The NeverEnding Story III
|The NeverEnding Story III:
Escape from Fantasia
Canadian video release poster
|Directed by||Peter MacDonald|
|Produced by||Heinz Bibo
Harold Lee Tichenor
|Screenplay by||Jeff Lieberman|
|Story by||Karin Howard|
|Based on||Characters created
by Michael Ende
|Starring||Jason James Richter
|Music by||Peter Wolf|
|Edited by||Michael Bradsell
|Distributed by||Miramax Films
(USA & Canada)
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
|Running time||95 minutes|
The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia (also known as: The NeverEnding Story III: Return to Fantasia) is a 1994 film and the second sequel to the fantasy film The NeverEnding Story (following the first sequel The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter). It starred Jason James Richter as the principal character Bastian Bux, and Jack Black in one of his early roles as the protagonist's tormentor, the school bully Slip. The special creature effects were provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The movie is considered apocryphal and has no connection to the source material of the book beyond the usage of characters from it.
The Mountain of Destiny looms before us as we overhear the Old Man of Wandering Mountain (Freddie Jones) reading from a large book. Using a writing stylus he begins to record a prophecy of a day when 'The Nasty' will arrive in Fantasia. He goes on to describe the savior of "Extraordinary Courage".
Bastian Balthazar Bux (Jason James Richter) has begun a new chapter in his life. His father Barney (Kevin McNulty) has re-married, and now Bastian has a new step mother named Jane (Tracey Ellis) whose daughter Nicole (Melody Kay) is displeased at having a new family. Bastian has also started high school, where he has become victim to the Nasties, a quintet of bullies led by Slip (Jack Black). He manages to get them expelled with the help of the janitor (Mark Acheson) after they trap him in the boiler room. He flees to the library where he is surprised to find Mr. Koreander (Freddie Jones) and The Neverending Story. The Nasties locate him, but he uses the book to escape to Fantasia.
Bastian arrives in Fantasia, where he is reunited with old friends Falkor (William Hootkins) and the gnomes Engywook and Urgl (Tony Robinson and Moya Brady). However, the Nasties find the Neverending Story and use their cruelty to bombard the land with fireballs and a storm. Meeting a walking tree troll named Bark Troll (William Hootkins), Bastian and the group of his friends head for the Wandering Mountains to speak with the Childlike Empress (Julie Cox). She asks Bastian to find the Neverending Story with AURYN. Falkor, Barky, the gnomes and the Rock Biter's son, Junior, help him; a "wish overload" causes the group to scatter across Earth. Barky ends up in a conifer forest somewhere; Falkor saves Junior from falling to his death near Mount Rushmore; and the gnomes end up in Nome, Alaska. Bastian locates Falkor and Junior. Falkor flies off to find the others while Junior stays at Bastian's house. Rock Biter sadly informs his wife that Junior is gone and the effects of the Nasties cause them to fall out.
Nicole takes AURYN from Bastian's room, discovers its wishing abilities, and takes it for a shopping trip to the local mall. Bark Troll arrives at Bastian's house disguised as a garden plant, while the Gnomes are mailed in a box. The reunited group go to the mall to find Nicole so they can get AURYN back. The Nasties find it first, whereupon giant crustacean creatures appear in Fantasia to kill the Empress and her advisors. Everyone in the mall begins to turn to evil, including Mr. Koreander and Bastian's parents. Nicole runs away and reveals to Bastian outside that her father was abusive and eventually divorced Jane. Bastian is struck by lightning, and begins to succumb to the cruel effects of the Nasties, but Nicole saves him. The two rush back to the mall where all the Fantasians are being held captive by the Nasties. Bastian manages to retrieve both AURYN and the book and defeats the Nasties with a range of fighting moves he wished for.
The Fantasians are sent back to Fantasia, which is restored to its former magnificence. Bastian and Nicole manage to keep their parents from divorcing, while Junior is reunited with his parents. Nicole and Bastian return to school the next day and find that Bastian turned Slip and the Nasties into friendly school students. Bastian returns the Neverending Story to Mr. Koreander, who tells him that the story is not over yet.
- Jason James Richter as Bastian Balthazar Bux
- Melody Kay as Nicole Baxter, Bastian's stepsister.
- Jack Black as Slip ("The Nasty"), the leader of the Nasties
- Freddie Jones as Koreander, a former local librarian
- Julie Cox as The Childlike Empress
- Moya Brady as Urgl
- Tony Robinson as Engywook
- Tracey Ellis as Jane Bux, Bastian's stepmother
- Kevin McNulty as Barney Bux, Bastian's father
- Frederick Warder as Rock Biter
- William Todd-Jones as Mrs. Rock Biter
- Dave Forman as Rock Biter Jr.
- Gordon Robertson as Falkor
- Kaefan Shaw as Bark Troll
- William Hootkins as Bark Troll, Falkor
- Mac McDonald as Mrs. Rock Biter
- Gary Martin as Rock Biter, Rock Biter Jr.
The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews by critics and is considered one of the worst sequels in cinema history. Critics and viewers have criticized the poorly-written story, the absence of Atreyu, the dumbing-down of beloved characters Falkor and the Rock Biter, and the large number of continuity errors. Variety stated: "The NeverEnding Story lives up to its title in the worst way possible with this third outing, a charmless, desperate reworking of the franchise that might just as well be subtitled Bastian Goes to High School."
The film was a box office flop and earned $1,331,408 worldwide.
- The NeverEnding Story III at the Internet Movie Database
- The NeverEnding Story III at AllMovie
- The NeverEnding Story III at Rotten Tomatoes