Monday, July 15, 2013

Great Moments in... Sad Scenes (Kid Edition)

It's not a perfect film by any stretch, but lots of kids really enjoyed 1984's The Neverending Story. It's an inventive and original kids' story, told in an inventive way that intuitively appeals to children. The storytelling convention in which we watch a boy read a book during a storm works nicely with the cuts to the action of the story as it progresses. I suppose all the puppet-work really helps.

And, hey, what kid doesn't like animals? It seems like so much of childhood education involves learning the names and characteristics of penguins, dinosaurs, bears, insects... Children feel a sense of curiosity at their fellow-creatures, like dogs, cats, and horses. I hope every child on this planet knows that horsies are, indeed, pretty.

So when the protagonist of the novel, Atreyu, enters the Swamp of Sadness, kids tend to get pretty torn up when the young teen's horse just gives up and sinks into the mud. It's heart-wrenching.

Thanks a lot, director Wolfgang Petersen! I'm gonna go eat some ice cream now...

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