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The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray

United States
Die unendliche Geschichte Warner Bros. | 1984 | 94 min | Not rated | Mar 02, 2010

The NeverEnding Story (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Discs
25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region free

Price
List price: $14.98, Price history
Amazon: $9.72 (Save 35%)
New from: $5.98 (Save 60%)
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Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
7.6
206
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 3.7 of 53.7
Audio 3.7 of 53.7
Extras 0.2 of 50.2
Based on 14 user reviews

Movie appeal

 
Family100%
Fantasy99%
Adventure97%
Drama-

91%
popularity
2740
collections
70
fans




The NeverEnding Story

 (1984)

The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray delivers great video and solid audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

When young Bastian borrows a mysterious, ornately-bound book, he never dreamed turning a page would draw him into a shimmering fantasy world of racing snails, hang-glider bats, soaring luckdragons, puckish elves, a Childlike Empress, the brave warrior Atreyu and a slab-faced walking quarry called a Rock Biter.

For more about The NeverEnding Story and the The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray release, see the The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Starring: Barret Oliver, Noah Hathaway, Tami Stronach, Thomas Hill, Moses Gunn, Alan Oppenheimer
Narrator: Alan Oppenheimer
Director: Wolfgang Petersen (I)

» See full cast & crew


The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

The NeverEnding Story features a competent, at-times striking 1080p/VC-1 transfer; one that obliterates the standard DVD's dated, ungainly picture and, despite some lingering setbacks and inconsistencies, looks much better than the Blu-ray edition released in the Netherlands in 2007. Cinematographer Jost Vacano's haunting palette -- which descends further and further into darkness the closer Atreyu comes to the end of his journey -- is brimming with earthy browns, rich amber hues, wintry whites, lifelike skintones, and well-resolved blacks. Although primary colors only appear on occasion, they arrive in force, granting blue flashes of lighting searing intensity, a deadly gateway's golden glow palpable warmth, and the spilled blood of a lunging beast a fittingly visceral edge. Moreover, contrast is fairly reliable (particularly considering the age of the film and condition of the print), and depth is surprisingly convincing. If the presentation falters, it's in regards to detail. While many shots look fantastic, reborn even, several extensive effects sequences, low-lit scenes, and dreary interiors don't fare as well, suffering from middling delineation, minor print damage, and some intermittent softness. That's not to say there are any serious technical problems -- the film's grainfield is intact, there isn't a hint of noise reduction, I didn't spot any glaring edge enhancement, and eyesores like artifacting, aliasing, and banding aren't a factor -- but it's clear The NeverEnding Story didn't receive the sort of high-dollar overhaul it would take to eliminate the picture's inherent issues.

I'm sure there will be those who balk at the presentation's graininess, its errant nicks and specks, or the manner in which the high definition transfer showcases every seam of the film's aging special effects, but I can't help but focus on the studio's faithfulness to the source. Do I think it could look better? Perhaps, given any number of improbable scenarios (a Blade Runner-esque miracle springs to mind). Personally, I'm just relieved Warner didn't slather the Nothing with noise reduction, toss some artificial sharpening at Artax, and call it a day. Look at Atreyu's face when he speaks with Gmork, the Rock Biter's teary eyes when he describes how he lost his friends, the cracks and grooves in Morla's thick skin, the bristling fur on Falkor's scaly hide, the sandy surface of the Oracle statues, the mud-spattered overgrowth in the Swamps, the dust that flitters through the shafts of light in Bastian's hideaway, the frazzled crowds gathering round the steps of the Ivory Tower, Engywook's unruly beard, the tattered books in Mr. Koreander's shop, the paintings on the walls of an ancient ruin, the wrinkled, witchy face of the Nighthob... I could go on and on. I'm sure some NeverEnding newcomers will shrug their shoulders here and there, but cinephiles and nostalgic filmfans will hopefully appreciate the technical quality of the transfer as much as I did.

UPDATE: After speaking extensively with one of our readers about the differences between the Dutch Blu-ray release and the US edition, I decided to compare the two. The results were interesting to say the least. The main differences? Contrast leveling and image brightness. Warner's transfer is darker and more foreboding, with inky blacks that occasionally veil Petersen's backgrounds in heavy shadow. The Dutch transfer is much brighter, revealing more of the director's production design, albeit at the cost of slightly washed out hues. (An extremely helpful series of member-contributed screenshot comparisons are available in our forum's 'NeverEnding Story' thread.) Personally, I prefer the aesthetics of the US edition, but I can definitely see why some would gravitate to the Dutch version. For me, the richness, saturation, and oppressive atmosphere of the domestic transfer is more complementary to Petersen's tone and thematic pursuits. Warner's harrowing image makes Bastian and Atreyu's encounters more frightening, more dangerous and, most importantly, more unnerving. It's also worth noting that fine detailing is crisper, skintones are more natural, and foregrounds are cleaner in the US presentation (not to mention the fact that the import struggles with some artifacting, noise, and minor instabilities). Even so, the Dutch edition shouldn't be dismissed. The import boasts far more background detail in a number of scenes, namely an early meeting between the rock giant and his newfound friends, Atreyu's first arrival at the Ivory Tower, and several sequences involving Bastian and his school's attic.

