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Film / The NeverEnding Story

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"A hole would be something. No, it was nothing."
Rock Biter

An ostracized young boy named Bastian who loves to read steals a magical book which is claimed to go on forever. Within the book is the story of an otherworldly Magical Native American boy named Atreyu, who is on a quest to save a Magical Land from vanishing. As Bastian reads more and more of the story, he discovers that the book seems to be aware of him. Eventually, he learns that the magical land within the book is another dimension encompassing all of human imagination; only a human with creative ideas can save it. Needless to say, this film does not so much break the Fourth Wall as it never really has one to begin with—which is a large part of the point.

Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story spawned three movies. The first film, 1984's The Neverending Story by Wolfgang Petersen, was well received—although Ende himself disliked the film to the point where he unsuccessfully sued to have the name changed and had his name taken out of the writing credits. Klaus Doldinger originally composed the soundtrack for the German release version, but most of the US release's soundtrack was eventually composed by Giorgio Moroder. The second film, 1991's The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter, was less liked. The third film, 1995's The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia, is deeply unpopular. The first two films were each based on half of the original novel, whereas the third movie had only one connection to the novel: the appearance of The Old Man of Wandering Mountain.


Somewhat surprisingly, it was announced that The Nothing had begun to encroach upon other universes, figuring into the plot of the new Warner Bros. Fighting Game MultiVersus.

The Neverending Story movies contain the following tropes:

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    The Neverending Story 
  • Abnormal Allergy: Morla, the Ancient One is allergic to youth.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Atreyu pulls this epically on Gmork late in the film as part of a Badass Boast, below.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Bastian was plain and fat in the book.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The film changes the inscription on AURYN from "Do What You Wish" ("Tu was du willst") to "Do What You Dream". This was one of the changes that Michael Ende disagreed with most strongly.
    "Do what you dream!" This inscription is really the opposite of what the message of my book means.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Many elements in the first film either make no sense or are not adequately explained because their meanings from the novel were either simplified or omitted. Some of the elements lost from the novel include:
    • Atreyu does not take his weapons because he must remain neutral as a bearer of Auryn. All Fantasticans will respect him as they respect the Childlike Empress.
    • Atreyu learns of Morla through a vision he has in a dream about a purple buffalo.
    • Atreyu reaches the Southern Oracle through an encounter with a villain (Ygramul the Many, to be exact) whose poisonous bite gives the victim the power of instant teleportation before they die. Falcor was another victim who also used this power. It was cut from the final script due to VFX limitations of the time. This also would have explained the medicine being given by the Gnomes to Atreyu and Falcor, which was to counter Ygramul's poison.
    • The Nothing has no appearance of anything at all; any Fantastican who looks at it feels as though they have been struck blind. This obviously presented a problem in the translation to film, so the movie instead depicts The Nothing using visuals of roiling clouds created by mixing colored oils and salt water, to create a visual indicator of its presence. The movie's version of the Nothing also acts like a black hole that sucks in the landscape—and Fantasians—while the novel's version lures in Fantasicans like moths to a flame.
    • Gmork's motivations and explanations about Fantastica and the nature of The Nothing go much deeper in the book. He reveals that he is a shapeshifter who can go from world to world; his true motivation for wanting to aid in destroying Fantastica is envy, because he has no world to call home. He also reveals that Fantasticans enter the human world through The Nothing, but emerge as lies and delusions in the minds of humans, which increases the rate at which The Nothing spreads.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A very minor example with Fantasia itself. While the English translation of the book uses the name "Fantastica", the film uses "Fantasia". Arguably, this is actually a better translation, as it's closer to the original German name, Phantasien.
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the book, Cairon was a black zebra-centaur who went to find Atreyu and hand him the AURYN. Here, he is a humanoid merman who can walk on dry land.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, Gmork was helping The Nothing because he envied Fantasticans and humans for having the one thing he did not: a place to call home. This motive made him a somewhat sympathetic character, albeit a petty one who wanted to destroy two worlds out of spite. The film version, on the other hand, is a Straw Nihilist who wants the power to control the despairing lives left in The Nothing's wake.
