Title – Slumberland (2022)
Director – Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend)
Cast – Marlow Barkley, Jason Momoa, Chris O’Dowd, Kyle Chandler
Plot – Young oprhan girl Nemo (Barkley) finds herself teaming up with the mysterious Flip (Momoa) and adventuring through a world made of dreams to find an illusive treasure and to be reunited with her recently deceased father Peter (Chandler).
“I’m not afraid of anything”
Review by Eddie on 06/12/2022
Netflix’s latest original blockbuster which is based on the uncredited Winsor McCay comic strip from the early 1900’s, Slumberland see’s experienced big budget overseer Francis Lawrence enter into the family entertainment landscape to deliver an experience that is nothing more than a mildly amusing distraction that appears to borrow from far more fantastical adventures that have set the bar higher across many generations of feature film eras.
Following Marlow Barley’s determined Nemo, who is like a hybrid of fellow young female heroines like Hermione, Dorothy and Lucy Pevensie and her uneasy partnership with the mysterious Johnny Depp like Flip (played by a flamboyant and dementedly over the top/grating Jason Momoa) as the two traverse a dream filled universe in hope of finding a long-fabled treasure and a reunion between Nemo and her recently deceased father Peter (an underused Kyle Chandler), Slumberland packs a lot into its two hour runtime but despite the earnest intentions of its cast and creators, there’s never the perfect balance of magic, heart and excitement that the best kind of these films have in abundance.
Starting out relatively strongly with Nemo and Peter’s quiet existence on a remote lighthouse island and then ramping up quickly with the appearance of Flip and Nemo’s orientation into the dreamworld that Flip calls home, Slumberland has some impressive early moments and some fun and whimsical moments but as Nemo and Flips adventure starts to cover repitive ground and go places we have been before, Lawrence struggles to get the film into a grove that would’ve made it one of Netflix’s most impressive and unforgettable all-ages affair.
There’s never much time allotted in a screentime sense to enjoy much of what we are doing, whether its car chases, butterfly filled dances, Goose loving Canadians or most distractingly and boorishly a cat and mouse game between Flip and Weruche Opia’s dreams cop Agent Green, Lawrence isn’t able to give each of his stories elements the time they needed to shine and while in many instances what we are seeing is impressively constructed, the heart, soul and whimsy needed to make these type of colourful adventures connect is never truly present.
It’s a shame Slumberland never flies in a way that would have set it up for future instalments, with Netflix crying out for a property of this kind that has a cross generational appeal and a Harry Potter like hook holding it all together, the world of McCay’s vision had potential to be something special whereas here it’s likely to lay forever as nothing more than a middle of the road event.
Final Say –
While it may appeal more strongly to younger audiences or those looking for a mild two hour distraction, Slumberland sees Netflix’s newest attempt at an IP it can use for all its worth stumble along its way to provide nothing more than a pale imitation of much better similar films.
2 1/2 tough guy truck drivers out of 5