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The NeverEnding Story III: Escape From Fantasia (1994)



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And I thought the second entry in the series was bad. The Neverending Story III: Escape From Fantasia is awful. For starters, it's inconsistent not only with the first two films but also itself. First a magic talisman is no good at manipulating things in the human world, then the next thing you know, it's being used to manipulate things in the human world. That's the most obvious internal inconsistency, but the movie's riddled with them; it can't seem to decide what the rules of magic are and instead changes them at will to fit the plot. As far as consistency with the other films in the series goes, what used to be mountain-sized is now man-sized. And if a rock and roll musical number isn't a plot inconsistency, it certainly violates the spirit of the series.

The characters are abrasive and irritating. The acting is deplorable. Few if any of the character scenes are convincing -- a father son moment in particular had a laughably false ring to it. ("Everything sucks," Bastian tells his father, who smiles congenially and walks out.) The villains, a gang of high school thugs, are even worse actors than the villainess in the previous film, and their dialogue will cause actual physical pain. The conclusion is prolonged, meandering, and gratuitously sappy. There's little worse than a sappy ending in which the sentiment isn't shared by the audience.

The first film was a magical fairy tale that even adults could enjoy. The sequels, especially this one, are for kids only -- particularly bad kids that need to be punished.

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