At last we come to Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland! Little Nemo was based on the comic from 1905 and was in movie development hell from 1982 to initial release in 1989. It was released in the US in 1992. It was Japanese-American venture and it was the worst experience of Hayao Miyazaki’s professional career when he worked on it. But I’m not here to discuss the behind the scenes, I’m here to review what was shown to me on screen which was an odd combo of mild-surrealism and awkward boringness.
Nemo (resisting finding Finding Nemo jokes) is a kid who has a flying squirrel and steals pies in his sleep against his mother’s wishes. He wants to go to the circus but he is made to wait a whole day. The night before he dreams that he is invited to be the royal playmate of Princess Camille of Slumberland. When he gets there is told by King Morpheus (resisting Matrix jokes) that Nemo is to be heir and he gives him a key to a door he is to never open.
Nemo meets Camille and they have some fun and then Nemo meets Flip who likes mischief.
Flip and Nemo find the door Nemo isn’t supposed to be opened but Flip convinces Nemo to open it and the Nightmare King escapes. During Nemo’s coronation the Nightmare king kidnaps Morpheus. Nemo then wakes up in his room but he is still in the dream.
Since Nemo is the only other person who can use Morpheus’s scepter, Nemo gets a recuse party together to save the king. This party consists of Professor Genius, Camille and Flip who has a map of Nightmare land. The map gets ruin though but it’s ok because they meet some nice goblins who are going to the Nightmare castle to save their friend.
Things go wrong when they are attacked and everyone captured because Nemo doesn’t know the words to make the scepter work. Nemo wakes up in his bed for a second time but this time the goblins are with him, so he is still in the dream (resisting Inception jokes). The goblins’ friend shows up and gives Nemo a note from Morpheus which are the magic words. Nemo defeats the Nightmare King and all of Slumberland is happy. Nemo and Camille has a sweet little kiss and Nemo wakes up for real this time and apologizes to his mother about stealing the pie and then he gets ready for the circus, Hot Dog.
So what is wrong with this movie? Besides being a dream, the only things that imaginative and weird about it, is that Slumberland looks like a circus. The movie plays a fairly straight unsurprising narrative. Even Nightmare land isn’t all that imaginative. The nightmare king has a cool design but he looks like the Chernobog from Fantasia. I mean there are some interesting imagery like the upside down room in the castle but not too much. It’s just not very dream-like at all. Except at the very beginning with Nemo first flying bed dream.
I wish the ending made it unclear if it was really a dream or not but the ending was quite clear that it was all a dream about how Nemo should keep promises. Really it was about the pie that Nemo tried to steal the start of the movie.
Then will have other characters who are also not that imaginative. Nemo is happy and has insipid dialogue like yay and yippie. Professor Genius is there. The Goblins are annoying. Flip is a little more interesting but I really don’t like him or understand him. The Squirrel, Icarus is also annoying.
Then we have our token Princess, Camille. Camille is a weird combination of haughty and nice. I would say that this more her interesting as character but I think it’s just inconsistent writing. Still, at least it’s something, I don’t normally point to inconsistent writing a positive but here I am. Unless she was like that in the comics.
Also her accent switches between British and American like every other line. It’s very jarring.
I will say on the whole, the animation is nice although the colors could have been more vibrant but it wasn’t bad. Though the dancing during the coronation was painfully awkward.
Also aside from the forgettable songs the background music was lovely. The music that played when Morpheus gave Nemo the key was my favorite.
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland is fairly meh as a movie. And really the whole thing boils down to pies, which are delicious.Follow thehunchblog