Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Mark Rendall, John Dunn-Hill, Noël Burton, Tyler Hynes, Victoria Sanchez
Director: Adam Weissman & Giles Walker
Series: part of The Neverending Story series
Release Date: 6 October 2001
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 2/5 stars
“This sequel finds heroes Bastian Balthazar Bux (Mark Rendall), aptly named because he loves books so much, and Atreyu (Tyler Hynes) still locked in a battle to save the mystical and fantastical land of Fantasia. It takes a lot of imagination and bravery to fight their foe, an evil figure known as The Nothing, who’s bent on destroying everything that makes Fantasia wonderful.” — Netflix.com
This movie is loosely attached to the original The Neverending Story movies. It is actually a compilation of clips from a Canadian TV series based on The Neverending Story book. I love the original book and movie and thought the 2 movie sequels (The Next Chapter & Escape From Fantasia) were decent, but this movie just wasn’t that good for me. If I had known what it was ahead of time, I would not have selected to rent this, but, as I did not know what it was ahead of time, I was excited to see something new in the series. I was disappointed.
This movie is definitely made for children and it is very obvious that there was not a big budget involved in producing it. The acting was pretty terrible from the children, especially the evil Empress (Victoria Sanchez), who was laughable she was so bad. Some of the adult actors were pretty funny, though. I particularly enjoyed those who ran the hero school and tried to teach Atreyu (Tyler Hynes) how to get past the Oracle. They were hilarious! The outfits are really weird, but are very colorful and attention-catching. There is a strong female lead, named Fly Girl (Stéfanie Buxton), who is one of the few in the land brave enough to fly her airplane and she partners up with Atreyu to try and save the Childlike Empress (Audrey Gardiner). Atreyu was just okay in his role and I think that he looked more like a white boy painted over with a bit of a tan to make him look more Native American, but that is just my opinion.
The storyline was what really dragged this movie down for me. I found it to be very confusing and it did not really make sense. The original Neverending Story plot was in there, but it was so muddled and garbled with all of the other story lines that even that bit of the plot didn’t make sense. I think that someone tried to take several episodes from the TV series and cut them down and link them together into a movie-length feature. I think that this feature could have been greatly strengthened by putting 2 – 4 of the original episodes on the DVD and letting us enjoy them in their entirety rather than trying to make them linked together without any separation. Unfortunately, I did not see that it was an option to rent the DVD of the series, which is too bad. It looks like you can purchase the TV series, but I would advise skipping this compilation DVD and concentrating on the original movie as it is far superior.
This movie contains some mild fantasy violence, but it is mostly the threat of evil things to come and you don’t really see anything. The movie is pretty clean and is quite obviously geared towards children so it is completely appropriate for them to watch it. Recommended for children ages 5 and up.