I remember seeing this film when I was young - spurred on by the Limahl theme song that was in the charts at the time, and rather enjoying it. Based on just the first half of Michael Ende's original novel, it's a gentle fantasy tale of a young boy - "Bastian" (Barret Oliver) - who is being bullied by three classmates. When one day he seeks refuge in a bookshop, the owner shows him a mysterious book that he "borrows" and reads - introducing him to the magical, and dangerous, kingdom of "Fantastica" where he learns that it's benign, kindly young "Childlike Empress" is dying and that only he can help "Atreyu" (Noah Hathaway) save her and everyone from disaster at the hands of "The Nothing". The youngsters are strong with their performances, and Wolfgang Petersen's adaption of his own screenplay remains reasonably faithful to the delicate story with clever, engaging animation - a combination of intricate puppetry and blue-screen effects that is both charming and fun: the luck dragon ("Falkor") and the "Gmork" greatly add to the story of wishes and secrets as "Bastian" races against time to accomplish his task. Time has been quite kind to this film (apart from, maybe, the haircuts!) and it still holds up well.
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