  • Adapted Out: Many examples. The first Fantasican we meet in the book, the will-o-the-wisp Blubb, is absent. Atreyu's village isn't shown as Cairon didn't go there but Atreyu went to the Ivory Tower. The purple buffalo that served as Atreyu's animal guide and told him about Morla. The bark trolls who showed Atreyu the Nothing for the first time. Ygramul the Many, who was responsible for getting Atreyu to the Southern Oracle. The third gate to the Southern Oracle, the No Key Gate. The Old Man of Wandering Mountain. The entire second half of the book.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The Childlike Empress is a unique, immortal being who rules all of vast Fantasia, but in the end, she isn't too proud to beg Bastian to save her.
  • All for Nothing: Played with. At the end of his quest, Atreyu has learned that the Childlike Empress can be saved if a human child gives her a new name. He returns to her with this information, only to discover that... she knew this all along. This causes Atreyu to rant that he suffered all the loss and all the horrors of his quest just to learn what the Childlike Empress already knew, but the she quickly informs him that the REAL purpose of his journey was to Break the Fourth Wall and bring Bastian to her.
    • Bastian thought the same thing, when he finally gave the Childlike Empress a new name, Fantasia completely disappeared. But only one grain of sand remained, allowing Bastian to wish to have Fantasia restored.
  • All There in the Manual: When Bastian names the Childlike Empress, the name he shouts is hard to make out due to Dramatic Thunder. Those who are familiar with the original novel will know what Bastian actually says, but the movie's soundtrack itself also gives the answer; the name of the piece of music accompanying the scene is, in fact, Moonchild.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Natsu No Jewelry" was the theme song of the Japanese version.
    • Technically, Limahl's "Never Ending Story" qualifies; it was not present in the original German release and was later added to the film for the North American release.
  • Artifact Title: The reason for the title was cut by the adaptation. It originally referred to every plot thread followed to completion generating multiple new story hooks, but that entire meta level of the story was cut. Although the narration at the end states Bastian had "many amazing adventures" in Fantasia before returning home, which is Another Story for Another Time.
  • Award-Bait Song: Limahl's "The Never Ending Story".
    • 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.
  • Badass Boast: "If we're about to die anyway, I'd rather die fighting! Come for me, G'mork! I am Atreyu!"
  • Big Damn Heroes: Falkor's rescue of Atreyu from the Swamps of Sadness, his literal Despair Event Horizon, and the wolf, G'mork. Bastian even lampshades this with his huge exclamation of relief and collapse after the scene ends in the movie.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Bastian when he realizes that he's the one the Empress is talking about.
  • Blind Alley: Bastian escapes his bullies by hiding in a bookstore while his chasers rush by. The following encounter with the bookstore owner sets the plot in motion.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Near the end of the film, 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 of the film in progress. The last part she does whilst looking directly at the camera.
  • Bright Castle: Although depicted differently than in the book, the Ivory Tower is gorgeous. It even partakes slightly of the other side of the trope, since while it is not cursed it does end up the only part of Fantasia left floating in the dark void after the Nothing has destroyed the rest of the land. As if that symbolism isn't enough, Atreyu specifically seeks it out in desperation as a sort of beacon, and the fact it has survived acts as a Hope Spot for him. It certainly seems to be the heart of Fantasia (if not its geographical center, since it has no boundaries), and its survival is likely tied to the Empress's, since for the hero to have any chance of succeeding in his quest she has to be there to be given a new name.
  • Bring It: Atreyu to G'mork, followed by I Am Your Opponent.
  • Bully Hunter: Bastian and Falcor at the end.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Even if you're reading a book.
  • Captain Obvious: Played for drama: "Artax, you're sinking!"
