|THE NEVERENDING STORY III
|Copyright 1994 Warner Bros.
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 25 August 2002
- Bastian - Jason James Richter! Despite numerous excursions into a world of pure fantasy and developing many friends there, he still cannot interact with real people. The lad behaves like he might have a crush on his stepsister.
- Nicole - She is part of the "in crowd," which means her leisure time is spent staring vacantly at MTV programming.
- Barney & Jane - The newly remarried parents. She is a waffling stepmother while Barney's home defense plan needs a shotgun added, because trying to tackle an intruder is going to get him killed.
- Mr. Koreander - Freddie Jones! He donated his book store to the public school system, himself included.
- Falkor - The poor luck dragon has become inexplicably stupid, just like Brak.
- Barky - Walking tree who acts as if he were a lounge comic.
- Engywook and Urgl - Now the two gnomes are Scottish (or Irish). They also have permanently distended bladders.
- Junior - A baby rock biter. He provides truly hideous comic relief to the already suffering film.
- The Child-Like Empress - Well into her late teens and bossy too.
- The Nasties - Lead by Jack Black! They are an unfriendly gang of hooligans with names like Slip, Dog, and Coil.
|"The NeverEnding Story," "The Iron Giant," and "The Dark Crystal" are three of my favorite "kid" movies. While made to please a younger audience, all three works are intelligent and creative; an adult can enjoy them. Leaving the first NeverEnding Story to stand on its own would have been faintly poetic. That this needless sequel would sully the original's legacy (already smeared with mud from "The NeverEnding Story II"), is why I dislike it so. Hold that; the film is bad enough to merit loathing regardless.
The plot opens in a frosty chamber where the Historian of Fantasia, an old mentat, watches over an enchanted stylus. The writing instrument magically records the events of the imaginative realm, meaning that the chronicler's workload is on par with that of a Maytag repairman. The stylus begins to act erratically, leaving the Historian to gap impotently at its actions. Before I can worry about getting the washing machine fixed, we cut to Bastian fleeing from the Nasties. He ducks into the library and finds Mr. Koreander stocking books onto the shelves. Just in case you were disoriented, the movie now jumps into a flashback.
Bastian is still having a hard time coping with life. His father, a widower and single parent, finally found Jane, a widow and also a single parent, and the two fell in love. The marriage meant that Bastian had to move to a new school where they do not have an attic. It also earned him a truly abominable stepsister. Nicole appears to be making a dedicated effort of screwing with her new stepbrother's psyche. She constantly tells him how uncool he is and laments that her mother had to give up the sewing room (Bastian's new bedroom). The latter problem is confusing. The house is large, easily spacious enough that Jane can adopt four more brats and still have a sewing room.
The flashback seamlessly transitions into the present. Bastian is trapped in the library and uses the NeverEnding Story to flee his pursuers. He lands smack in the middle of Engywook's house. Meanwhile, Slip discovers the book and begins manipulating the story to include nastiness. Pyrotechnics rock the forest where Bastian, Barky, and the gnomes are gathered. Then Falkor crashes to earth after a microburst sends him out of control. The only chance is to load all assembled onto the dragon and make for the Mystic Mountains, there to find the Child-Like Empress; they do so without delay.
To recap the movie so far: Bastian's father remarried, Bastian now has a rotten stepsister, a group of miscreants have the book, and bad things are happening in Fantasia. I had not realized prior to this that reading the magical book gives you the power to change the story. How is that?
Nobody needs reminding that Fantasia is the realm of human fantasy; it is made of people's hopes and dreams. Anyone would be daft to claim that everyone's dreams are good. As a result, there have been evil influences before. Charles Manson, H.R. Giger, H.P. Lovecraft - all these people have been host to twisted nightmares. Say that one person imagines a baneful dragon or Jack the Ripper. Ten others contribute valiant knights, magical swords, wise wizards, heroic police officers, and Sherlock Holmes. Good wins from sheer inertia; there are more fair dreams than foul, because most people are good at heart or not prone to hellish thoughts.
I could go on for a while, but we both know that you did not come here for philosophy.
