The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia (also known as: The NeverEnding Story III: Return to Fantasia) is a 1994 film, the second sequel to the fantasy film The NeverEnding Story (following the first sequel, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter). It starred Jason James Richter as Bastian Bux, and Jack Black in one of his early roles as the school bully, Slip.
This film primarily used the characters from Michael Ende's novel The Neverending Story (1979), but introduced a new storyline. The special creature effects were provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The film also has no connection to the source material of the book beyond the usage of characters from it.
In a prologue, the Old Man of Wandering Mountain (Freddie Jones) reads from a large book, begins to record a prophecy of a day when "The Nasty" will arrive in Fantasia, and describes the savior of "Extraordinary Courage".
Bastian Balthazar Bux (Jason James Richter) has grown older, and his father Barney (Kevin McNulty) has married a woman named Jane (Tracey Ellis), whose daughter Nicole (Melody Kay) is displeased at having a new family. Bastian has also started high school, where he has become a victim of the Nasties, a quintet of bullies led by Slip (Jack Black). Bastian arranges for them to be expelled with the help of the janitor (Mark Acheson) after the Nasties trap him in the boiler room.
He later flees to the library, where he is surprised to find Mr. Koreander (Freddie Jones) and the Neverending Story. The Nasties locate him, but he uses the book to escape to Fantasia, where he is reunited with Falkor (William Hootkins), Engywook (Tony Robinson), and Urgl (Moya Brady). On Earth, the Nasties find the Neverending Story and use it to bombard Fantasia with fireballs and a storm. With a walking tree named Bark Troll (William Hootkins), Bastian and his friends head for the Wandering Mountains to speak with the Childlike Empress (Julie Cox), who asks Bastian to find the Neverending Story using the AURYN. Falkor, Barky, the gnomes, and Rock Biter's son, Junior, help him, but a "wish overload" scatters across Earth, where Barky ends up in a conifer forest, Falkor saves Junior from falling to his death near Mount Rushmore, and the gnomes arrive in Nome, Alaska. Bastian locates Falkor and Junior, and Falkor flies off to find the others while Junior stays at Bastian's house. Rock Biter sadly informs his wife that Junior is gone, and the Nasties provoke them to quarrel.
Nicole takes the AURYN from Bastian's room, discovers its wishing abilities, and takes it on a shopping trip to the local mall. Bark Troll arrives at Bastian's house disguised as a garden plant, while the Gnomes are mailed to him in a box. The reunited group go in search of Nicole; but the Nasties find the AURYN first, whereupon giant crustacean creatures appear in Fantasia to kill the Empress and her advisors. Everyone in the mall turns evil, including Mr. Koreander and Bastian's parents. Bastian is struck by lightning, and begins to succumb to the wills of the Nasties, but Nicole saves him, and Bastian recovers the AURYN and the book in a fight. The Fantasians return to Fantasia, which is restored to its former magnificence. Bastian and Nicole manage to keep their parents from divorcing, and Junior is reunited with his parents. Nicole and Bastian return to school the next day and find that Bastian has changed Slip and the Nasties into friendly classmates, and Bastian returns the Neverending Story to Mr. Koreander.
- Jason James Richter as Bastian Balthazar Bux
- Melody Kay as Nicole Baxter, Bastian's stepsister
- Jack Black as Slip ("The Nasty"), the leader of the Nasties
- Freddie Jones as Koreander, a former local librarian; Old Man of Wandering Mountain
- Julie Cox as The Childlike Empress
- Moya Brady as Urgl
- Tony Robinson as Engywook
- Tracey Ellis as Jane Bux, Bastian's stepmother
- Kevin McNulty as Barney Bux, Bastian's father
- Frederick Warder as Rock Biter
- William Todd-Jones as Mrs. Rock Biter
- Dave Forman as Rock Biter Jr.
- Gordon Robertson as Falkor
- Kaefan Shaw as Bark Troll
- Mark Acheson as the Janitor
- Wikipedia, The NeverEnding Story III