  • Catapult Nightmare: Bastian wakes up this way in the opening scene.
  • The Chessmaster: Unlike the novel—where Bastian steals the book and the store owner doesn't even remember it at the end of the novel—Mr. Koreander tricks Bastian into taking the book in the film.
  • Children Are Tender-Hearted: Bastian sheds tears over the death of Atreyu's horse, Artax.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The film literally cut out half of the book. Thanks to Adaptation Displacement, most people don't even know anything was removed. The sequel picks up elements from the second half of the book, although it was still not quite there.
  • Cool Horse: Artax doesn't last long, but he still qualifies.
  • Covers Always Lie: The movie poster (shown above) displays the Rock Biter and his friends, suggesting that they play a prominent role in the story. In the movie itself, they only appear in a couple of scenes.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Atreyu kills G'mork in one hit with his stone knife.
  • The Darkness Gazes Back: At the end of the film, Atreyu stares into a dark corner to find his nemesis, G'mork, eyeing him back.
  • Death Glare: Atreyu gives G'mork one when he says, "Who are you, really?"
  • Decoy Protagonist: Sort of. Within the book, the opening chapter introduces Bastian—and the viewer—to the Rock Biter, the Nighthob, and the Teeny Weeny. The film implies that one of them will be the protagonist, or that the group may at least form a traveling band with the protagonist. But they exist first for exposition—to reveal what The Nothing is doing in various parts of Fantasia and how everyone is concerned enough to send representatives to the Ivory Tower—then to act as viewpoint witnesses to Cairon's council that sets up the plot of the rest of the story. The book's actual protagonist is Atreyu, and he travels alone except for Artax and, later on, Falkor. The introductory characters do come back into the story, though—at least in their absence, for all but the Rock Biter.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Coupled with Driven to Suicide for the Rockbiter, as he decides to let The Nothing overtake him.
    Rockbiter: They look like good, strong hands, don't they?
    • The Swamps of Sadness can cause this in people, which causes them to sink. This happens to Atreyu's horse Artax, which (combined with the revelation that his next goal is 10,000 miles away) pushes Atreyu himself across the Despair Event Horizon. He is saved from fully sinking into the swamp by Falkor.
  • Determinator: Atreyu is this personified. He never gives up on his quest, no matter how hopeless things seem or how few clues he has about what to do next.
  • Deus ex 'Scuse Me: The telephone call that distracts the bookstore owner just when Bastian is about to succumb to temptation to make off with the old book he's been told not to touch.
  • Disneyfication:
    • The death of G'mork in the film by Atreyu's hands. In the novel, G'mork is chained up and already dying; he takes on the role of Mr. Exposition before finally starving to death. The film abandons this in favor of a final showdown between the hero and the only tangible villain, likely to make Atreyu look more heroic.
    • Bastian riding Falcor in the human world at the end of the film. This ignores the novel's insistence that Fantasticans cannot exist in the human world as themselves. It also counts as a Clap Your Hands If You Believe resolution of Bastian's problems with the other kids bullying him. In the novel, Bastian's journey of self-discovery helps him find the strength to deal with his problems without expecting fantasy and wishful thinking to make his problems magically disappear.
  • The Dragon: Multiplied by two. G'mork is The Nothing's dragon, and The Nothing is one for the power behind human apathy.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Near the end of the movie...
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: This film has an extremely rare example of this happening to the protagonist. Atreyu, put through the wringer on a long and perilous quest, is suddenly killed by falling debris. He gets better.
  • Dutch Angle: Used effectively—and creepily—during the scene with Atreyu gazing up at the Sphinx Gate.
  • Ethereal Choir: The angelic Auryn theme.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: After the Nothing completely destroys Fantasia, the only survivors are Atreyu, Falkor and the Childlike Empress herself. Eventually, even Atreyu and Falkor perish, and the Empress is all that remains.
