The NeverEnding Story III

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The NeverEnding Story III:
Escape from Fantasia
Canadian video release poster
Directed by Peter MacDonald
Produced by Heinz Bibo
Dieter Geissler
Tim Hampton
Klaus Kaehler
Harry Nap
Harold Lee Tichenor
Screenplay by Jeff Lieberman
Story by Karin Howard
Based on Characters created 
by Michael Ende
Starring Jason James Richter
Melody Kay
Jack Black
Freddie Jones
Julie Cox
Tony Robinson
Music by Peter Wolf
Cinematography Robin Vidgeon
Edited by Michael Bradsell
Jim Roddan
CineVox Entertainment
Distributed by Miramax Films
(USA & Canada)
Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Release dates
  • October 27, 1994 (1994-10-27) (Germany)
  • February 2, 1996 (1996-02-02) (United States (limited))
Running time
95 minutes
Country Germany
United States
Language English
Budget $17 million

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).[1] It starred Jason James Richter as the principal character Bastian Bux, and Jack Black in one of his early roles as the school bully Slip. This film used the characters from Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story (1979), but introduced a new storyline.

The special creature effects were provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The movie has no connection to the source material of the book beyond the usage of characters from it.


In a prologue, the Old Man of Wandering Mountain (Freddie Jones) reads from a large book; begins to record a prophecy of a day when 'The Nasty' will arrive in Fantasia; and describes the savior of "Extraordinary Courage".

Bastian Balthazar Bux (Jason James Richter) has grown older, and his father Barney (Kevin McNulty) has married a woman 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 arranges them expelled with the help of the janitor (Mark Acheson) after they trap him in the boiler room, and 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, where he is reunited with Falkor (William Hootkins), Engywook, and Urgl (Tony Robinson and Moya Brady). On Earth, the Nasties find the Neverending Story and use it to bombard Fantasia with fireballs and a storm. With a walking tree named Bark Troll (William Hootkins), Bastian and his friends head for the Wandering Mountains to speak with the Childlike Empress (Julie Cox), who asks Bastian to find the Neverending Story with the AURYN. Falkor, Barky, the gnomes, and the Rock Biter's son, Junior, help him; but a "wish overload" scatters across Earth, where Barky ends up in a conifer forest; Falkor saves Junior from falling to his death near Mount Rushmore; and the gnomes arrive in Nome, Alaska. Bastian locates Falkor and Junior, and 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 Nasties provoke them to quarrel.

Nicole takes the 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 to him in a box. The reunited group go in search of Nicole; but the Nasties find the AURYN first, whereupon giant crustacean creatures appear in Fantasia to kill the Empress and her advisors. Everyone in the mall turns to evil, including Mr. Koreander and Bastian's parents. Bastian is struck by lightning, and begins to succumb to the wills of the Nasties; but Nicole saves him, and Bastian recovers the AURYN and the book in a fight. The Fantasians return to Fantasia, which is restored to its former magnificence; Bastian and Nicole manage to keep their parents from divorcing; and Junior is reunited with his parents. Nicole and Bastian return to school the next day and find that Bastian has changed Slip and the Nasties into friendly classmates, and Bastian returns the Neverending Story to Mr. Koreander.




The film received overwhelmingly negative reviews by critics. 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.'"[2]

Box office[edit]

In the United States, The NeverEnding Story III was released theatrically as a trial run in a few markets to test its potential nationwide. Its grosses weren't released to the public, but according to Box Office Mojo, it's possible it didn't reach the five-digit mark.[3]

By late December 1994, the film grossed $5 million in Germany.[2]


External links[edit]