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Slumberland review – inventive big-budget Netflix adventure for kids

Jason Momoa goes full Johnny Depp as the larger-than-life guide to a dreamworld in a mostly entertaining family fantasy The fantastical world of dreams proves to be predictably fertile territory for an extravagant adventure for kids in Netflix’s big-budget big bet Slumberland, an imaginative and mostly agreeable adaptation of an early 20th-century comic strip centered around the character of Little Nemo. Created by cartoonist Winsor McCay, Nemo would find himself visiting bold and surreal new worlds in his sleep and here we meet him as a her, newcomer Marlow Barkley, living in a lighthouse on a remote island with her father, played by Kyle Chandler. It’s an eye-grabbing location, the first of many, and early on it’s clear we are in the often tight-fisted streamer’s lofty A class, the film carrying a rare $150m budget. Director Francis Lawrence, best known for commandeering the majority of the Hunger Games series, is a canny and confident tour guide, ushering us from one strange set-piece to the next as Nemo follows in her dream-travelling father’s footsteps after his death. She’s forced to live with her estranged uncle (Chris O’Dowd) and forced out of her untenable family home. In her dreams she meets Flip (Jason Momoa), someone her father used to travel with in his sleep, and he tells her of a myth, a pearl that would allow her to control her dreams, and the two embark on a quest to find it. Continue reading...

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