  • Expecting Someone Taller:
    Cairon: I'm sorry, but this is not the time or place for children. I must ask you to leave.
    Atreyu: If you do not want me here, then you shouldn't have sent for me.
    Cairon: It is not you we sent for. We wanted Atreyu.
    Atreyu: I am Atreyu.
    [Everyone in the room laughs]
    Cairon: Not Atreyu the child, Atreyu the warrior!
    Atreyu: I'm the only Atreyu of the Plains People.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: What the Night Hob's asking if the Rock Biter is a nutcase amounts to. The moment he gets his answer, he realizes just what such a name entails and then the Rock Biter is having a snack of limestone that could crush him, his friend and their mounts.
  • Fade to Black: A devastating one caps the scene where Artax dies. It happens again when Bastian calls out the Childlike Empress's name as the Nothing destroys (almost) the last bit of Fantasia.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: In the film's opening scene, Bastian's father tells his son to get his head out of the clouds because he is failing in school. In the end, if not for Bastian's vivid imagination, Fantasia would have been destroyed forever.
  • The Film of the Book: See Compressed Adaptation.
  • Find the Cure!: Atreyu's quest, in essence, since doing so for the Empress will also save Fantasia from The Nothing.
  • Fisher Queen: At the beginning of the film, numerous Fantasians appear at the Ivory Tower to beseech the Empress for her help to stop the Nothing - only to learn that the Empress herself is deathly ill. When Cairon gives the quest to Atreyu, he states that finding the Empress a cure for her malady will stop the Nothing, and vice versa, which all but outright states that the Empress is a Fisher Queen.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Near the end of the film, Atreyu sees a number of murals showing various events that have already happened to him. He then sees a mural showing a growling wolf in some rubble, which he definitely has not encountered...until about five seconds later, when the G'mork makes his presence known.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Mr. Coriander's describing of the book to Bastian is either this trope or Schmuck Bait, given his smile when Bastian takes it.
  • Framing Device: The film starts off looking like it invokes this trope—until you realise Fantasia is another dimension and not just a story being read by Bastian.
  • Friend to All Living Things: In the extended German cut of the film, Atreyu at first offers to help G'mork (likely thinking he's hurt) despite his Obviously Evil appearance. He also calls Artax his friend more than once.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: What apparently happens when someone looks into the Magic Mirror Gate.
    Engywook: Atreyu has to face his true self.
    Falcor: So what? That won't be too hard for him.
    Engywook: Oh, that's what everyone thinks! But kind people find out that they are cruel. Brave men discover that they are really cowards! Confronted by their true selves, most men run away screaming!
  • Good Is Not Soft: Atreyu, as G'mork finds out the hard way.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: G'mork states that human apathy and lack of imagination is his true master:
    Gmork: I am the servant of the force behind The Nothing.
  • Guttural Growler: G'mork is a wolf, so...yeah.
  • The Heartless: The Nothing is described as an Eldritch Abomination who works in these terms.
    Atreyu: What is The Nothing?
    G'mork: 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?
    G'mork: Because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has control has the power.
  • The Heavy: G'mork fills this role. The Nothing is probably the actual Big Bad, but Atreyu has to fight G'mork instead, as he is actually tangible. G'mork even says something to this effect:
    Atreyu: Who are you, really?
    G'mork: I am the servant of the power behind The Nothing.
  • Heroic BSoD: The Rockbiter is shown to be in one near the end.
    • Atreyu goes into one when Morla tells him he can't reach the Southern Oracle. Combined with the death of Artax, this information sends Atreyu into enough despair that he begins sinking to his death in the Swamps of Sadness. Fortunately, Falcor shows up just in time.
      • Atreyu goes into another one near the end; ironically, G'mork unwittingly gives him some information that snaps him out of it.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Swamps of Sadness.
  • I Know Your True Name: In the original book, the inhabitants of Fantasia hold the Auryn in such high regard and respect that they very rarely refer to it by its real name, preferring to call it something similar like "the Gem" or "the Glory." In the movie, they have no such apprehension.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: G'mork, courtesy of Atreyu.
