Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Movies of Moebius: Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)

This is a mess.

It's a mess that's not without its charms, but Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland is still pulling in several directions at once. It doesn't even feel like a movie made by committee -- a "committee" at least implies some kind of coherency of vision, however mediocre the end result may be. This movie has no focus.

Nominally based on Winsor McCay's comic strip Little Nemo in Sumberland, this went through several producers, writers and directors before eventually getting made -- including Gary Kurtz, Hayao Miyazaki (who reportedly said it was one of the worst professional experiences), Ray Bradbury, Brad Bird, Brian Froud and Chris Columbus. Moebius wrote one version of the script (he ended up with a story credit) and created some concept art.

Not surprisingly, the aesthetic here is all over the place. The character design veers from cutesy to strange to scary, often all in one scene. The pacing is odd, with punchlines and reactions either coming a beat too late or a beat too soon. The plot feels cobbled together, almost as if someone vaguely described the formula of Disney movies ("there's a princess, a hero, an animal sidekick, some songs, and a bad guy!") and this was the best everyone could come up with based on that.

Still, there's some fantastic segments -- the opening where Nemo is trying to escape a runaway train on his bed is remarkable, and there are a few nightmarish sequences as Nemo's house floods or as he and his friends try to escape demon-like creatures. Slumberland is rendered in beautifully cheerful pastels. The final battle with the Nightmare King seems like the only time Moebius' work on this movie seems to show through, but it also feels a bit out of place.

But then again, most elements of this movie feel out of place when viewed next to each other, so maybe in another way, that part does fit right in.

I want to like Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland and despite myself, part of me does admire it, even though I spent most of the movie either marveling at how odd it was and waiting for it to be over. There is something kind of fun about it, but with all the talent the movie went through in its long production history, it's too bad it didn't end up as something better.


  1. Its Lamethat another Little Nemo Movie will Not Come Out Soon,its Lame Disney Is not Interested in Another Little Nemo Movie,without Getting sued By the Remains of Hemdale,I Love Little Nemo,Little Nemo should Live Again On the Big Screen,so i say Disney,Buy the Rights From Hemdale and Make A Big Little Nemo Movie,From Begining To End From the Comics of 1900s,Let Little Nemo Live Again,From C.J BOB.

  2. From C.J, Should Disney Studio's Actually Consider Buying All the Rights tooo LITTLE NEMO ADVENTURE'S IN SLUMBERLAND(1989)(1900's Comic Strip),The Answer Is Yes,They(Disney)Should,Princess Camille Will make A Good DISNEY PRINCESS,Little Nemo will Be Beloved as a Disney Asset, Never Mind About All the Mean Blood Between DISNEY Studio's And Hemdale and The Tokyo Studio that Helped made Little Nemo,All That Matters Is What can DISNEY STUDIO'S Do to Make Little Nemo Live Again, Chris Columbis should Help in Selling All the Rights Of Little Nemo to the Big Disney Studio's,All that matters Is That Little Nemo does Not Get Forgotten By The Big Blu Ray Disc Corporation,Also Disney should make More Than One Big Little Nemo Movie For The Big Screen,DISNEY FAN'S Love LITTLE NEMO TOO.

  3. I loved this movie from the first time I saw it until now, 15 years later. The lack of focus or direction (as you call it) all together with oddity, was what made this a credible inside-a-dream movie.

    Dreams don't follow an order or formula, they are mostly just as you describe most of the movie to be. Through the years, one of the things I've enjoyed about Little Nemo is the lack of strong mainstream story plot.

    Maybe you didn't see this movie through the eyes of someone who has yet to be structured by society into rationalism. Maybe all of what it went through, from director to director, gave it a particular style and taste that seems to be dearly appreciated and valued in some people...

    In our memories.

  4. He reminds me of the kid from Angry arthur, at least the last part of the book which was made in 1983:
    Do you think the illustrator was influenced by the illustrator of this book?

  5. Little Nemo is worthy,to be reborn.who is willing to save Little Nemo.From being just One Unforgetable Movie.I really want and really willing to die for the glory of it.I want Little Nemo for Blu Ray Disc.Not Just the big DVD movie,But the VHS Movie Version as to one Big Collecter's Movie Box set.DVD-Blu ray disc Combo pact.with both the DVD-VHS Movie's Included.This Movie saved me from Alcohol and smoking tobacco.Does that not mean anything to Blu ray Disc.Please please,I want Little Nemo for BLU RAY DISC.Please Do it Blu Ray Disc.It's the right Choice.

  6. jan.7th,1906.The European's first read and than throw away their first Irreplaceable Copy Comic Strip of Little Nemo Adventure's In Slumberland.The Comic Strip now-a-day's are Price-less.Little Nemo will live again some-day in the Sunday Funny Page's.I will alway's love Little Nemo Adventure's in Slumberland.My mom got me that movie,and i loved it forever.i love both the VHS and DVD version.

  7. No Little Nemo Adventure's in Slumberland(VHS version)for Blu ray disc,Hemdale picture's corporation,You robbed me of my long lost Childhood.I will never forgive you for that.