can easily
sound like just boilerplate kind of positivity about life, hope
is good, et cetera. But specifically the claim that people
who have no hopes and dreams are easier to control,
I think that is quite true, and by no means obvious,
because many people behave as if they believe cynicism is

(01:18:29):
actually an empowering type of wisdom, like believing in nothing,
hoping for nothing, trusting in nothing makes a person smarter
than everybody else around them and harder to control. You
hear a million different versions of this. The person who says,
you know, oh, I don't believe anything, anybody says I
don't you know, oh I don't believe any politician. They're
all the same, or whatever.

Speaker 2 (01:18:48):
You know.

Speaker 3 (01:18:49):
There's a million versions of looking at the world this way.
So some people think that makes them, you know, smarter,
harder to control. But I think exactly the opposite is true.
To embrace the kind of cynicism means you end up
with no real power of discernment. You disarm yourself of
one of the most powerful armaments you have mentally, the

(01:19:11):
ability to discern truth from falsehood, and you end up
with no real agency in the world. I think this
type of cynicism not only leads to but is in
itself actually a form of gullibility. And this is not
obvious to many. Lots of people think they make themselves
more powerful and more autonomous and more insightful by being cynical,

(01:19:34):
But exactly the opposite is true. It is by having
hopes and imagination and the ability to put your trust
in good things that you become empowered to affect the world,
and more than that, that you have integrity in yourself.

Speaker 1 (01:19:50):
Absolutely, I think it's dead on. Yeah, And as I'll
discuss in just a minute here, I mean I think
all of that is present in the text as well,
and that ultimately in the film they do nice job
of sort of condensing it down and getting it on
the screen in a way that you can easily absorb
in this ultimately brief conversation, but a conversation that is
still kind of in many ways kind of the heart

(01:20:12):
of the conflict.

Speaker 3 (01:20:13):
Yees. So I found the scene in the movie on
rewatching quite powerful, kind of gave me goosebumps and really profound.
But anyway, so coming back to like how it actually
plays out in the conversation, Gamork reveals, Okay, so he's
serving the power of the Nothing. He is its servant,
and he was sent to kill the only one who

(01:20:33):
could stop the nothing, a tray. You and a tray
who says, okay, well, if we're both about to die
because of the Nothing anyway, then I would like to
die fighting. I am a tray you so and Gamork attacks,
so they fight briefly, but a tray you kills Gamork
with his blade.

Speaker 1 (01:20:49):
Yeah, great sequence, And again it always gives me chill
bumps to rewatch that scene now in the book. Yeah,
it has very much the same energy, just a little
more drawn out and provides a little bit more detail
on sort of the thesis statement. Here, it's still a
pivotal scene in which the threat to our world Infantasia,
is clearly laid out, and we learn about the Nothing,

(01:21:10):
the motivations of the power behind the Nothing, and this
strange creature known as the Gomork. And this is a
section of the book that I've gone back and reread
in isolation on more than one occasion because it's really good.
So just to highlight some of the things that are different,
I'm going to read a couple of passages as well.
In the book, the Gomork is chained and the location
the ruined city is spook City, the land of Ghosts.

(01:21:34):
The Gomrk is described as a were wolf, and also
the Gomork is weak and starving in the sequence, and
he expects to die before the Nothing arrives and consumes him,
and seems to believe that this is far preferable. He
cannot bite through the chain because he was chained here
by Gaya, the Dark Princess, who gave up hope and

(01:21:54):
leapt into the Nothing with her people after chaining him,
and then he he talks a bit more about the
nature of were wolves and reveals more about his own past.
He says, you know, only Fantastica. It's called Fantastica in
the book as opposed to Fantasia. There are other worlds,
the world of humans, for instance, but there are creatures

(01:22:15):
who have no world of their own, but are able
to go in and out of many worlds. I am
one of those. In the human world, I appear in
human form, but I am not human. And in Fantastica,
I take on a fantastic in form, but I'm not
one of you.

Speaker 3 (01:22:31):
Ooh, that is creepy.

Speaker 1 (01:22:33):
Yeah, almost kind of like you know, Dark Tower vibes
to the sky, you know, he's almost like some sort
of a Randolph Flag kind of a character. He goes
on to reveal that humans who are consumed by the Nothing,
they don't just vanish, they are transported to the human
world as lies. The com work says, quote, you ask
me what you will be there? But what are you here?

(01:22:56):
What are you creatures of Fantastica, dreams, poet conventions, characters
in a never ending story. Do you think you're real? Well? Yes,
here in your world you are. But when you've been
through the Nothing, you won't be real anymore. You'll be
unrecognizable and you'll be in another world. In that world,
you Fantasticans won't be anything like yourselves. You will bring

(01:23:19):
delusion and madness into the human world. Tell me, Sonny,
what do you suppose will become of all the spook
City folks who have jumped into the Nothing? They will
become delusions in the minds of human beings. Fears where
there is nothing to fear, Desires for vain, hurtful things,
despairing thoughts where there is no reason to despair.

