Shy, awkward Bastian is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.
The first two movies are based on the first and second halves of the book, respectively (fortunately, the events of the third one were never written about). Bastian, rather than being a cute, slim, wide-eyed little boy, is a chubby recluse who withdraws into his own imagination as a replacement for friends, even more so since the death of his mother.
While not amazingly well-written by any stretch of the imagination, The Neverending Story makes up fully for that by being such a gripping adventure. Ende can write an enthralling drama, as equally light-hearted as it can be dark.
The story, however, goes deeper than providing a high fantasy tale. It is, at its heart, when all is said and done, a story about learning to love oneself. Bastian's metamorphosis from a selfish schoolboy to a worshipped, egotistical weilder of Auryn in Fantastica to, finally, a humble, appreciative son is as magical as the rest of the novel.
Since it's likely that you've seen the movie but not read the book, I highly recommend that you track down the original story - the movie stands on its own, but the book takes Bastian on a deeper and more dangerous journey into Fantastica and the inner regions of the soul, both adding detail into the movie's progression, and continuing into a larger and more fascinating adventure. Usually I always suggest reading books before watching any movies that they are based on, but in the case of "The Neverending Story" I make an exception - it is much better to scratch the surface of Ende's imagination in Peterson's very good interpretation of the book's first half, and then immerse yourself in the deeper book-within-a-book that Ende wrote, filled with adventure, intrigue, possibilities, mystery, thought-provoking ideas, beloved characters and probing into the depths of the human psyche.
Bastian Balthazar Bux is a rather tubby, unpopular victim of bullying at the school, with a deceased mother and a grieving father. His one consolation in life is books, his absolute passion.Read more ›