THE NEVERENDING STORY II: THE NEXT CHAPTER
Unfortunately, creature effects are all that is worthwhile about The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter. While a technical triumph, the film is nothing but the empty surface glitter that lacks any sincerity, feeling or even the same metaphor as the original film. The first film was hardly great but it was a masterpiece compared to this. The first film adapted only half of the Michael Ende book rather than return to the second half of the story, which would have dealt with Bastians journey through to adulthood, The Neverending Story II creates a new original story. However, the new story completely discards the metaphor of the original. The clever sense of meta-fiction, the interaction between the reader and the book being read, is lost this time Bastian is simply able to cross over and directly enter into the world of the story. Rather than playing with any meta-fictional ideas, the book has become no more than a magical portal offering the way to a routine adventure in a secondary fantasy world.
Clarissa Burts campy eye-battings as the witch are awful. However, the single worst thing about the film is Jonathan Brandis, later to become a regular as the teen genius and heartthrob of tvs seaQuest DSV (1993-6). Brandis is precocious both in the characters writing and his playing. He almost has a nervous breakdown about not being allowed on the school swim-team because he wimps out from a high board dive what does he expect? but at the same time can push his best friend over a cliff to his death, only to yell after him You brought it on yourself. There is something annoyingly shrill about the brashness of his performance.
There was a further sequel, the even worse The Neverending Story III (1994). This was followed by an animated tv series The Neverending Story (1996) and a live-action tv series Tales from the Neverending Story (2001). A remake of the original has been announced during the 2010s.
It should be noted that director George Miller is not the same director George Miller who made the Mad Max films. (To add to the confusion, both George Millers come from Australia). This George Miller is most well known for The Man from Snowy River (1981), Les Patterson Saves the World (1987) and other minor genre entires such as the tv mini-series Journey to the Center of the Earth (1999) and Attack of the Sabretooth (2005).