Slumberland Review: Netflix’s Fantasy Movie Is A Visual Treat, But It Packs A Punch

key information

– Coming to Netflix on Friday, November 18
– Directed by Francis Lawrence
– Written by David Guion and Michael Handelman
– Based on the short story Little Nemo by Winsor McCay
– Stars Jason Momoa and Marlow Barkley
– Fantasy-based adventure movie for the whole family

Netflix original movies are typically about as cinematic as an episode of Fixing Up with Marie Kondo. However, with a budget of $150 million to play with, Francis Lawrence, the director who helmed the biggest YA franchise of the last decade in The Hunger Games (well, three-quarters of it) helms a fantastic and conceptually intriguing film adaptation of Slumberland, a spectacle visually stunning loosely based on an early 20th century comic book by Winsor McCay.

Serving as a teen-friendly answer Start, Slumberland is one of those rare offerings worthy of gracing the big screen. In fact, Lawrence makes sure every penny is on display, even if this new Netflix movie is a lot – and we mean much – loosely associated with McCay’s original work. Aside from the names of the main characters (although even the young hero changes genders) and the general theme of traveling into others’ dreams, this escapade bears little resemblance to the original’s flights of fantasy.

Slumberland stars relative newcomer Marlow Barkley as Nemo, a bright young woman whose idyllic life on an isolated island lighthouse is shattered when her widowed father Peter (Kyle Chandler) disappears at sea. While dealing with the trauma of being orphaned at just 11, she is sent to a high-rise apartment in Toronto with her estranged uncle (somewhat bizarrely, Chris O’Dowd adopting a rebellious American accent).

Slumberland contains many awe-inspiring CGI sequences. (Image credit: Netflix)

And the culture shock could not be greater. While her adventurous father regaled her with wonderful bedtime stories that allowed her imagination to run wild (see the shadows that suddenly move of their own accord), her brother is a doorknob salesman with no idea how to connect with kids. “I was the first student interested in door hardware,” he boasts proudly as he shows his collection to his understandably uninterested niece.

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