The NeverEnding Story III
The NeverEnding Story III: Return to Fantasia (also known as: The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia, and The NeverEnding Story III: The Final Chapter) is a 1994 German-American film and the second sequel to the fantasy film The NeverEnding Story. And is the third and (so far) final installment of The Never Ending Story series.(following the first sequel The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter) It was released in October 27, 1994 in Germany and later to the United States in early 1996. 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.
Ever since this film had been released, it has received negative reviews by critics and fans alike, and is often considered as one the worst sequels of all time.
Bastian's dream to get a sibling becomes true when his father re-marries, but soon he has trouble with his new stepsister Nicole and with a gang of school bullies, the Nasties. Hiding in the school library, Bastian finds his favorite book of THE NEVERENDING STORY, where it is later found by Slip, the gang leader. The latter recognizes the power of the book and begins to form Fantasia after his bad intentions. When the chaos becomes worse the Child-like Empress requests Bastian to move back to the real world, get the book back and save Fantasia. Accidentally some Fantasia characters travel with him to reality, but get lost in different places. Meanwhile Slip and the other Nasties spread anarchy. Finally, Bastian gets support from Nicole, who begins to believe in the power of Fantasia.
Why This Adventure Should End
- Like the second film, the actors are completely different.
- While this is supposed to be a sequel to The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, the movie has no connection to the past two films and feels more like a reboot to the series.
- This film has a much more comical light hearted tone, which compared to other film is a bit out of place as while the first two films were also light hearted with some humor here and there, they had a good sense of drama and dark moments as well.
- The Nasties (with the exception of Slip) are much weaker villains and are generic high school bullies/delinquents that are just replacements of Bastion's original bullies from the first film compared to The Nothing from the first film and especially Mistress Xayide from the second film.
- Awful acting from everyone, except from the presence Jack Black as Slip, the leader of the Nasties, who is a rip off of Biff Tannen from Back To The Future that served no purpose to the greater narrative to the story.
- There’s TV in the world of Fantasia (it was shown that The Rock Biter has TV at his home) for unexplained reasons, despite the fact that TV is (for the most part) the number one thing that keeps children from reading.
- In the second film, Bastian's dad thinks that the book is magical. But in this film, it's never mentioned.
- It has a very poor plot.
- The Childlike Empress looks nothing like a child. In fact, the actress who played her was 21 by the time the film came out.
- Laughable dialogue from most of the characters, one notable example is the scene were Falcor and the Rock Biter Baby enters a pride with paper dragons, Falcor says the most irritable line "They may not be from Fantasia, but there are some cute dragons here!".
- The scene were Bastian tries to hide the Rock Biter Baby from his mother and father is a rip-off of E.T.
- There‘s this humanoid tree person that doesn't do anything other then be a filler and a running gag.
- The personality of the characters from Fantasia were insultingly changed from the first two films. Falcor has changed from an optimistic, brave, and wise dragon into a cowardly (but still smart) dragon. The Rock Biter has changed from a calm, caring and lade-back rock monster into a generic house husband who has a family, who are also like from a bad sitcom, and the worst part is: he can sing. And The Childlike Empress has changed from a wise, calm, kind and caring ruler of the land into your generic princess-type character that some what acts like a complete jerk to her friends.
- And speaking of the Rock Biter’s family there are all annoying with really bad voice actors. The Rock Biter’s wife has a lower pitch voice of the original Rock Biter, and the baby has higher but still lower pitch voice of the original Rock Biter. While they all sound like the same actor doing all three parts, its actually two actors with one actor doing the Rock Biter and the baby, and the other actor is doing the wife. Why couldn't they have cast a female actress to do the voice of Rock Biter's wife?
- Forgettable music. The movie doesn't even use the original NeverEnding Story theme at the ending credits like the first two films, instead, it's The Rock Biter’s song (a cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild").
- Some of the scenes don't make sense, like when Bastian can't wish to defeat The Nasty that the Childlike Empress disagreed on him and then Nicole suddenly CAN use wishes (the Nostalgia Critic even said that The Nasties, who are the main villains of the film, act more like heroes than Bastian).
- Bad effects and poorly made animations (Both Falkor and The Rock Biter look nothing like they were in the first two films), despite being done by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, who normally make good designs and animatronics.
- Falkor is the worst, as he looks more like a dog than a dragon.
- Bastian is a complete bonehead. He was going to school, but leaves Junior and the Auryn at home, which prompts Nicole to use it.
- Atreyu, one of the main characters from the first two films is not in this movie at all, nor does he even get mentioned by anyone. Though, considering how the Rock Biter and Falkor were butchered in this movie, this was probably for the better.
- The movie was so bad that it completely killed the franchise, as so far there have been no attempts at a fourth film or a reboot (at least not yet confirmed to date).
- When Bastian uses the book to transport to Fantasia, the camera quickly and constantly zooms in and out and has strobe lights. These result in horrible effects.
- Lazy writing, conveniently the school librarian is Mr. Coreander, the librarian from the first 2 films and the NeverEnding Story is conveniently in the library.
- There are multiple different titles for this: The NeverEnding Story III: Escape From Fantasia, The NeverEnding Story III: Return to Fantasia, and The NeverEnding Story III: The Final Chapter. None of these titles make sense:
- “Escape from Fantasia” isn’t accurate because Bastian takes a long time getting to Fantasia.
- “Return to Fantasia” doesn’t make sense because barely any time is spent in Fantasia, most of the time is spent at the school.
- “The Final Chapter” isn’t accurate because this isn’t yet confirmed to be the last film in the series.
- The climax where everyone becomes mean is laughably bad and the execution is worse.
- Mean-spirited running gag involving a rabbit getting beaten up and abused.
- The film makers don't seem to know much about how geography works. In the scene were the gnomes land in Alaska and deliver themselves to Bastian, arriving by Federal Express truck. However, Bastian does not live in Alaska and a truck-delivery company such as FedEx cannot cross the ocean as it would to have done here (in a few hours).
- Falcor arrives at a Chinese New Year festival, but the next day is Halloween. Chinese New Year is celebrated in January or February, so did Falcor time travel 8-9 months into the future or something?
- Slip is highly entertaining, which is helped by the fact that he's played by Jack Black.
- There are some ok funny moments here and there, such as the scene were the Rock Biter's Wife faints in a kind of funny way after hearing from the Rock Biter that Jr. went to the human world.
- The 1995 animated series by Nelvana can be seen as an improvement by some people(though others such as Rob the Wonderful consider it to be as bad as the movie, if not even worse).