Question: Is it a fair and accurate observation of the movie to say that the plot and Fantasia itself is about Bastian coming to terms with the death of his mother? Also, is it fair to say that the Childlike Empress/ Moonchild in Fantasia is Bastian's mother in reality?
Answer: I think both of those are fair assumptions. If you pay attention to the plot inside fantasia the story is of atreyu paying through difficult times and becoming a man, something a young boy may have to do in order to put the death of his mother in the past. Also he names the empress his mother's name, showing he sees her as somewhat of a mother figure to him even though she is a child herself.
Question: When Engywook explains the Magic Mirror Gate to Falkor, he says that the mirror shows a person their true nature. Brave men are cowards. Kind men are cruel. When Atreyu looks into the Magic Mirror Gate, why does he see Bastion?
Answer: Atrayu, as the main character in this story, is the reader's avatar in Fantasia. Atrayu sees Bastion in the mirror because, so long as Bastion is reading the book, he and Atrayu are one and the same.
Question: After Atreyu passes the first gate, soon then after is a scene with Falcor and [forgotten the little man's name] is stabbing Falcor with what looks like a cross between a jackhammer and a giant hypodermic needle. What's that all about?
Answer: That's actually Urgl, Engywwok's wife. She is giving Falcor a vitamin injection while she is nursing him back from his exhaustion.
Question: What is the meaning of the rock paintings that Atreyu finds, that seem to sum up all his adventures? (This is right before the fight with that black wolf-creature.)
Answer: The meaning is basically all his adventures have been fortold and recorded, kind of like as if they were part of a book.
Question: Does anyone know the name Bastian screams out the window during the storm to name the Childlike Empress? It doesn't matter how many times I've seen the movie (too many to count), I can never make out that name.
Answer: According to the book, he names the Empress "Moon Child" and this is what he appears to be shouting, although I admit that it isn't likely that his mother was named Moonchild. Although it was a popular name during the Flower Power period.