Speaker 3 (01:23:38):
Wow.

Speaker 1 (01:23:39):
Yeah, So, in short, the Fantasticans are Fantasians that jump
into the Nothing will become live. And it's also related
that humans hate Fantasia or Fantastica and everything that comes
from it, so they want to destroy it. Though in
destroying it they are only flooding their own world with
more fear and delusion. In this section is also mentioned
again that's staring into the nothing is like feeling as

(01:24:02):
if you're going blind. And also in this sequence the
Gamore in the Great Film sequence, the Gamore it mentions
that he serves the powers behind the Nothing, and in
the book this power is given a name, the Manipulators,
and the Gomork says quote, when it comes to controlling
human beings, there is no better instrument than lies, because

(01:24:22):
you see, humans live by beliefs, and beliefs can be manipulated.
The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.
That's why I cited with the powerful and serve them,
because I wanted to share their power. And then the
Gomore taunts a tray you about the sort of lie
he may be transformed into when the Nothing takes him

(01:24:43):
and tells him quote, the human world is full of
weak minded people who think there as clever as can be,
and are convinced that it's terribly important to persuade even
the children that Fantastica doesn't exist. Maybe they will be
able to make good use out of you. And so
at this point when the Gomork relates his mission. He
tells how he was captured by the Dark Princess and

(01:25:04):
never got to find a tray you. A Treyo asked
him why, like, why are you so he will want?
Are you so full of hate? And the Gomork says,
because you creatures had a world and I didn't, again
touching on this idea that the Gomork is a creature
of the between that he has. He has one form
in our world, one form in Fantasia, but he is
not a denizen of either. And then in the final

(01:25:26):
moments of this whole sequence plays out much like in
the film, except in the book, a Trayo's leg is
chomped by the Great Wolf and so he is like
grievously wounded in the process as well, and is like
seems like he's going to be too slow to escape
than nothing. But anyway, like like I was saying, like
the the ideas that are more expressly presented in the book,

(01:25:50):
I very much match exactly what you're talking about with
your interpretation of the scene in the movie.

Speaker 3 (01:25:54):
Yeah, So the Gomork serves powerful manipulators who want to
control people, and they do that by militating against hope
and imagination and trust and filling the world with malicious lies.
It's a powerful vision of a sort of metaial conflict.

Speaker 1 (01:26:15):
Yeah. One thing that is interesting, you know in the
book too, is that at this point in the book
you are presented with this like greater understanding of the
threat of facing Fantasia, but it's ultimately defeated bred it
rather swiftly by like halfway through the book, so like
the manipulators never really are an issue again, they're not
really mentioned again later in the book. So there, I

(01:26:36):
guess firmly dealt with, but it left me wanting more,
which again is it's like that's one of the great
things about any work. And it's actually something that Michael
Into plays with a lot in the book. There are
always these little moments where it sounds like he's about
to go off on another tangent relating like what happened
to secondary characters when they left the main events of
the story, and he says, but that is another story

(01:26:57):
and we'll be told another time, which I think as
this feeling of the limitless nature of Fantasia, that it
has no limits because the limits are just the limits
of human imagination, which is almost beyond limit.

Speaker 3 (01:27:10):
Okay, Well, after this conflict, the story is not fully
wrapped up. Ultimately, a tray You and Falcre have to
find a way to stop the Nothing, which they don't
quite know how to do. But Falcore does find the
orn that has sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
He goes picks it up. He comes in and he
rescues a tray You from being consumed by the Nothing,
and together they fly through space as the land of

(01:27:32):
Fantasia is literally broken into pieces. The land itself becomes
like asteroids floating in the vacuum, and a tray You
uses the Oran to find his way back to the
Ivory Tower where the Empress is, and there's finally a conversation,
a meeting between a tray You and the Empress. A
tray You believes he has failed, but then the Empress

(01:27:53):
tells him he hasn't failed. He has brought her the
human Child. The Weirdly, in the scene, I think questionable choice.
In the movie, they start calling the child the Earthling,
which is not a term they've used before. I think
that's an odd choice. But anyway, they're talking about the
human child. They say he has suffered with you. He

(01:28:14):
went through everything you went through, and now he's here.
But he doesn't realize he's already part of the never
ending story. And just as he is sharing your story
to tray you, others are sharing his. So here we're
being brought into the narrative as well. And they say that,
you know, they were with him when he ran from
the bullies, when he found the bookstore and all that.

(01:28:37):
But of course, Bastian we come out to the real
world in the movie and he's freaking out. Is he
reading about himself in the book once again? And the
Empress explains the boy just has to give her a
new name, that's all, and then the nothing would be beaten.
It would be so easy for him, but he refuses
to believe he really has the power to save her

(01:28:58):
by doing it, so he doesn't do it, and the
Empress begs him to save them. Everything's kind of falling down.
The tower is crumbling, a tray you falls, he might
fall down dead, and Bastian finally overcomes his hesitation. He
runs to the window. He throws down the book and
he cries out a name into the storm outside, a

(01:29:18):
new name for the Empress. I think we're to understand
it's his mother's name, but interestingly, we don't hear what
it is. It's muffled by the storm.

