Monday, January 6, 2014

Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland ★★★ 1/2

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    As human beings, we live in two very distinct worlds. We spend most of our time fully awake and in touch with reality; however, when we fall asleep, we enter a realm of infinite possibilities. Sometimes our dreams are innocent and full of wonder. Other times they can be dark and desolate. "Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland" is a 1989 animated film that brings the realm of dreams to life in a charming and guileless manner. This film is loosely based on the comic strip "Little Nemo in Slumberland" written by Winsor McCay, which was first published in the year of 1905.

    "Little Nemo" begins with an enchanting dream sequence courtesy of our main character. He "awakens" in his dream realm and is soon transported by his magical flying bed all over the city and eventually into a dangerous chase scene with a rapid locomotive. The next day, Nemo sneaks off to a parade celebrating the visiting traveling circus. Here, Nemo encounters various characters including the circus organist and ringmaster. That night, these circus employees become much more once Nemo drifts off into a deep slumber. The circus organist, now Professor Genius, visits Nemo and invites him to the magical world of Slumberland. The invitation is extended to Nemo by King Morpheus, the circus ringmaster, and he is to become the heir of Slumberland. Nemo, accompanied by his pet flying squirrel, Icarus, will encounter many interesting characters, and he will ultimately defend this perfect dream against the sinister Nightmare King.

    This animated film provides splendorous visionary sequences and superb voicing talents. The most well known of these voice actors would be Gabriel Damon, who supplies the voice for Nemo. (He will be recognized by young children for his role in voicing Littlefoot in the "Land Before Time" series of films.) Mickey Rooney provides the voice talent for Flip, a cigar-smoking clown who is seen as nothing more than a mischievous troublemaker in the world of Slumberland. Flip befriends Nemo in a similar scene to that of "Pinocchio," in which Pinocchio befriends the character of Honest John. He is detoured from his present task due to his naivety, and it causes troublesome results.

    The script for this film is well written and deserves much praise. We are transported into this visual world of magnificent palaces and secret caves; however, it would not have been pulled off without a quality dialogue. Chris Columbus provides his writing talents for the screenplay, and he is a master at providing a quality storyline that reaches into the pit of our souls and forces us to feel like a child once again. He has contributed to the scripts of such films as "The Goonies," and even directed films in each of the "Home Alone" and "Harry Potter" series. Even though Nemo is a young child and not the most intriguing character, Columbus makes him interesting enough to fulfill our needs.

    Overall, "Little Nemo" is a youthful and engaging animated film. It had an incredibly high budget of around thirty-five million dollars and it shows in the brilliantly developed animation. When first released, this film had a hard time finding the right audience; sometimes these things happen. If you are looking for a film to amuse your child and keep you entertained, then this would be a terrific film for you. The Nightmare King sequences may scare some young children; however, they are short-lived. We all have some dreams that we wish to cherish and others that we choose to forget. "Little Nemo" is simply one that should be cherished.

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