Petersen inadvertently stirred up a small storm when he revealed Warner hadn't consulted him on the US Blu-ray release. But because he didn't elaborate on the intended look of the film, fans have been left to wonder whether he would favor the dark domestic transfer or the brighter Dutch presentation. While I doubt Petersen would want his production design blotted away by overzealous shadows, I also doubt he would want his tone sacrificed to see more tufts of grass. Though he doesn't address The NeverEnding Story directly, ever-insightful Motion Picture Archivist Robert Harris had this to say on the issue of image darkness and the accurate preservation of a filmmaker's actual intent. In it, he explains that just "because something is exposed to a film negative's emulsion does not mean that it is intended to be seen during projection or electronic viewing." Or, more simply, "the fact that information exists on a negative does not mean that the viewer is intended to see it." His full analysis is invaluable to this debate, and I would strongly encourage everyone to read it. Still, if Petersen expressed specific dissatisfaction with Warner's transfer and its contrast leveling, rather than their treatment of him as a filmmaker, this would suddenly become a very different review. Director's intent is paramount.

Ah well. Until Warner decides to release a newly mastered, director-approved definitive edition (don't hold your breath), or until Petersen reveals exactly how the film should look, consumers will have to rely on their own tastes and preferences. I know such an analysis isn't the chastisement some feel is deserved, but I hope it brings attention to the differences between the two editions and offers readers a more comprehensive analysis of both 'NeverEnding Story' releases.


The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.5 of 5

Presented for the first time on home video with a 5.1 surround track (at least domestically), The NeverEnding Story boasts a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that, while not the immersive sonic spectacle I was hoping for, still manages to impress. Dialogue is clean, crisp, and well-prioritized, regardless of whether it's shouted in the boggy mists of the Swamps of Sadness, whispered in the chilly air of the gnomes' Southern Oracle overlook, or barked in the dust-swept confines of a cave as Gmork prepares to strike. Likewise, LFE output is strong and hearty, lending welcome weight to the Rock Biter's transport and tenacity to the ravenous winds of the Nothing. The soundscape is overwhelmed on occasion -- crackling thunder, crumbling stone, and uprooting trees sometimes jumble together, resulting in some displeasing low-end distortion -- but the fault seems to lie with the original elements, not Warner's lossless efforts. Rear speaker activity is aggressive as well, allowing Klaus Doldinger and Giorgio Moroder's music to consistently envelop the listener, but many of the film's effects (ambient or otherwise) are merely culled from the front channels, resulting in a fairly artificial, somewhat shallow soundfield. Even so, Bastian's cries to the night sky have never sounded better, Atreyu's visits to the Ivory tower have never been so absorbing, and Falkor's roars have never been more satisfying. Though it suffers from a few issues, the overall experience is commendable, and one fans will be pleased to hear unfold.


The NeverEnding Story: Other Editions



The NeverEnding Story

1-disc


Blu-ray bundles with The NeverEnding Story (2 bundles)





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The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray, News and Updates



NeverEnding Story Director Wasn't Told about Blu-ray - March 12, 2010

When 1980s fan favorite The NeverEnding Story came out on Blu-ray last March 2, extras were conspicuously absent from the disc - not even a trailer. It turns out that Warner Home Video never contacted director Wolfgang Petersen to let him know about the upcoming ...

Today on Blu-ray - March 2nd - March 2, 2010

If Hollywood needs something blown up, Roland Emmerich is the man to do it; he has made a very successful career in destroying the world over and over again for the amusement of film fans. For his latest film 2012 - which is out on Blu-ray today Emmerich uses ...

Clash of the Titans, Neverending Story Announced on Blu-ray - November 30, 2009

Warner Home Video has announced two fantasy titles from the 1980s for release on Blu-ray on March 2, 2010: 'Clash of the Titans' and 'The Neverending Story'. 'Clash of the Titans' will be presented in a Digibook case, whereas 'The Neverending Story' will come in ...

» Show more related news posts for The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray


The NeverEnding Story Blu-ray, Forum Discussions



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