  • The Joy of First Flight: Bastian when riding Falcor at the end.
  • Karmic Death: G'mork, whose mission is to kill Atreyu and thereby doom Fantasia, is killed by Atreyu.
  • Kid Hero: Bastian/Atreyu.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bastian and Falcor dish this out to the bullies at the end.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: Oppenheimer is not only Falkor, but also G'mork, Rockbiter and the narrator.
  • Magical Land: Fantasia.
  • Magic Mirror: And The Mirror Shows Your True Self, naturally.
  • Missing Mom: Bastian's mother died at some point before the film's opening. Based on the conversation Bastian has with his dad, it's likely she's only been dead for a few weeks to a month before.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: Atreyu does this to G'mork, overlapping with Bring It.
  • Narrator: The 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—"It's to emphasize thematically that the real story is only beginning" or whatnot—but in all likelihood, it was because of earlier scenes being cut or a sloppy mistake in the film's writing or editing.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Unbelievably near. At the end of the film, all that remains of Fantasia is the Childlike Empress and a single grain of sand.
  • Nerves of Steel: Atreyu when he confronts G'mork.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By opting to give Atreyu a big lecture rather than just attack him, G'mork unwittingly gives him some pretty valuable information—such as the fact that he is the only one capable of stopping The Nothing. Atreyu had actually hit the Despair Event Horizon before hearing that, so G'mork's attempts to kill Atreyu only cause Bastian to empathize more with Atreyu and his quest.
  • No Fourth Wall: The Childlike Empress explicitly says that others have been following Bastian through his experiences, like he had been following Atreyu.
  • No Ontological Inertia: At the end, once Bastian has given the Childlike Empress a new name, Fantasia goes right back to its old state.
    Bastian: Falkor, it's like the Nothing never was.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • The Nothing. Literally. It's destroying the world of Fantasia, and it has no form.
    • Also the Nothing's servant, G'mork. For much of the movie, his scenes are mostly shown from his perspective, with his menacing theme music playing as he follows Atreyu's trail. You don't actually get a good look at G'mork himself until his final scene, but that doesn't make this monster one bit less frightening.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • G'mork has an epic one when Atreyu reveals his identity and challenges him to fight.
    • Atreyu also has this expression in the Swamps of Sadness when Artax stops moving.
    • The three bullies at the end get their own taste of this trope when Bastian comes after them - on Falkor's back.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Inverted—G'mork claims that Atreyu is the only one capable of defeating him. Atreyu is happy to oblige.
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: Double Subversion—Atreyu is not worthy to make it past the sphinxes, but he makes it through anyway.
  • Palette Swap: As opposed to the book, the Southern Oracle is this to the Sphinx Gate. It is actually more likely the latter is modeled after the former, but the order in which Atreyu encounters them would make it appear the reverse, which explains why he is understandably reluctant to approach and the Oracle make a point of reassuring him that they will not hurt him. Bastian also lampshades this by having a bit of confusion when reading their description before the viewer gets to see them.
  • Pals with Jesus: Bastian gets to ride Falcor in the real world to chase some bullies.
  • Portal Statue Pairs: The two sphinxes of the Southern Oracle. As noted under Palette Swap, the Sphinx Gate are weaponized, Gate Guardian versions.
  • The Power of Friendship: Atreyu invokes this when he is trying to save Artax from the swamp. It doesn't work.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "Then my first wish is..." Followed by Bastian bringing back all of Fantasia and getting revenge on the bullies with Falcor's help.
    • "Come for me, G'mork! I am Atreyu!"
  • Quicksand Sucks: The Swamp of Sadness is the manifestation of despair.
  • Race Against the Clock: The story is about not only saving Fantasia from The Nothing, but saving the life of the dying Childlike Empress; to underscore the symbolism and up the stakes, Cairon says that her sickness is linked to The Nothing.
