The Neverending Story III (1994)

21 Apr

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Smith’s Verdict: 1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

From an abstract entity to the human form of lack of imagination, the world of Fantasia is constantly under siege in “The Neverending Story” and “The Neverending Story II.” While “The Neverending Story II” didn’t work, it did have an interesting danger for Fantasia (the latter of what I mentioned above), especially compared to the danger in “The Neverending Story III.” What threatens Fantasia this time? A group of high school bullies known as the “Nasties.” That’s one of many signs featuring lack of creativity and inspiration that come with the whole movie.

Before I get into all that, allow me to explain the plot. The young hero Bastian Balthazar Bux (yes, he says his full name in this movie) is back, but facing a few problems. He has a new stepmother, has moved to a new place, and has a brat for a stepsister named Nicole (Melody Kay). Coincidentally, the library at his new school stores the Neverending Story, which apparently tells Bastian’s (Jason James Richter, “Free Willy”) story as it still happens. He uses the book to escape the Nasties, who later find the book and figure out the peculiarity behind it. They use it to attempt to take over the world. So Bastian is sent back to the real world along with other characters from Fantasia in a mission to get the book back and save the world.

This doesn’t seem like the third chapter of “The Neverending Story.” It seems like a sequel to a remake of the original film. For starters, the character of Bastian’s father has changed. In the previous film, the father knew about Bastian’s adventure in Fantasia and here, Bastian and dad seem to have no recollection of that. Bastian is searching for his lost Fantasian friends and hiding one of the found ones in his kitchen, and yet he doesn’t tell his father about the problem, despite the father knowing about it all in the previous film. This would have been a very interesting story element—a father and son banding together to solve the problem. But none of that is found or even explored.

The characters from the original films are developed in a backward way here. Falkor the Luckdragon is no longer the loyal and dignified creature he was in the past two films—instead, he’s an idiot. That’s not all—the Rockbiter has turned into a sitcom character, along with his family. I mean, his family lives in a rock house with a rock kitchen and rock TV.

The only element that remains the same as any of the previous films is how dumb Bastian is. In the second film, he had the power to wish for anything and wished for practically nothing (I’m still angry about that spray can). Here, he uses the power again…for nothing. What an idiot kid.

The Nasties are led by a beefy, Khan-like twentysomething (he’d been left back in high school) named Slip. Why do I mention this character? Because the actor playing him—Jack Black—is the only entertaining element in the film. His character is written terribly, but it’s fun to watch Jack Black try to make something out of this stupid, unimaginative movie.

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