Quick Movie Review: The NeverEnding Story (1984)

neverending story

Director Wolfgang Petersen sure had an ambitious task on his hands when he decided to take on creating the spectacular world that is Fantasia. And it sure paid off.

I watched NeverEnding Story often as a child, though hadn’t seen it in almost 20 years. But images like these stick in your brain indelibly.

Based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Michael Ende, it follows a young boy, Bastian, as he happens upon a mysterious book that bridges the gap between what’s real and what’s fantasy.

Filled with unique and visionary characters and set pieces, it’s such an attractive film. The vision is executed so imaginatively that when we see the world of Fantasia, we never for a second feel like it’s the same world–the real world–that Bastian is living in.

You can tell it enjoys showing off its effects. And it should–they’re amazing! But the film isn’t just a “look what we can do” effects spectacle. No, it’s very deep and has some important things to say. It’s mainly about hope and imagination, with subtle religious undertones as well.

It’s a fairly short movie, but the adventure never feels rushed, building momentum evenly and moving along at an almost-perfect pace.

Often times, filmmakers know that if they just throw a bunch of fancy effects and weird-looking characters into their children’s movie that the details of the story don’t matter. This isn’t the case here. For a fantasy film, the details aren’t convoluted at all. It’s easy for kids to understand, but adults won’t feel talked down to, either. In fact, they’ll likely relate to it too.

Twizard Rating: 100


Quick Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond (2016)

star trek beyond

I guess in this day and age, we expect things in trilogies–or serials at least. But Star Trek Beyond isn’t that. There isn’t a lot of story tie-ins from the previous two films. It’s just the same crew–albeit a little more mature and a little wiser–on a brand new mission.

And as much as part of me wishes that it was like all the other blockbuster franchises these days, I can appreciate the solidarity.

Chris Pine looks like he fits the Captain Kirk mold better than ever as he’s debating whether or not he should leave the Enterprise and take a promotion as Vice Admiral–meaning he would be permanently grounded.

The first 30 minutes are fairly slow, as the film is catching us up with these characters, bringing us to the point where they want us to be.

Then, all of a sudden, the Enterprise ship is ambushed and all but destroyed, killing much of the crew and leaving the rest stranded on some Earth-like planet run by Krall–who’s out to seek revenge on the Federation for unknown reasons.

They actually happen to be very good reasons, but we don’t know them until almost the end of the film. Up until that point, Krall just seems like another generic bad guy with unclear motives–which can come off as convoluted, and even frustrating at times.

But once the ending hits, you realize what’s happening and acknowledge to yourself that it was worth the journey. Even if it’s perhaps because you want it to have been.

The franchise is no longer directed by J.J. Abrams, but he’s still signed on as producer. Instead, it’s directed by Justin Lin–known for many Fast and Furious films. And Beyond has him written all over it. Just the increase in shaky-cam alone.

But I really enjoyed the film. It’s not as well-organized as Abrams’ previous 2 installments, but it’s fun and intriguing and has you on the edge of your seat. I’m excited to see what’s next.

Twizard Rating: 91