The Neverending Story 2: The Next Chapter – I’m a pretty big fan of the original Neverending Story movie, but for some reason I didn’t watch the sequel when it came out, even when my siblings rented the video. Maybe I didn’t think it would live up to the first one. If so, I was right. The thing is, a sequel made a certain amount of sense, both because of the open ending and because there was quite a bit more to Michael Ende’s book. I don’t actually remember so much about the part where Bastian was visiting Fantastica (Fantasia in the movies), but I know the main villain in that part was a witch named Xayide, who controlled hollow things and turned Bastian against Atreyu. His wishes made him lose his memories, and he eventually tried to take over as Emperor. The second film uses some elements of this, but kind of wusses out by making the memory loss being the result of a machine made by Xayide rather than a natural side effect, and her manipulation of Bastian still happening but not going anywhere near as far. There’s no City of Old Emperors to be seen in the movie.
Anyway, since the first film ended with Fantasia restored and Bastian riding the Luck Dragon, you’d think the second one would pick up there, wouldn’t you? I can say I did, at least. Well, it doesn’t, but instead returns to the real world, focusing on Bastian’s clumsiness and fear of heights. Why these bits are necessary, I couldn’t say. And since they decided to start it this way, it has Bastian once again take the book from Mr. Koreander’s shop without permission. When he finally gets to Fantasia, there’s a lot of Bastian being reunited with the characters from the first movie, none of whom look or sound quite right. We see the Silver City from the original book, but not for very long or in much detail. Really, I think the worst aspect of the sequel is that it never really seems to get off the ground, even when Falkor is involved. Not a lot really happens in this one. I did think that Bastian’s dad actually reading the book was a kind of interesting addition, but it still didn’t go much of anywhere. Overall, it was disappointing, because I think there was a lot of potential that was never realized.