Also in Fantasia is the Rock Biter family. Mr. Rock Biter wears a stone wife-beater, Mrs. Rock Biter has curlers in her metamorphic hair, and Junior wears a limestone diaper. A running gag of disturbing portent was made a part of the Rock Biter scenes. Let me say it this way: Mrs. Rock Biter asks her husband to get something for dinner (via his tricycle) from the Mountains of Destiny. He loads up, with Junior in the child seat, and starts pedaling. Junior sees a mangy rabbit creature in their path and yells, "Dada! Bunny!" They run it over! In fact, the Rock Biter family either kills a number of rabbits, or else maims the same individual over and over. I think this is supposed to be funny. It is frightening and obscene.
The Empress sends Bastian back to our world with the Auryn. He can stop the Nasties with its power. Falkor, Barky, Junior, and the gnomes are transported with the boy by accident, but scattered across the globe. Yes, the Luck Dragon tries to talk to a plane, the bark troll finds himself near a logging operation, and the gnomes are lost in Alaska. The last plot point offers a glaring case of product placement. If FedEx did not pay the producers, I am a monkey's uncle.
Falkor begins collecting the scattered Fantasians, though he only finds one (Junior, trying to eat Mount Rushmore). The others engineer their own transport to Bastian's house. Meanwhile, Nicole steals the Auryn so that she can use the wishes to go shopping. The Nasties know of the Auryn and its power, because they read about it in the book. The Nasties taking possession of the Auryn and using it to further screw with Bastian's life, in the real world, can be seen from a mile away. Slip even sends killer crawfish monsters to menace the Empress, thus revealing that he first saw "The Dark Crystal" while in New Orleans.
Uh, wait... ...when did a piece of imaginary jewelry gain power over reality? Argh! I give up. This movie is giving me a headache.
The dramatic confrontation between Bastian and the Nasties was so embarrassing that I covered my eyes. Bad enough the scriptwriters making Falkor say, "This is not my favorite part of the story." (a running gag) one more time. Nicole starts reading from the book, attributing Bastian with extraordinary skills in the martial arts. She mentions Van Damme! What self-respecting movie, that does not have Van Damme in it, mentions his name?
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Styling gel should be used with restraint.
- The Labyrinth is merely a suburb of Fantasia. (So who dreamed up David Bowie?)
- Confucius say: "Man with big head need thick skin."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger is more famous for great strength than Hercules or Atlas.
- A real dragon can pass unnoticed down a city street, so long as the Chinese residents are celebrating.
- Walking statues do not scratch wood floors.
- An electrical transformer shorting out fifty yards away will knock you over.
- 9 mins - Billy Jack flashback!
- 14 mins - Why would you tell them your middle name?
- 27 mins - They just flew into the Nothing...
- 37 mins - I agree with Bastian; this does not make sense.
- 43 mins - Dad knows about Fantasia you idiot. Wait, that was your second dad.
- 59 mins - Punch him in the groin.
- 61 mins - This teacher is out of her mind; punch her in the groin.
- 71 mins - We could not figure out how to work a fruit cart into the scene, so here is our best substitute.
- 77 mins - Thank goodness the title is a lie.
- Nicole: "My mom and your dad think you have gone bonkers. They're talking about having you committed to a mental institution. Oh well, at least my mom will get her sewing room back."
Bastian: "Oh, very funny."
- Empress: "Stop! We must not give in to the Nasty. Let the gnome speak."
Urgl: "This better be good."
Engywook: "Bastian's heart is strong, but he's not exactly Arnold Schwarzenegger in the muscle department, is he?"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Koreander: "Every move you make is part of your story. Remember that the next time you pick your nose."
||Bastian: "Falkor, land!" |
Falkor: "Land? I can't land down there. I need a runway!"
Bastian: "Come on, you can land anyway. You're a luck dragon!"
Barky: "A luck dragon huh? If I was a luck dragon I'd be halfway to Vegas by now."
Engywook: "It's not a dragon; it's an overgrown pink poodle!"
||Dog: "Yo, chief, what about the luck dragon?" |
Falkor: "Uh-oh, this is not my favorite part of the story."
Slip: "Looks like he's out of luck."
||Nicole: "All at once, it was as if Bastian was transformed into a deadly combination of Bruce Lee, Steven Seagal, and Jean-Claude Van Damme."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Mr. Rock Biter is singing while taking Junior to the mountains and he runs over the poor rabbit. The creature is obviously a product of Jim Henson's company, because of its hoary appearance. The animal dies horribly, putrid guts squirted throughout its body cavity. |
Nothing like a "G" movie to traumatize the kids.
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