A film about desires turns into the stuff of nightmares in Netflix’s completely misguided “Slumberland,” an try to construct a sprawling fantasy journey from the bones of the early-Twentieth-century newspaper caricature. Most notable as a car for Jason Momoa, this wannabe spectacle from “The Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence serves up a number of particular results desperately in quest of a narrative.
The plot begins with a well-recognized kid-movie setup: A younger woman named Nemo (Marlow Barkley, in a gender swap from the comedian) residing in a lighthouse away from the world along with her caring father (Kyle Chandler). When dad is misplaced at sea, she’s despatched to stay along with her buttoned-up uncle (Chris O’Dowd) within the massive metropolis, discovering an escape in her desires.
The realm of desires is described as “a world with no consequence,” however as constructed, that is available in a film with no clear artistic compass, proving extra mystifying than magical. Alternately zany and sappy, the previous impulse is embodied by Momoa’s Flip, who resides within the dream world and, together with his horns and hat, resembles an unholy cross of the Mad Hatter, the Ghost of Christmas Current and a refugee from the island of Dr. Moreau.
Nemo and Flip go on a collection of adventures in pursuit of a treasured artifact, with the promise that by journeying by the desires of others, she’ll someway be capable to see her father once more. Alongside the way in which, they run afoul of one thing known as the Bureau of Unconscious Actions, a surreal forms that sees Flip as an outlaw.
Netflix has already made an enormous wager on desires with “The Sandman,” however the normal conceit right here broadly brings to thoughts the traditional movie “Time Bandits,” though any comparability largely simply displays how onerous that mixture of caprice and irreverence is to grasp, and the way conspicuously “Slumberland” falls in need of it.
Maybe foremost, it’s troublesome to find out for whom “Slumberland” is meant, apart from Momoa followers and a youthful viewers numbed sufficient by videogames, maybe, to be dazzled by the creative manufacturing design and untroubled by the thinness of the story.
Streaming providers are clearly dazzled by the advertising worth of star energy, and Momoa – who appeared reverse one other younger woman the dreary “Sweet Girl” final 12 months, in addition to the sooner collection “Frontier” – as at all times supplies a muscular dose of it. These attributes really feel wasted, nonetheless, within the surreal confines of “Slumberland,” which, as amusement-park-type names go, doesn’t even qualify as a pleasant place to go to.
“Slumberland” premieres November 18 on Netflix.