Where The Wild Things Are and The Neverending Story: Are They the Same Thing?


This morning We Love You So, the behind-the-scenes blog for Where the Wild Things Are , posted the absolutely devastating scene from The Neverending Story in which the beloved horse Artax is swallowed by the swamp of sadness. A moment not lost on children of the ’80s, the scene marks a tumultuous period in which we as children must a) learn to mourn the loss of a friend b) move on c) begin placing ourselves in fictional worlds for the sole purpose of chilling with mythical horses, flying on big ass dogs with wings, and saving The Childlike Empress from a fate worse than a stay at the Ronald McDonald house in a country without proper public health care.

Eerily, both tales occupy an incredibly similar realm in which real life drama segues into fantastical adventures with mythical beasts. Which begs the question: Are Where the Wild Things Are and The Neverending Story one in the same?

The cover of each book certainly suggests that the two worlds are aligned: large furry monsters, psycho-tropic landscapes and an overall enchanting vibe. Hell, even the authors — Maurice Sendak and Michael Ende — look the same.

In both stories, the protagonist escapes into the magical dream world after a domestic squabble with parents. The Where The Wild Things Are trailer provides a good sense of this, as watching your mom make out with some dude definitely spurs one’s entrance into fantasy land. As does your dad being a total dick, ala The Neverending Story.

Sendak’s Wild Things “roared their terrible roars” and “rolled their yellow eyes,” and then there’s The Neverending Story‘s G’mork, “the servant of the Power behind the Nothing.” Is one of these creatures definitely scarier than the other? Yes. Could they be long lost brothers? Just look at those teeth.

There is almost thirty years between them, but it looks like Max and Bastian go to the same barber. Coincidence? We think not.

These shots look nothing alike. Oh wait, yes they do. KW and Falcor are both sweet, hairy rides.

The similarities are striking, especially given the context and demographic; kids and big kids raised on Jim Henson and mystical fantasy worlds in a post-Ken Kesey world. While it’s obvious that Spike Jonze’s Sendak-approved adaptation of Where The Wild Things Are is going to be visually stunning, the vote is still out on The Neverending Story. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way is in very early pre-production on a remake of the 1980 classic, which was recently picked up by Warner Bros. Here’s hoping that they’ll take Spike’s author-approved approach as a lesson and not produce a movie which involves the kid from Free Willy and a young Jack Black escaping from Fantasia.

While you’re waiting for Where The Wild Things Are to hit theaters, check out the Karen O penned “All Is Love” from the film’s soundtrack, which is good, but for our money, doesn’t hold a candle to The Never Ending Story’s opus magnum by Limahl.