A film about desires turns into the stuff of nightmares in Netflix’s utterly misguided “Slumberland,” an try to construct a sprawling fantasy journey out of the newspaper comedian strips of the early twentieth century. Most notable as a automobile for Jason Momoa, this wannabe extravaganza from “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence presents loads of particular results in determined search of a narrative.
The plot opens with a well-known youngsters’ film setup: a lady named Nemo (Marlow Barkley, in a style flip from the comedian) who lives in a lighthouse removed from the world together with her doting father (Kyle Chandler). When Dad is misplaced at sea, she is distributed to dwell together with her uncle (Chris O’Dowd) within the massive metropolis, discovering escape in her desires.
The realm of desires is described as “a world with out penalties”, however constructed, showing in movie with out a clear artistic compass, proving extra mystifying than magical. Alternately wacky and cutesy, the primary impulse is embodied by Momoa’s Flip, who resides within the dream world and, along with his horns and hat, resembles an unholy cross of the Mad Hatter, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and a refugee. from the island of Dr. Moreau.
Nemo and Flip go on a sequence of adventures in the hunt for a treasured artifact, with the promise that by touring via the desires of others, he’ll one way or the other be capable of see his father once more. Along the best way, they run into one thing known as the Bureau of Subconscious Activities, a surreal forms that sees Flip as an outlaw.
Netflix has already made a giant wager on desires with “The Sandman,” however the common conceit right here is broadly paying homage to the basic “Time Bandits” film, although any comparisons solely replicate how tough that mixture of caprice and irreverence is to grasp. and the way conspicuously “Slumberland” falls quick.
Perhaps most significantly, it is laborious to pinpoint who “Slumberland” is meant for, except for Momoa followers and a youthful viewers numb sufficient of video video games, maybe, to be dazzled by the creative manufacturing design and never fear about it. the thinness of the story.
Streaming companies are clearly dazzled by the advertising worth of star energy, and Momoa, who appeared alongside one other teenager, the unhappy “Sweet Girl” final yr, in addition to the earlier sequence “Frontier,” as at all times offers a muscular dose of that. Those attributes really feel wasted, nonetheless, within the surreal confines of “Slumberland,” which, because the amusement park-like names say, does not even qualify as a superb place to go to.
“Slumberland” premieres November 18 on Netflix.