Thursday, November 16, 2006

Portrait of a Badass: The Sphinxes

Character: The Sphinxes
Actor: N/A
Film: The Neverending Story (1984)
Badass Moment: The Sphinxes deny a "fancy" knight passage to the Southern Oracle by cooking him alive with their eye lasers. EYE LASERS.

My brother suggested that I honor "those statues that kill you if you're scared" from The Neverending Story with a spot in my hall of badass fame. Not a bad idea, I thought. But do I classify the Sphinxes, AKA the First of the Two Gates You Must Pass Through Before You Reach the Southern Oracle, as male or female? It was indeed a conundrum, for what are these Sphinxes but sentient statues with EYE LASERS. But, recalling that each Sphinx is also equipped with breasts that would coax jealousy from most of the statues in a Thai restaurant, I decided to go with female.

The Neverending Story, which clocks in at a neverending 94 minutes in length, is the story of Atreyu (Bastien), a warrior (wimp) who hunts the purple buffalo (draws unicorns) and struggles to defeat the ultimate destructive power of The Nothing (skips an entire day of school and hides in the attic overnight). While on his quest he travels across the Swamp of Sadness (gets thrown in a Dumpster), talks to a diminutive scientist (talks to his sandwich) and is stalked by a scary wolf thing (is scared of his humorless, mustachioed father).

In the scene featuring our badasses, Atreyu is challenged to walk between the two giant Sphinxes on his way to the Southern Oracle. The Sphinxes are meant to destroy him if he doubts his worth, which Atreyu obviously does (as evidenced by several shots of him looking doubtful). The lesson to be gained from this scene is unclear, as it clearly demonstrates that, even without the level of self-confidence required to pass through the gate, Atreyu manages to squeak by with some fancy footwork. So remember, kids: Even if your self-esteem is a ghastly wreck, sometimes you get lucky!

The hero Atreyu is arguably the badder badass of this story, and a more obvious candidate for my badass hall of fame. This youngster gets dragged through mud, dropped into the ocean, sneezed on by a giant reptile and hit with debris of all types. As badass as Atreyu himself is, however, he didn't have EYE LASERS. Tough luck, kid.

Sphinxes, you are statuesque badasses. We salute you.

FUN FACT! My sister and I used to have a hard time remembering the name of Atreyu's horse Artax. Without seeing the name in print, it could easily be misheard as Ortex, Ortez, Cortez, Cortex, Vortex or Hortense.

3 comments:

Rick said...

I wish there was a way that we could take all of the badass characters you have chronicled over the years and have them fight each other in a ring. Not all at once mind you, but some kind of one-on-one single elimination type of thing. There would be no rules because everyone knows that a badass never follows the rules.

Rules are for wimps.

I think though that any type of contest such as this would be won by these stone statue sphinx things. Anytime you can shoot lasers out of any part of your body, you are going to win any fight. Plus, they are made of stone. Have you ever punched or kicked stone? It hurts.

Jesse Jace said...

I've never punched stone, but I did bite down on a screwdriver once. Trust me, if you like your teeth, you don't wanna do that.

LindseyKai said...

MOESHA!!!