Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Neverending Story II



Now, this is a VERY interesting film from the Discordian perspective.  Far more interesting than the original, which many people consider to be the superior movie. 

In this installment, our hero, Bastian, still a daydreamy bookworm type, gets hold of the old bookseller's copy of The Neverending Story again and starts reading it, in part to make himself feel better after a humiliation in gym class.  This time the story is utterly different.  As soon as he opens the book Bastian sees that the words and pictures are disappearing from the pages.  And he's not just reading it this time; he is included as one of the characters.  He's the badly-needed hero again in this one, but now he gets to travel his own imaginary landscape in person, even though it is fading fast.  As she fades out, the illustration of the Childlike Empress calls on him to help them. 

In the first movie, "a curious sort of nothingness" was making the place disappear; in this one, it's more of an attack by an army of monsters commanded by an evil creature named Xayide.  You can tell she's evil because she a brunette who wears devil fashions -- glimmering red gowns, long black nails, that sort of thing -- and she lives in a totally Goth castle that looks like a clawed hand.  She's a pretty clear opposite to the Empress, with her flowing white draperies and ivory-tower palace.  Xayide's takeover plan is -- get this! -- to impose Order on what she considers a Chaotic world.  Wherever she does this, devastation ensues and people flee screaming.  Bastian gets together with his compatriots from the first movie -- Falcor the luck dragon and Atreyu the warrior -- and they go a-questing to stop her.  Naturally, he goes.

ERISIAN PONDERATIONS ON THIS STORY:

>> I had to smile at how the filmmakers tried to boil the interaction of Order and Chaos down to a simple good-versus-evil equation.  As usual, they blew that immediately, blending the two indiscriminately, and they proceeded to do it again and again throughout the film.

>> I do like the idea that Bastian, Falcor and Atreyu are the good knights of Chaos.  But all they do in scene after scene is...well...put things back in Order. 

>> I was intrigued by the evil queen's method of putting paid to Bastian's plans, by fixing it so that every time he makes a wish using his snake amulet, he loses part of his memory.  So she's giving him...a mental disorder that allows her to mess with him.  Who has the power to fix it?  The characters fighting on the side of Chaos.  They put him back...in order.  See what I mean?  Sheesh.

>> I winced at the corniness of having the evil queen's minion, Nimbly (a giant bird who resembles a frog-mouthed goatsucker), get all weepy when he glimpses Bastian's stolen memory of his mother delivering words of wisdom on her deathbed.  Nimbly immediately switches sides.  Based on emotion!  How disorderly of him!  Of course, you could read that as proof that disorder is stronger than order.  If you think in that particular way.  I suspect the filmmakers wanted you to.

>> I winced also at the violations of my own sense of order.  Howcum the so-called "giants" (who pleasingly resemble bipedal crab monsters) are so much smaller than, say, the Rockbiter?  Or Falcor?  They wouldn't even have trouble fitting through the front door of the bookstore where the story starts. The movie is full of this kind of stuff.

>> I couldn't help but notice that the two sides pitted against each other, Order and Chaos, use very much the same techniques against each other.  Kidnapping.  Trickery.  Violence.  Magic.  So where's the difference between the two, huh?

>> Ultimately, the evil queen wins.  Because Order is restored at the end.  Oops!

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