"Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" (first published in 1905) is justly regarded as a classic among comic strips. Despite this, reltively few people (aside from comic afficianados) are familiar with the strip today. Thus, a "Little Nemo..." movie would have to draw in new viewers without alienating fans of the original. It's a tall order, but Chris Columbus' movie does the job, and earns five whole stars in doing so.
The story is simple enough for young children to appreciate without being trivial or talkng down to its audience. Nemo is an imaginative young boy who enters a fantastic world of dreams while he sleeps. He is welcomed by the king of the land and his beautiful daughter, princess Camille. The king makes Nemo his heir, on the condition that he never unlock one specific door. Urged on by a mischivious clown named "Flip," Nemo opens the door, releasing the nightmare king who is trapped inside. The Nightmare king captures the king of Slumberland, and Nemo sets off to rescue him and atone for his mistake.
Visually, the movie is a triumph. The scenes of Slumberland are truly beautiful to look at. They are filled with vibrant colors, lush landscapes and alien (but still beautiful) architecture. The scenes in Nightmare land, by contrast, are effectively shadowy and unnerving, without going over the top.
Where the movie really succeeds, however, is in the characterizations. Princess Camille is very proper and somewhat haughty, yet never seems annoying or arrogant. Flip is a classic trickster; sneaky, contemptuous of rules and prone to getting in over his head, yet he never comes across as villianous or pathetic. As for Nemo, he actually presents as a kid! He isn't coyingly cutsie, he isn't a smart-aleck nor is he so precocious that he seems like a miniature adult. Such an honest protrayal of a child character in a movie is a rarity. The fact that he is also likeable and his efforts draw the viewer in is a further testimony to this film's quality.
"Little Nemo..." is great entertainment for kids and adults alike, and that alone earns it five stars. More than that though, it lives up to the hallowed comic strip it is based on. That fact makes it more than a great film, it makes it a legend in its own right."
Don't blow money on the OOP version! This is the SAME editio
Brian T | Canada | 02/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though this film deserves a full-blown special edition designed with adults in mind--or at the very least a book detailing its troubled production history--the best treatment it's had to date was the 2004 TMS/Funimation/Our Time Family Entertainment DVD from 2004. That disc has long been out of print and fetching inflated prices via eBay and various Amazon Marketplace sellers.
But now it's back. And despite Amazon incorrectly listing the aspect ratio as 1.33:1 and the distributor as Platinum Disc, rest assured that this is EXACTLY the same disc content as the 2004 edition: the film is presented in ANAMORPHIC WIDESCREEN, with 5.1 Surround Sound (plus a basic Stereo option) plus all the extras from the original release, which are decidedly aimed at children unfortunately. You get: static-screen character profiles; a Slumberland Singalong featuring three songs from the film; a "Make Your Own Royal Scepter" craft project (text frames) and four trailers, one of which is for a computer-animated children's feature called A WOBOTS CHRISTMAS that looked so horrendously out-of-date even in 2004 that it could only be a Christian film, plus three other trailers for much better productions: the likewise computer-generated Canadian feature SANTA CLAUS BROTHERS (2001), the flat-animated short NOEL NOEL (also from Canada), and a lengthy spot for one of the early ARTHUR DVDs.
As with the Funimation edition, the packaging states the film runs 100 minutes, while the film itself actually runs 95 minutes. No big deal, and at least it's not the heavily cut version that appeared in the days of VHS.
But the real gem here is, as mentioned, the WIDESCREEN presentation of the vastly underrated LITTLE NEMO. If you're a fan of either American, Disney-style animation, or Japanese, Miyazaki-style anime, you OWE it to yourself to pick up this budget-priced release to see what you missed.
If you're looking for proper extras, your best bet these days is YouTube, where you can find several "Making of" features from around the time of the film's release (look for these ones: =mhS6jPZvURI , =IJ6f81ZYIfI) as well as Osamu Dezaki's 1987 pilot anime film (=fCLXfJFOlUY&NR=1) and the rare and spellbinding Miyazaki test footage (=fnL-6yLzgWA) that never made it to the final production once he left the project.
Fantastic to finally have this film back on DVD, and at a decent price to boot!"
The Truth About Little Nemo's Production
D. Lundin | Macross Island, South Pacific | 03/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reading the other reviews of this DVD it seems most people are confused as to the origins of this film...
Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland was a feature film loosely based on animation legend Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" comic strip first appearing in 1905. Little Nemo: AiS had an extremely rocky production cycle with the first pilot being released in 1984, the second in 1987, and the finish film in 1989. Hayao Miyazaki was on the original creative team however due to the troubled production he left at a rather early development stage. Just as Robotech is a strange enigma of anime in America, Little Nemo: AiS stands as an odd hiccup in the history of anime in Japan. Similar to The Transformers, at its core Little Nemo: AiS was designed for the American market with an all star voice ensemble such as Mickey Rooney as Flip the Clown. However it was a film slated for the UNITED STATES although the animation work was primarly of Japanese origin. Little Nemo: AiS was Disney's first forray into grabbing troubled animation properties... (don't even get me started about how they flat out STOLE Aladdin from an early workprint of The Thief and The Cobbler and then killed the original film)
While it would have been nice to see some of the original early versions of Little Nemo (which are on the laser disc) that carried with them a more dramatic flair, this DVD sets out to be exactly what it is - a DVD release of the final film version. Considering how troubled the production cycle was we should all be glad that it even hit the theaters - let alone finally reached DVD after all these years. 5 stars for filling in a void of underrated animation on DVD.
I suggest everyone pick up "The Anime Encyclopedia" if you want to know the truth behind lots of other animation and the industry. It also had a good little backstory about Little Nemo: AiS."
An Inspired Story
Brian T | 09/03/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bradbury and Giraud's influences are obvious. The story is filled with goodwill and heart without being sentimental or maudlin. Little Nemo breaks a promise and unleashes the Nightmare King's powers against his friends in Dreamland, and must face his terror to rescue them. The images of Dreamland are breathtaking. The jester-goblins are endearing. Flip's character is a mischief and has many faults, but not of cynicism. There is no adult subtext, no disparagement or side cracks, no misplaced self-consciousness anywhere in this movie. It would appeal to lively, intelligent, creative children, and it would engage their parents' interest and fancy too. I hope it is re-released soon."
An excellent adaption!
tiggerbone | West Chicago, IL USA | 08/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It amazes me that none of the previous reviews mentions the comic by Winsor McCay! This is truly one of the most faithful adaptions to the ideas of any work that I have seen. Winsor McCay would be proud.Mickey Rooney does a fine job as Flick, the shifty and miscievous imp. I have read that French artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius), and Ray Bradbury are both involved with this film. It shows. This movie has an interesting plot, fascinating characters, and beautiful animation. As with most good films, there are occasional scenes which may frighten younger viewers (anyone remember the witch from Disney's Snow White?) but do not let this dissuade you from giving this film a try if you can find it.My only complaint was the superfluous character, Icarus. At least this time the "cute animal" was relatively low key and did not distract from the rest of the film.I hope that it is re-released post-haste!"