A young girl, Nema, with the help of a large half-man/half-monster creature, travels to a mystical land in her dreams in search of her missing Father.
11-year-old Nema lives in a lighthouse with her father, Peter, who has taught her how to sail. Sadly, Peter dies one night during a storm at sea. Nema is sent to live with her estranged uncle Philip, who is dull and nothing like Peter. Nema discovers a world called “Slumberland” in her dreams. She encounters Flip (Momoa), a creature who claims to have been an outlaw with Peter years ago, stealing things from other peoples’ dreams. Nema decides to go on an adventure with Flip when he claims to know a way that she can wish for her father back.
Coming the Netflix in November comes Slumberland, a live action family film based on Winsor McCay’s comic strip, Little Nemo In Slumberland. The film stars Jason Momoa (Aquaman, See) as Flip, a half man/half monster creature who serves as a guide through the dream realm of Slumberland to Nema, played by Marlow Barkley (Single Parents). The film is directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games films) and written by David Guion and Michael Handelman, who both wrote Night At The Museum: The Secret Of The Tomb.
Also featured in the film are Kyle Chandler (Godzilla: King Of The Monsters) as Peter, Nema’s father. In named roles are Humberly González (Jupiter’s Legacy) as Graciela, Tonya Cornelisse (Yellowjackets) as Agent Red, Weruche Opia (I May Destroy You) as Agent Green, Jamillah Ross (Firestarter) as Agent Orange, Leslie Adlam (Y: The Last Man) as Agent Brown, and Ava Cheung (Reacher) as Ho Sook. Chris O’Dowd (State Of The Union) and India de Beufort (All Hail King Julien) are also featured, though their roles at this time is unknown.
Further details regarding the story of the film is not known at this time, but, as always, SciFi.Radio promises to keep you up to date as soon as more details emerge. For now, a bit of history:
The character of Little Nemo, a boy originally, was featured in Winsor McCay’s 1904 comic strip, Dreams Of A Rarebit Fiend, featured in The New York Herald. The strip had no continuity or main characters, just a recurring theme: Characters have a nightmare or weird dream after eating a Welsh dish called a Rarebit (a cheese on toast dish). The dreams all explore the phobias, discomforts and dark fantasies, and end with the dreamer waking up, regreting eating the Rarebit. The strip is said to have anticipated a number of recurring ideas in popular culture, such as marauding giant beasts damaging cities.
After appearing in the strip, a spin-off strip, Little Nemo In Slumberland began, and would continue until 1927. From 1911 thru 1914, it had gone under the title, In The Land Of Wonderful Dreams, when McCay went to The New York American, before he returned to the Herald. In the strip, King Morpheus tries to bring Nemo into the land of dreams, to serve as a playmate of The Princess, but plans are thwarted by a cigar smoking clown named Flip, who would always manage to wake Nemo up by the end of the strip.
Nemo and Flip eventually become companions and have adventures together, traveling to Mars as well as other exotic, and bizarre places. Through out the series, McCay’s understanding of the psychology of dreams is shown, such as dream fears like falling and drowning.
Several attempts were made to bring Little Nemo to stage and film. One such film, McCay did himself in 1911, called Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics, but more commonly referred to as Little Nemo.
An Anime version, Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland, was released in Japan in 1989, and in the United States in 1991, directed by Masami Hata and William Hurtz. The American release featured the voices of Rene Auberjonois as Professor Genius and Mickey Rooney as Flip. Though the film received positive reviews, it didn’t perform well at the box office, only grossing $11 million on a $35 million dollar budget. However, it did sell well on home video and has a cult following.
Other than a few visuals, Slumberland is going to be totally different from the original source other than the main character being changed from a boy named Nemo, to a girl named Nema. Flip, in the comics, is drawn in a style that is insensitive, so the way he looks in the movie is a nice change. Also, if the King Of Dreams is featured, don’t expect to see Tom Sturridge.
It is nice to see some streaming services bringing more family entertainment to their platform. Here’s hoping the film lives up to what the trailer is showing us.
Slumberland debuts on Netflix in November.
Gary DaBaum, SCIFI.radio DJ, writer, and all around nice guy, can be heard on SCIFI.radio. He’s also on Twitter: @GaryDaBaum.