  • Race Lift: White actor Noah Hathaway cast as Atreyu, who's clearly meant to suggest a Native American. (In the sequel he is played by Mexican-American actor Kenny Morrison.)
  • Reaching Through the Fourth Wall: When the Nothing is about to destroy the Childlike Empress (along with the last bits of Fantasia), a violent storm rages against the school where Bastian is reading the story, making it seem like the Nothing is coming for him, too. Not to mention that this is also the scene where the Childlike Empress is talking directly to Bastian.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: Reading literally saves all of Fantasia.
  • Reset Button: Of the Set Right What Once Went Wrong variety by Bastian.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Atreyu's horse Artax, who is overwhelmed by the Swamps of Sadness and drowns to his death.
  • Say My Name:
    • "ARTAX!"
    • And at the end, the Empress tells Bastian to call out the new name he has chosen for her.
  • Savage Wolf: G'mork is a hitman sent by "the force behind The Nothing" to kill Atreyu and thereby doom the world.
  • Serpent of Immortality: This is the visual motif behind AURYN, the amulet representing the power of the immortal Childlike Empress.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: G'mork was shot in this style.
  • Shattered World: This is seen near the end when Atreyu and Falkor float across a field of floating rocks, which is all that is left of Fantasia.
  • Shout-Out: To prove Mr. Koreander that he's into books, Bastian lists Treasure Island, The Last of the Mohicans, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Tarzan as literature he has read. Koreander himself brings up Robinson Crusoe.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Atreyu gives G'mork a long stare before asking him to confirm who he is.
  • Stuffed into a Trashcan: Dumpsters are trashcans, too.
  • Swamps Are Evil: Atreyu journeys through the Swamps of Sadness, which consume vulnerable travelers with despair and suck them into a muddy grave. Atreyu's horse Atrax succumbs.
  • Symbolism: While there is plenty of it in a story this archetypal, the ultimate example would have to be the combination of what the Empress needs to be cured, why her illness is tied to The Nothing, and why the book is needed to draw in an Earthling child to provide the cure: In a world that is both the source and product of human imagination, of course names have power. At the same time, the fact that such a place is a world of fantasy readily explains why no one within it has the power over creation/existence/true nature that comes with truly naming things. (This is expanded on more in the book, of course.) Of course a person without a true name would become an Empty Shell, thus making something like The Nothing possible. And the fact that the human world is said to be losing imagination and ceasing to believe in magic still ties in; in such a state of affairs, one of the first things to go would be the essence/inner nature of the one who rules the world of imagination, especially when their existence is tied to the land's.
  • Technicolor Science: Engywook has a telescope using green and red colored carboys.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Inverted with the Rockbiter, who ends up at These Hands Have Not Saved. See Despair Event Horizon above.
  • This Cannot Be!: Bastian tends to react this way whenever he realizes that the Fantasian characters are aware of him.
  • Turtle Island: Morla is originally perceived by Atreyu as a hill of some sort.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Atreyu flat-out tells G'mork the dangers of doing this: "I will not die easily. I am a warrior."
  • 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 would not have helped.
  • We All Live in America: The original German versions of the movies—and the books—base the story in Germany. How come Bastian's hometown looks like an American city, then? Especially ridiculous since the Fantasia scenes were filmed at a studio in Munich, meaning the filmmakers could easily have preserved the original setting simply by taking their equipment outside the studio.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: When Bastian reads that the Childlike Empress needs a new name, he remarks to himself that his mother had a beautiful name, which he would like to give to the Empress if it were up to him. When it turns out that it is up to him, the name he shouts is obscured by Dramatic Thunder but seems to be the same as the new name that he gives her in the book: "Moon Child".
    • 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 the series being another Alternate Continuity, but clarifies that his mom's actual name was Selene, after the Greek moon goddess.
