24 May 2011

23 May - "They look like big, good, strong hands, don't they? I always thought that's what they were"

The NeverEnding Story (1984)
dir. Wolfgang Peterson (Air Force One, 1997)
Barret Oliver
Deep Roy (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)
Noah Hathaway

Last night I watched The NeverEnding Story with the li'l bro. He's already seen it twice but this was my first time. Before we started, he says to me, "It's about a boy who's reading a story, and then he realizes that the story is about him."

Isn't that just lovely? Isn't that always how it works? In The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell wrote something along the lines of how the mythic journey always comes full circle, but in the end we find that that we have only arrived at the center of ourselves. Remember at the end of Return of the Jedi (Star Wars = the ultimate hero myth) when Luke Skywalker has to defeat Darth Vader not with violence, but by looking within and overcoming his own dark feelings of hate and vengeance? That's what I'm talking about.

There's a line in the movie where the Empress tells the hero, Atrayu, who believes that he has failed his quest to save Fantasia, that Bastian, the dorky kid reading the story, doesn't realize that he is part of a never ending story (title drop!), that others (presumably we, the audience) have shared his experiences just as he shares the experiences of Atrayu. Fantasia is supposed to be the actualization of the collectives hopes and dreams of all humans, and so it is limitless in that there is no end to the depth of just a single person.

As a professor once told me, it's just turtles all the way down.

Fantasia is threatened on two fronts, first by the onslaught of the all-consuming Nothing, and secondly by the illness of the Empress, who is the only one able to stop it. Atrayu is sent on a quest to save the world, but comes up empty-handed, except for the knowledge that he's supposed to find a human boy who can heal the Empress by giving her a new name. In the end, he's flying through empty space on the back of the creepy dragon, and he goes to the Ivory Tower floating on a little bit of asteroid and tells the Empress that he failed to find the human child and she says, no, he's always been here, and Atrayu's all pissed off because his horse died and he traveled ten thousand miles and got attacked by the G'mork and whatever, but the Empress says that all that was necessary in order to make the child realize his role in Fantasia.

He needed CATHARSIS, and isn't that what we're supposed to be getting from the movie itself??? Is your mind blown? Mine is!

Dude, you guys! This movie was DEEP!

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