Netflix’s ‘Slumberland’ is a children’s fantasy film that focuses on a little girl named Nemo, who loses her father. She then moves in with her dull uncle and travels to the titular world of dreams at night. The film is an adaptation of the comic strip, ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland’, by Winsor McCay.
Little Nemo and her father Peter live in a lighthouse where the latter is a caretaker. In a dire turn of events, Peter perishes at sea during a storm and Nemo is forced to move in with her estranged uncle Philip.
Shifting to his apartment in the city, Nemo realises that her uncle is quite a melancholic and dull man, who owns a company that sells doorknobs.
Still coping with her dad’s passing, Nemo tries to sleep and passes over into the magical dream world of Slumberland. There, she meets an outlaw named Flip, who is revealed to be her late father’s friend.
Flip urges Nemo to join him in finding magical pearls that can grant any wish to the user. She agrees and hops in on the adventure in hopes of wishing to see her dad again.
Jason Momoa plays Flip and is mostly himself in the entire film. His character is chilled out, relaxed, loud and fun, but does little to connect with the audience. It is still fun to watch him do his thing because he is just so good at it.
Marlow Barkley as Nemo is impressive to say the least. The young actor is the focal point of this narrative, and tries to carry it to the best of her abilities. She succeeds to emote Nemo’s desperation and internal struggles as she tries to see her father again.
Chris O’Dowd as Philip is also a quite forgetful. His melancholic doorknob salesman character doesn’t end up becoming the mildly antagonizing character he is touted to be. However, he still has moments of brilliance.
There is no bad acting in Slumberland. The material just does not bring out the maximum potential of these highly skilled actors. The cast deserved a better script for this one.
Slumberland is a visual spectacle to say the least. The special effects and set designs are artistic, as are the costumes.
The film does well to showcase a child’s troubled mindset via fantasy as Nemo struggles to cope with something as dire as death. Every aspect in Slumberland — from the nightmare to the pearls — is a reference to the girl’s inner turbulence.
The music is another positive for the film. It is immersive, uplifting and catchy.
Slumberland is a fantasy film for sure but never reaches the level of an epic. The screenplay lets the film down as it is predictable, binary, and lacks the depth required to connect with the audience.
Furthermore, there is no sense of urgency in the plot. It suffers so much from its lack of an emotional foundation and higher stakes that may challenge the characters more.
The film often tries to escalate to a higher level, but falls short. It can become a frustrating watch due to that very reason. Unfortunately, the makers decided to focus more on the visuals rather than the story for this one.
Slumberland is not a bad film, it just never reaches its full potential. This fantasy epic can labelled as a bag of missed opportunities. However, it will still appeal to kids and a lot of adults would be able to give it a passing watch.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Date Created: 2022-11-19 11:17