The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.
Bastian is a young boy who lives a dreary life being tormented by school bullies. On one such occasion he escapes into a book shop where the old proprieter reveals an ancient story-book to him, which he is warned can be dangerous. Shortly after, he "borrows" the book and begins to read it in the school attic where he is drawn into the mythical land of Fantasia, which desperately needs a hero to save it from destruction.Written by
Graeme Roy <email@example.com>
Detailed differences between the German (97 minutes, PAL) and the US/International version (90 minutes, PAL):
Title sequence: The German version has white text on black background and the original title music by Klaus Doldinger, which is a bit gloomy to represent Bastian's dream about his mom that he's waking up from in the first scene, the music then continues playing in the background till the breakfast scene. The US version instead has the text placed on a colourful artificial clouds scenario and the "NeverEnding Story" pop song by Giorgio Moroder, performed by Limahl.
When Bastian woke up and closed the book, the US version right cuts to the breakfast scene, but the German version shows 48 seconds more footage: Bastian puts the book away, turns around to switch the lamp off, he then swings over to sit down on the edge of the bed for a little while and looks sad. His dad comes down the stairs, enters the kitchen, looks in a mirror and opens the refrigerator door.
At the end of the breakfast scene when they finished talking and Bastian's dad leaves, the German version shows 14 seconds more footage: Bastian still looks sad and thoughtful, he slowly butters his bread and holds his head with the other hand, plus we hear the sound of dad's car driving away in the background.
Koreander's book store, alternative close-up shots of the book: Once the cover has the title "Die Unendliche Geschichte" for the German version and once it has the title "The NeverEnding Story" for the US version.
Koreander's phone call is slightly longer in the German version (alternative take as it is part of the following notepad shot), but the US version has a short additional insert of Bastian: He hastily grabs the book and runs away with it (just under 1 second).
Bastian leaves a message for Koreander on the notepad, alternative close-ups: Once the note says "Nicht Böse sein. Ich brings bald zurück" for the German version and once it says "Don't Worry, I'll return Your Book" for the US version.
When Bastian enters the school's attic, the German version has more footage at the beginning: He comes in, walks down the stairs and looks around for a bit (19 seconds) longer.
In the US version there's a little bit of synthesizer music by Moroder when we first see the Racing Snail, in the German version is no music there (also some other scenes in the movie that are originally quiet were filled with music for the US version, either with additional music by Moroder or with pieces from Doldinger's music that were taken from other scenes).
The Nothing approaches and Rockbiter looks worried, trees hit out in direction of the camera and in the US version Rockbiter just drives away with his bike then (7 seconds, probably taken from the material that showed Rockbiter arriving before). The German version doesn't show him driving away, but has a different and longer scene following here: Bastian jumps up in fright after the trees hit out, then the school's caretaker enters the attic and carries a bunch of teaching material, the man stumbles, falls and complains. Bastian hides until the caretaker leaves the attic, jumps on his mattress and continues reading the book then (1 minute, 5 seconds).
Different music for the presentation of the Ivory Tower: The German version has a majestic and gentle theme by Doldinger featuring an orchestra (mainly strings, plus choir, trumpet and harp), the US version has a powerful synthesizer pop theme by Moroder instead. Also in several other scenes in the US version of the movie Doldinger's great original orchestral music was replaced with new electronic sounds (similar to what was done to Jerry Goldsmith's work in Ridley Scott's movie "Legend" back then).
During Cairon's speech on the terrace of the Ivory Tower: The US version has extra inserts with shots of some of the bizarre people of Phantasia. The German version of that scene has the same running time but one shot less of the people with the huge heads, no shot of the guy with the elephant head, no shots of the people with three/two faces, and shows more of Cairon and Night Hob's reaction instead.
When Atreyu leaves the Ivory Tower, the following scenes that show him riding through several landscapes of Phantasia were differently edited: The US version has some sequences placed in a different order and combines them, with the first appearance of Gmork placed at the end, and then cuts to the scene with Atreyu and Artax resting. The German version shows the ride in stages, interrupted in the middle by the Gmork appearance and slowly fades over to the resting scene at the end.