  • Worf Had the Flu: In the extended German version, G'mork explains that he has weakened himself by chasing Atreyu for so long, which explains why he goes down with one hit.
  • World-Healing Wave: Bastian restoring all of Fantasia at the end.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real

    The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter 
  • Big Bad: Xayide.
  • The Blank: Xayide.
  • Death of Personality: The Emptiness slowly does this to Bastian by erasing his memories every time he makes a wish.
  • Disneyfication: The second film removes many of the deeper themes and messages of the second half of the novel and replaces them with a more generic hero vs villain story.
    • Xayide's elevation to primary antagonist responsible for Bastian losing his memories. In the book, the memory loss is a natural function of a human using Auryn to grant wishes.
    • Xayide causing the "emptiness" to spread throughout Fantasia (which is just a rehash of the Nothing from the first film) is fabricated to make her a credible primary villain, when the latter half of the novel on which the film is based was about Bastian nearly becoming the villain and losing himself. In the book, Xayide's will was able to control anything empty (hence the hollow giants), but it wasn't a force comparable to the Nothing.
    • The manipulation of Bastian by Xayide in the film is used as the primary cause of Bastian's slow downfall, unlike the novel. While Xayide is in the novel and does manipulate him, she is not the main antagonist and is not responsible for his memory loss. The novel is about Bastian's slow descent into becoming the primary villain through his own self-loathing and desire to be loved, leading to some very bad choices that also cause the loss of memories of his former self. Likewise, his final repentance and search for his true self and desires are completely omitted from the film and replaced by An Aesop about facing one's fears. This aesop was in fact a part of Bastian's journey through the original novel, but it was a part of the bigger picture of Bastian slowly discovering who he is and what he truly wants.
  • Fan Disservice: Bastian's swimming class, where half of his friends are wearing speedos. Bear in mind that most of them are at best thirteen years old.
  • Heel–Face Brainwashing: Of a sort Bastian's last wish is for Xayide to "have a heart". She immediately starts shedding Tears of Remorse and magically undoes all the evil things she's done.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Nimbly helps Bastian find Xayide within the last few minutes of the movie. However, he's unwilling to help him stop Xayide and flies away.
    • Xayide goes through a forceful one via a wish from Bastian. This causes her to realize what she's done and is destroyed... somehow.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Xayide, who is the human embodiment of emptiness.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life, if for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by Xayide. 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 her) 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 to act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the Xayide shouldn't be trusted.
    • Bastian is also given opportunities to make wishes with the Auryn (unknown to him that making wishes will cause his memories to be removed from his mind) but most of the time he doesn't even make the wishes. A good example would be when Xayide sends her minions after Bastian, Nimbly tells him to make a wish but he doesn't and Nimbly has to save him.
    • Going the other way, Bastian idly wishes for another way into Xayide's castle, which causes a series of handholds to come out of the wall. However, these stop about half way up and Bastian decides he needs to wish for additional handholds individually (which of course unbeknownst to him speeds up his loss of memories).
  • Informed Ability: In a serious case of Badass Decay, Atreyu, despite being described as a great warrior in the first film and even killing G'mork with a stone dagger, is easily murdered by Bastian here.
  • Magic Librarian: Mr. Coreander is depicted this way.
  • Memory Jar: Bastian is slowly losing his memories, which Xayide is keeping in what appear to be glass orbs.
  • Swiss Army Tears: How Xayide meets her defeat.
    Bastian: I wish you had a heart.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bastian, and how!
  • Villainous BSoD: See above. 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.
  • Wishplosion: The end of the movie.
  • You Would Do the Same for Me: "...Yeah, sure."

    The Neverending Story III: Escape from Fantasia 
  • Adaptation Expansion: Unlike the first two films, the third movie was an original plot with barely any resemblance to its beginnings.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: While the previous film attempted to retain Falkor and the Rock-Biter's original personalities, they are completely altered here.
