An ostracized young boy named Bastian who loves to read steals a magical book which claims to have no ending. In it is the story of an otherworldly Magical Native American boy named Atreyu on a quest to save a Magical Land from vanishing. As Bastian reads more and more of the story, he finds that the book seems to be aware of him. Eventually, it is revealed that the magical land within the book is actually another dimension encompassing all of human imagination, and only a human with creative ideas can save it.Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story spawned three movies. The first one was very well received (except by, among others, Ende himself, who sued unsuccessfully to have the name changed because he disliked it so much and had his name taken out of the writing credits), the second less so, and the third is deeply unpopular. The first movie was based on the first half of the book and the second (rather more loosely) on the second half, while the third was not based on it at all apart from having the Old Man of Wandering Mountain show up.
The Neverending Story (1984)
The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter (1991)
The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1995)
Arbitrary Equipment Restriction: A rare non-video game example: What's the Childlike Empress' answer in the third film as to why Bastian can't wish the Fantasians back into Fantasia before just wishing the book away from the Nasties and restoring their world? A simple scolding "No Bastian!" ...and that's all the excuse we and him need to hear apparently. It becomes totally pointless in the end as Barky, the tree person, uses the Auryn like a Reset Button to reverse the damage that's been done to fantasia.
Christopher Hamill ("Limahl" is a Significant Anagram) was previously the lead singer of Kajagoogoo, best known for "Too Shy".
Now that Kajagoogoo reunited for good, they've adopted the song to themselves (of course with Limahl still on lead vocals), with bassist Nick Beggs (who was the band's lead vocalist after they fired Limahl in 1984) now singing the second voice, and Nick and the rest of the band members now handling all the background music.
Big Damn Heroes: Falkor's rescue of Atreyu from the Swamps of Sadness, his literal Despair Event Horizon, and the Big Badass Wolf, Gmork. Bastian even lampshades this somewhat with his huge exclamation of relief and collapse after the scene ends in the movie.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Near the end of Part I, the Childlike Empress tells Atreyu that as he was adventuring through Fantasia, the Earth-child Bastian was sharing his adventures by reading the story, then mentions that others are sharing Bastian's adventure, referencing the viewers. The last part she does whilst looking directly at the camera.
Compressed Adaptation: The original film literally cut out half of the book. Wheras the movie ends after Atreyu's quest ends and Bastian arrives in Fantasia, the novel explores Bastian's becoming of a Canon Sue and adventures in Fantastica, realizing his errors, and setting to go back to his world before it's too late. Thanks to Adaptation Displacement, most people don't even know anything was removed.
Its sequel, fortunately, picks up elements from the second half of the book, although it was still not quite there.
Flanderization: The third film takes any minor aspects of the returning characters and exaggerated them to a psychotic degree, such as the Rock Biter's family going from being mentioned in the second film to turning into a sitcom family in the third. Falcor is the worst offender due to having exagerrated characteristics that didn't exist before. He used to be graceful, wise, and optimistic, but he turns into a flying Patrick the starfish, dumb as a brick and a complete coward.
Framing Device: The first film starts off looking like this trope is in effect. Until you realise that Fantasia is another dimension and not just a story being read by Bastian.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Sphinx have very prominent bare breasts. Said breasts also come with fairly notable nipples. The scene involve shows them a lot. The mood takes away from that, however.
Atreyu: What is the Nothing? Gmork: It's the emptiness that's left. It's like a despair, destroying this world. And I have been trying to help it. Atreyu: But why? Gmork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has control has the power.
The Heavy: Gmork fills this role in the first movie. The Nothing is probably the actual Big Bad, but Atreyu has to fight him. Gmork even says something to this effect:
Atreyu: Who are you, really?
G'mork: I am the servant of the power behind the Nothing.
Idiot Ball: Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life in the sequel, in for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by the villain. You'd think he'd be less inclined to make wishes, particularly for such reasons, when the self-professed villain and her bird-boy lackey (who he should be able to notice is working for the villain) both keep insisting he make wishes. Not only that, he accepts magical (possibly boobytrapped) gifts from her and despite knowing and having far more reason to trust Atreyu than her, for some reason continues act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the villain shouldn't be trusted. He clutches it even harder in the third sequel, where he barely does anything but be a coward.
Informed Ability: Atreyu, despite being described as a great warrior in the first film and even killing the monster with a shard of rock, is easily murdered by Bastian in the 2nd.
Just Eat Gilligan: In the third movie, Bastian asks a perfectly reasonable question, "Why can't I just wish the problem was solved?" the empress says no, because the characters lost would not be returned. Bastian then asks "Why can't I just wish them back?" the empress simply responds with "No." Bastian has to go through the entire movie premise just because the empress just didn't feel like it.
Large Ham / Ham and Cheese: Jack Black provides this as the only real saving grace for the third movie. What's written as a one-dimensional bully antagonist Jack Black plays as a diabolical mastermind, hell-bent on getting Bastian with a determination Captain Ahab would be proud of.
Loads and Loads of Roles: In the first movie, Oppenheimer is not only Falkor, but also Gmork, Rockbiter and the narrator.
Magic Librarian: Mr. Coreander is depicted this way in the second and third films.
Narrator: The first film suddenly sprouts a narrator only at the very, very end. It would be all too easy to construct a lofty critical reason for this, such as, "It's to emphasize thematically that the real story is only beginning etc..." but in all likelihood it was just because of earlier scenes being cut or a sloppy mistake in the film's writing or editing.
No Fourth Wall: The Childlike Empress explicitly tells that others have been following Bastian through his experiences, like he had been following Atreyu.
That's No Moon: Morla is originally perceived by Atreyu as a hill of some sort.
Totally Radical: The third movie has Nicole saying that Bastian's hairstyle is so "Un".
Urban Legends: The "Swamp of Sadness" scene was evidently a troubled production site. Depending on who you ask, the horse that played Artax got caught in the elevator and died (Which scarred Atreyu's actor for life) or Atreyu's actor got caught in the elevator and almost drowned. Not to mention, he was thrown off a horse during training and stepped on, which certainly wouldn't have helped...
Villainous BSOD: Xayide meets her demise when Bastian wishes she had a heart. Considering all the destruction and pain she'd caused, it's little wonder this did her in.
We All Live in America: At least the original German versions of the movies (let alone the books) base the story in Germany. How come Bastian's hometown does nothing to not look like a US city then?
Stargate City: It's not a US city; the movies were filmed in Vancouver.
The live action series Tales from the Neverending Story goes with the "Moon Child was inspired by Bastian's mother's name" idea from the movie (despite being yet another Alternate Continuity), but clarifies that his mom's actual name was Selene (after the Greek moon goddess).