The US version jumps to another music right when Atreyu received the Auryn and starts his quest (still Doldinger music, but taken from a theme composed for an other scene), after the different editing mentioned above the original music was too short and so a similar longer track was needed. There are also a few more scenes during the movie where the Doldinger music was moved to other places where it didn't appear originally.
Artax sinks into the swamp, Atreyu desperately screams and tries to rescue his horse, without success. The German version slowly fades to the next scene and is about 3 seconds longer here than the US version (which fades out a little earlier and to black instead). The German version omits Bastian's narration, reading off the book, saying "Everyone knew..." which actually added to the understanding of why Artax sank and why Atreyu does his best to smile afterwards.
In the German version the scene of Artax' death and the following scene of Atreyu sitting in the swamp crying has very sad and powerful orchestral music by Klaus Doldinger (strings, panpipes), for the US version it was replaced with simple synthesizer music by Giorgio Moroder. However, the cue is better synced to enhance the sense of loss and desolation.
Falkor approaches the swamp and saves Atreyu from the Gmork, the German version has the more thrilling Doldinger music and shows one more shot of the Gmork (about 2 seconds) at the end who looks angry because he missed Atreyu.
When Bastian throws the book away in a corner of the attic: Alternative shots of the book again, once with the German and once with the English title. Plus alternative takes for the German and US version of him picking up the book from the floor.
Atreyu's flight on Falkor: In the German version the scene is 19 seconds longer, because the US version has removed two shots (approaching the lake in the mountains plus the following frontal shot of Atreyu on Falkor) and has changed some of the slow fade-overs to simple cuts to make it even shorter.
Before Falkor dives into the sea to pick up the Auryn from the bottom: The US version has a short extra insert (about 4 seconds) that shows some kind of a sparkling point of light in the blue sea (or sky?).
Atreyu back on Falkor, when they ask Auryn to guide them the way to the Ivory Tower it starts glowing: Here the US version jumps from the Doldinger music to Moroder's Ivory Tower theme, while in the German version the original music continues to play and leads to Doldinger's second Ivory Tower theme then. Ironically, the International, shorter version, is better cued to Doldinger's theme. It is especially noticeable when the empress says "The one - who can save~us all"; on the shorter edit, the music enhances her speech with a magical/romantic/hopeful undertone.
On the attic, when the Childlike Empress tries to get Bastian to speak out her name: He's in doubt if it's really him who could save Phantasia, the German version shows 4 seconds more footage of him where he actually asks if he had the power to do so.
After the windows on the attic burst open, the German version has 12 seconds more footage: Bastian is scared and hides under the blanket, a shot of the attic from a distance of him laying on the mattress and a close shot of him looking out from under the blanket. Plus an additional line for the Childlike Empress, she wonders whether he dares to save them and moans "Help us!".
The Nothing is about to destroy even the Ivory Tower and the terrace already falls apart: The German version shows that in eight shots and an 4 seconds extra line for Bastian who says he wish he could do it (helping them), plus one shot of the Childlike Empress who briefly looks up to the left corner after a bang that scared her. The US version shows only four of the eight shots of the terrace falling apart.
End Credits sequence: The German version ends with two of Doldinger's themes, the US version ends with the Limahl song.
I saw this film on Channel 4 recently (for those of you who don't know, Channel 4 is a British T.V station). It brought back a load of memories for me as I loved this film when I was younger. I could recall all the things I loved about this film: the talking dog (I think it was a dog anyway), a giant snail and the big bad wolf. I didn't understand what the film was about back then and after seeing it recently, I still am confused!
The visual effects are quite impressive for the films' time (who would have thought they had such marvelous effects 20 years ago)! I haven't seen Neverending Story 2 & 3 yet because I've heard they're kinda rubbish but I am considering giving them a bit of a peak. One last thing...why is the title in German?
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