Speaker 1 (01:29:27):
Yeah, it's in the book. It is Moonchild. That's the
name he chooses, which I guess is probably not his
mother's name in the real world. But I was on
this rewatch I couldn't understand what he was yelling either,
and I was like, well, I'm just going to use
the subtitles handily, click over the subtitles and see what
he's saying. But the subtitles for the version I was watching,

(01:29:47):
when he yells his mother's name, it's just like it
just says yelling, so I guess. But as I leaned
into it, it's like, I think I can hear him
yelling Moonchild. I think he's yelling Moonchild, but it's not distinct.

Speaker 3 (01:30:00):
And this does something sort of everything goes dark and
we're down to just the Empress, I guess, in Bastion
together in this dark environment. The Empress in her hand
is holding a single grain of sand that is glowing.
She says it's all that remains of her vast empire.
But she says Fantasia can be recreated if Bastian wishes

(01:30:21):
all he has to do is wish for it, and
he says, how many wishes do I get? And she says,
as many as you want.

Speaker 1 (01:30:28):
Yeah, this becomes crucial in the rest of the novel
because we've learned that with each wish he makes, he
loses part of his memory of his life in the
real world.

Speaker 3 (01:30:36):
M I mean, I guess that's a different kind of story,
with a new kind of complexity. But it is a oh,
I'm gonna say, a powerfully emotional ending for this story
about the joys and potency of childhood imagination. You know,
she's teaching him how to change everything with creativity.

Speaker 1 (01:30:57):
Yeah, absolutely, I mean it's ultimate, a real boost of
a story, you know, the power of creative thought, the
power of the imagination, the power of actual childhood and
one's inner childhood. And then of course we get this
very notable scene, right, we get one more great flying
scene to end everything out. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:31:19):
Well, so Bastian himself rides Falcre. He imagines himself riding Falcor.
So Falcre is back, and the rock bier is back,
and a tray you and Artax and all the characters
are restored just by him imagining them. They're now no
longer destroyed by the Nothing. Now they're back to life again.
They're carrying on with their lives. It's like the Nothing
never was. But then, of course, the final merger of

(01:31:42):
the two worlds happens when Bastion rides Falcre out into
the real world over the streets and terrorizes his bullies
like the ones who beat him up earlier, and Falcre
chases them into the dumpster. Doesn't feel too vengeful because
he doesn't actually hurt them, and Falcre is not going
to hurt anybody. Falcor's sweet. It's just they just get scared.

Speaker 1 (01:32:03):
They got to get scared. Yeah, it's a very satisfying scene.
I don't think this doesn't happen in the book. I'm
pretty sure this is something doesn't happen in the book.
It kind of runs completely opposite of the whole world
building exercise that Enda's doing here. But I cannot fault
it at all for just the pure cinematic experience of it,
and also having watched it with my son at two

(01:32:24):
different ages already, like, this is a real satisfying sequence.
Kids love it.

Speaker 3 (01:32:29):
So I can tell exactly why I loved this movie
as a child. But I loved it as an adult too.
This one holds up great. I think it's a beautiful movie.

Speaker 1 (01:32:39):
Absolutely, and yeah, and I encourage everyone out there, if
you're a fan of this film and you haven't read
Michael Linda's novel, pick it up because it's, like I say,
the first half of it is going to give you
a great literary version of what you've grown to love
on screen. And then the second half of the book
kind of goes in a slightly different direction, but is
full of wonderful ventures and strange creatures and also lots

(01:33:02):
of thought provoking material. So I highly recommend both of them.
All Right, Well, on that note, I guess we're going
to go and close this episode up. We're going to
enclose the never Ending Storybook for this episode, but we'll
be back in the future. Just a reminder that we're
primarily a science podcast with core episodes on Tuesdays and Thursdays,
but on Fridays we set aside most serious concerns and

(01:33:23):
just talk about a weird film on Weird House Cinema.
If you want to see a full list of the
movies that we've covered on the show, you can go
to a couple of places I have a blog at
some newtomusic dot com where I blog about the films
we're covering, and like with this film, I'll probably put
in a bunch of like embedded examples of some of
the music that I talked about here if you want
to go check that out. I also include a link

(01:33:45):
for the artwork that sort of thing. But also if
you've used letterbox dot com, it's l E T T
E R B O x D dot com. Well, we
have a profile on there, weird House, and if you
go there you'll find a list of all the movies
we've covered, and sometimes they'll be even a a a
preview of what's coming the next week.

Speaker 3 (01:34:03):
Huge thanks to our audio producer JJ Posway. If you
would like to get in touch with us with feedback
on this episode or any other, to suggest a topic
for the future, or just to say hello, you can
email us at contact at stuff to Blow your Mind
dot com.

Speaker 2 (01:34:23):
Stuff to Blow Your Mind is production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts from My Heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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