Monday, February 4, 2008

READERS CHOICE TOPIC 3a: The Neverending Subaru

Ok, two weeks in a row with a tie, kind of upsets me, because I really enjoy both Subarus and The NeverEnding Story. I'm making an executive decision on this one. In this case, out of respect for both topics, I will write two separate posts. Today, because it lead till the end, I will write about NeverEnding Story.

First, the NeverEnding Story (NES from now on) was one of the most influential movies of my childhood. I'm going to summarize it quickly as possible, so here it is basically: Bastian a bullied boy in New York escapes from his attackers into a mystical book store, takes a super thick old book, and reads it in the spooky attic of his apartment building. The story that unfolds in the book is basically one of his own imagination and the Hero, a boy himself, Atreyu faces several challenges trying to save the mystical world from the Nothing, an all enveloping force that threatens to jettison the world into deep space. Along the way Atreyu on his trusty horse Artex face countless trials that test his character. There are amazing freaking creatures in this movie, no stupid special computer effects, just puppets and real creatures. They include a jockey on a racing snail, a guy who flies on bat, a giant rock eating sensitive monster. After losing his horse Atreyu is rescued by a "Luck Dragon" Falcor. I love Falcor because he looks like a giant Cocker Spaniel. Falcor leaves Atreyu to recooperate at the home of an old tiny old couple that live and study the Oracle. The Oracle was a gate of passage that had two large breasted statuettes that shot lazer beams out of their eyes at anyone who tried to pass with doubt in their heart.
He makes it of course to eventually face his greatest fears otherwise known as the Nothing. The embodiment of the Nothing was a FAREEKY arse wolf in a den. After exchanging words, Atreyu pisses the Nothing Wolf off enough to make it attack, but Atreyu stabs it with a mirror chard.
The point of me reminding you of all this is that I didn't look at a website, that is from memory. Bastian eventually gives the princess or whatever a name, which is his dead mothers, and saves the magical world. Falcor then helps him chase his bullies through an ally way into a garbage can. Whatever, the movie even inspired two sequels. I'm not going to write about those either, the point that I want to make is that if you grew up a kid in the eighties early nineties you probably saw this movie, puppets and all, and it probably was awesome then, as it is now.
If you saw this movie then you probably had cool parents that were into showing you freaky psychedelic children's movies.
Guess what there were more! Can you remember David Bowie with his male spandex as the evil King of Hoggle and other goblins in the tripped out Jim Henson studio puppet creation the "Labyrinth" What about an early Val Kilmer in "Willow" That movie was really weird. "I've got your wand Mavmorta!" Also, you've got the seriously twisted sequel "Return To Oz" where Dorothy escapes a mental institution and hits her head sending her back to Oz with new friends including Tick Tock, Pumkin Head, and a flying moose head on a couch. The flying monkeys had wheels instead of hands and were called Wheelers, they worked for a head switching Witch. That movie was messed up too. What about The Princess Bride and rodents of unusual size. What about the Fred Savage classic Little Monsters with Howie Mandell? Or if you really want to impress me just say that you've seen the Amazing Adventures of Baron Von Munchousen. Cartoons were crazy too, not computertoons, but Rainbow Brite, CareBears, Teddy Ruxpin, Voltron, HeMan and Thundercats. I mean who was making all of these? I don't know but I watched them. It truly was the golden age of psychedelic children's fantasy movies. Now things have changed.

There are still fantasy movies...but in my opinion most of them suck. Harry Potter, c'mon. Narnia, please. Golden Compass, whatever. Tarbithia, go fly a kite. They all are totally over saturated with computer graphics. Not only that they are afraid to take that extra step of wierdness to really freak a kid out. Its not real scare em half to death if you want to! When did kids becomes such little pansies that they could handle a little freak out. I turned out ok...I think. In the NES the Nothing was scary because it had real fur. The goblins, now in retrospect, look stupid in the Labyrinth. But so what they were so creepy at the time. Luckily there are also underground fantasy movies for us real folks that appreciate a good old fashioned, crazy as you can handle, freak out right through the deep inner workings of the oddity of the human mind.
Movies like Pan's Labyrinth, The Lost City of Children, Amelie, and Mirror Mask are little beacons of hope in an otherwise faltering fantasy world. I think those movies are NES's for grown ups. They are totally kids movies but taken to the proper freaky level. The level that you need to take a fantasy movie to for it to hold any weight. Everyone else, even the Lord of the Rings, are kind of wussing out. If you can truthfully say you didn't almost poop yourself during Pan's Labyrinth then your a tougher man then I. A fantasy movie needs to take you to the dark pagan center of life and let you feel the sin. I'm not so sure that this post really gets to the center or realization of the NES. I just wanted people to recognize that fantasy movies used to be so good. There are some out there but you have to search for them. Don't give into all the BS that is out there, and no, I don't care if you like the movies I bashed. I also hate the Beatles, I will never read Harry Potter ever, I think Costner is a god, and I think sketchers tennis shoes are tacky. I have opinions, sue me. Just try to watch those new fantasy movies I listed above, then watch Harry Putter and tell me what was better. Peace!


Halsky said...

I think I deserve the assist on this blog post bro! From our convo. But yeah, I think movies like pans labrynth, the lost city of children, and mirror mask are the grown up version of our childhood NES and Labrynth's. I have shown these movies to friends, good friends with good taste, and they just havent felt the way about them that I have. I think it is because they didnt have the basis of childhood fantasy movies like we did. By the way it should be noted that two of those three movies are foreign(pans-spanish, and lost city of children-french) maybe the future of our precious freaky adult fantasy movies relies in other countries. Does anyone else have any movies falling into this category?
nice post bro.

Mr. Iverson said...

Sorry Hal, I owe you a lot of props on this one, but thats why you're my brother and I love you. You are the only one who gets stuff like this. It sucks that Americans can't make good fantasy, I never thought of it that way. I wonder if you and I were the only ones subjected to all of these movies growing up? Anyone else in this magical boat with us?

Jessie said...

i remember being little and seeing the glass cases of heads in that oz sequel... do you remember that? I had nightmares for weeks!

alisha said...

I watched all those movies growing up and loved them. My younger sister knew EVERY SINGLE WORD to the princess bride by the time she was about 6 years old. She used to sit two feet away from the tv and recite every word. I think that one summer she must have watched that movie everyday. I was actually going to mention that movie on my last comment but then didnt because i didnt want to influence what you said in your post. I was amazed to see that you mentioned it anyway. What a crazy cinematic world we grew up in. I agree that fantasy movies definitely arent what they used to be, but you ought to give the HP books a chance. The books are a lot more complicated and twisted that they movies. Good call on making the two topics separate posts!

Bummush Olrun said...

oh my gosh i used to love that one movie with that one big flying dog or what that movie i like sooo old...gosh...oh yeah and i'm done with the Good Music thingy

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