Slumberland Review

Last Updated on November 21, 2022

PLOT: A young girl goes on a magical, dreamscape adventure, along with a roguish fellow by the name of Flip.

REVIEW: Jason Momoa has a lot of charm, doesn’t he? The actor has fought long and hard for his career. And it sure has paid off for him. That’s why it’s nice to see him do something different. His latest, the Netflix fantasy adventure, Slumberland, is a dream-fueled, family fable. Alongside Momoa, the film offers a delightful turn from young Marlow Barkley, with Chris O’Dowd and Kyle Chandler. Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Catching Fire), the film finds a balance between dreamscape and reality, with a decent amount of action and humor thrown into the mix.

Slumberland is a sad story. Like many a childhood fable, the loss of a parent plays a considerable part after young Nemo’s (Barkley) father’s untimely passing. The lighthouse keeper’s daughter must live with her uncle (O’Dowd) in a strange new place. As the two struggle to connect, something magical happens. Every night, as Nemo drifts off to sleep, she discovers a peculiar and gruff fellow named Flip (Momoa). He is on his quest to find something magical in Slumberland. He reluctantly decides to bring Nemo along, and an unexpected friendship occurs as they make their way through this wacky world of other people’s dreams. And along the way, they learn a lesson or two. It’s a sweet flick.

Slumberland can sometimes be a heartfelt modern fable. Francis Lawrence is good at creating a magical world with charismatic characters. And let’s face it, Momoa is a charismatic kind of guy. The actor relishes working on this project every moment, it seems. And yes, they found something special in Marlow Barkley. Evert time the two actors are together, you see a spark that only adds to the whimsy of it all. As the two fall deeper and deeper into the world of dreams, their chemistry becomes all the more apparent. It may be easy to see where it leads, yet there’s a sweet recipe of magic and heart inside.

Two other standouts are Kyle Chandler as her father and Chris O’Dowd as the uncle she barely knows. Mr. Chandler is especially effective, even with limited screen time The warmth the actor shares with his on-screen daughter only makes elements in the film more heartbreaking. It’s a terrific performance. Chris O’Dowd is a gem here. What a beautiful performance he gives. The actor gives such warmth and humanity to a man forced to care for a child he barely knows. It’s such a sublime show that his growth is perhaps the most powerful in the film. All the performances here are enjoyable, and it’s a treat to watch.

Francis Lawrence captures the spirit of dreams and our relationship with them well. As Nemo and Flip travel throughout the landscape, the filmmaker presents a colorful world to visit. From a young boy’s fascination with trucks, or a woman desiring to be the life of the party, it works. The script follows a very familiar personal drama, yet it does so with gentleness and heart. Even as well-meaning as it may be, it suffers slightly from its predictable nature. You know where the story is going from the beginning, and the darker elements may be somewhat traumatic for younger viewers.

Slumberland is, at times, a sweet little film. It may suffer from its transparent storyline, and the effects of the tragedy may be hurtful for some. Yet there is enough magic throughout, thanks to the terrific performances and a few exciting moments, that it may be a nice flick to watch with the family. Much of the joy may come from the engagement between Momoa and Barkley. The two stars are having a wonderful time exchanging quips and emotionally charged moments that you may find some pleasure in here. Sure, it may not be an epic adventure into dreamland, but it’s engaging enough for a decent night of Netflix and popcorn.




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