  • All There in the Script: Aside from Slip and Dog, none of the Nastie's are named onscreen. The credits reveal the other three are nicknamed Rage, Mookie, and Coil.
  • Arbitrary Equipment Restriction: A rare non-video game example: What's the Childlike Empress' answer 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.
  • As You Know: Bastian does this to himself. Kinda weird that he read all the things that he already knew happened to himself.
  • Award-Bait Song:
  • Batman in My Basement: Bastian has to keep Rock Biter Jr. in his house.
  • Big Bad: Slip, the leader of the Nasties. One of Jack Black's few villain roles also.
  • Broken Bird: Attempted with Bastian's stepsister — she doesn't want one of his crystals.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Atreyu is nowhere to be seen, though given the quality of the movie, that can only be a good thing.
    • He actually was going to be in the third film though...see What Could Have Been in the Trivia Section for how his character was intended to be ruined.
  • Denser and Wackier: Helped by being an original plot as the previous two adapted the book. The characters were used more for comedy than drama, pop cultural references abound, and there was intense Villain Decay (from an Eldritch Abomination and a dangerous sorceress to... a school bully!).
  • Faux Affably Evil: Slip when he first meets Bastian acts rather nice before tormenting him.
  • Flanderization: This film takes any minor aspects of the returning characters and exaggerated them to a psychotic degree.
  • Halloween Episode: The climax is set on Halloween.
  • Hypocrite: Bastian's stepsister doesn't like any New Age Garbage but is seen playing a glurge and Wangst song on guitar.
  • Idiot Ball: Again, Bastian. He clutches it even harder here, where he barely does anything but be a coward.
  • Informed Flaw: While the school is Totally Radical, the movie treats Bastian's gel-spiked hair as an affront against humanity, when that 'do in the mid-90's was commonplace. And, in fact, other characters have it.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Possibly why the Empress won't let Bastian take shortcuts.
  • Jerk Jock: Slip (played by Jack Black).
  • Just Eat Gilligan: 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.
    • In the original draft, the empress actually explained why Bastian couldn't wish them back to Fantasia: the Auryn was incapable of teleporting multiple beings somewhere while in separate locations. It still doesn't explain why he couldn't wish them separately, but it's still better than "No, Bastion".
  • Large Ham: Jack Black plays a generic school bully as if he's a diabolical mastermind, hell-bent on getting Bastian with a determination Captain Ahab would be proud of.
  • Negative Continuity: Bastion's father does not seem to know about the book or the reality inside of it, even though he learned in the second film.
  • Never My Fault: After the Nasties are expelled for locking Bastian in the boiler room, they blame him entirely for ratting them out and not the fact that they were breaking school rules after repeated warnings.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Nasties are a group of typical High School Bullies who aren't exceptionally bright or clever, so you probably wouldn't expect them to be much of threat compared the Nothing or the Emptiness. Here's the thing though: unlike the former two, they are from the real world, and therefore have the ability to completely control or alter what occurs in the NeverEnding Story Book, thus ironically making them possibly the most dangerous villains in the whole series!
  • She Is All Grown Up: The Childlike Empress isn't so childlike anymore.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass:
    • Falkor, who is supposed to be a very smart character. He is a smart character in the first film and still somewhat smart in the second. In this film, however, he becomes a downright moron.
    • Not to mention the Rock Biter transformed in a terrible sitcom character. ...See for yourself.
  • Totally Radical: Nicole saying that Bastian's hairstyle is so "Un".
  • Two Girls to a Team: Mookie and Coil of the Nastie's.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The Rockbiter's wife is voiced by a man.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: The Rockbiter's wife speaks in a weird mix of Jamaican and Irish, while the Rockbiter baby literally sounds like Pikachu, saying, "Pika-pee! Pika-pee!"

Alternative Title(s): Neverending Story, The Neverending Story II The Next Chapter, The Never Ending Story III Escape From Fantasia, The Never Ending Story III, The Neverending Story II