Slumberland movie review: Jason Momoa is magnetic in Netflix’s spectacular family film

By | November 20, 2022

Maybe the explanation why Netflix insists on releasing huge motion pictures with zero push advertising and marketing is just not as a result of he needs to avoid wasting on bills, however as a result of he does not wish to draw consideration to himself in case the films stink. And let’s face it, in a 12 months the place the streamer gave us big-budget bombs like The Grey Man and The College of Good and EvilNot committing to a $150 million fantasy movie starring Jason Momoa as a horned lothario cosplaying Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler does not appear to be the worst concept.

However towards all odds, this week’s on-line occasion – Slumberland – could also be among the many greatest children motion pictures of the vacation season. Even counting latest Enola Holmes 2. Directed by Francis Lawrence – greatest identified for 3 Starvation Video games movies, I Am Legend, and the steamiest movie of Jennifer Lawrence’s profession – Slumberland is a lush fantasy journey that mixes old-world allure with cutting-edge visuals.

Newcomer Marlow Barkley stars as a younger woman named Nemo, who lives in a romantic previous lighthouse together with her father, a grizzled sailor named Peter, performed with the sparkling-eyed allure required by Kyle Chandler. They lead a fairy story life collectively, away from everybody. However one stormy night time, Peter goes on a sudden rescue mission and doesn’t return. A distraught Nemo is quickly despatched to dwell within the large metropolis together with her uncle Phil, performed by Chris O’Dowd.

Estranged from his brother, Phil is his reverse in each means possible. Whereas Peter thrived on the outside, foraging for his personal meals and reveling in breaking the foundations, Phil lives an remoted life, consuming out of wrappers and promoting doorknobs for a dwelling. He isn’t merciless, however he is annoying.

Nemo struggles to regulate to her new life in Phil’s impersonal residence, however one night time she is visited in her goals by Flip, a magical creature with a protracted mane of hair and a swarm of flies hovering in it. permanence round him. Nemo instantly acknowledges him because the swaggering (and smelly) character in his father’s bedtime tales.

Despite the fact that his costume appears like he may burst right into a rendition of “I Do not Wanna Miss a Factor” at any second, Momoa actually appears to be channeling Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in his efficiency as Flip. Like Captain Jack, Flip is each a trickster and a silver fox. He introduces himself to a personality as “an unsettling mixture of father determine and repressed masculinity”, and lurks in dreamland, the place he hunts mysterious pearls for causes that are not very clear within the movie. To seek out these pearls, he tells the grieving Nemo, he wants his father’s secret map. And collectively they set off on an journey via Slumberland, discovering unusual new corners of the dreamscape alongside the best way, whereas dodging nightmarish “cops”. Nemo, after all, has his personal causes for following. She needs to see her father once more, even when it is in a dream.

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The manufacturing design is spectacular, and never simply within the Slumberland sequences. One would think about that in a movie like this all the eye can be dedicated to the design of the Dream Lands – and the outcomes are actually beautiful – however you might be left with nothing however awe if you discover that the identical stage painstaking element went into creating the interiors of the Rustic Lighthouse and the IKEA-inspired interiors of Phil’s Home.

Lawrence proved to be a reasonably regular hand at dealing with large-scale motion, with out resorting to pointless CGI or jerky modifying to overcompensate for a scarcity of imaginative and prescient. Not like lots of his earlier movies; Slumberland’s settings happen virtually totally in computer-generated environments, however the motion is simple to observe, the targets are clear, and the main focus is all the time on Nemo. And as participating as Barkley and Momoa’s central performances are, it is admirable that the movie avoids turning Uncle Phil into some kind of villainous presence. As an alternative, his arc is nearly as effectively outlined as Nemo’s. I think about adults would determine with Phil, whereas children would cling to Nemo (and, after all, the colourful Flip).

The story is easy and the sincerity is palpable. At no level does Slumberland really feel the necessity to wink on the viewers or crack jokes that undermine his seriousness. Slumberland is an actual film, regardless of the seen artificiality of its dreamlike setting; delivered to life by rigorously written characters who take nice private journeys, a transferring rating by Pinar Toprak, and loads of spectacle.

Director – Francois Laurent
Forged – Jason Momoa, Marlow Barkley, Kyle Chandler, Weruche Opia, Chris O’Dowd
Analysis – 4/5