Flowy artwork and enjoyable storyline along with amazing characters make this movie worth watching. I watched it when I was a toddler and grew up loving it. Nemo is a boy plagued by nightmares and when the circus comes to town, he's taken off to Slumberland. There he meets the princess, King Morpheus, and many more friends that bring this adventure to a wonderful climax. If you liked Spirited away, you'll love Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland. It's based off of a 50's comic strip by the same name. Very underappreciated and underexposed, but well worth watching.
Time to look at a genre that I have completely neglected in my previous reviews. The world of anime children's movies! What better place to start then with Little Nemo, the first anime movie ever to see widespread theatrical release in the United States? This was 1992, so I was only 4 when this came out in theaters and it...was an experience. I remember that much from my first viewing, but I didn't re-watch this film until recently.
Although released stateside in 1992, Little Nemo was actually made in 1989. I mention this because it was an odd period for kids movies. This was the 1980s,
right before the "Disney Renaissance" of bright, cheerful, musical kid's movies. The 1980s was a time when nearly ALL the kids movies tried to be dark, daring, and really push the envelope. Sometimes this resulted in masterpieces like The Neverending Story from West Germany, Miyazaki's Nausicca, and America's Secret of Nimh. Other times this attempt to be "dark and edgy" led to nothing but batshit insanity with nightmare fuel imagery for no reason, exemplified by films like The Brave Little Toaster. Little Nemo...is much more Toaster than Nausicca.
The plot is very loosely based on a 1905 American comic about a boy that falls asleep and has adventures in dreamland. He must help Morpheus the king of dreamland defeat the evil king of the nightmare world. At least the fact that he IS dreaming explains the very surrealist imagery, along with all the scenes young children would find disturbing. He is in the nightmare world after all, unlike Toaster where twisted, freaky shit just happens at complete random! In the end, Nemo defeats the Nightmare King, realizes it was all a dream (the cliche' award goes to...) and goes to the circus with his family. There really isn't much to say about the plot because Nemo is a purely visual experience. Unlike the 3 masterpiece children's films I mentioned above, Nemo doesn't really tackle complex issues or themes. It doesn't have a deep message with layers of symbolism for adults to enjoy like Nausicca or Neverending Story. It is an interesting little visual experience, but not really much else.
The characters in this movie are honestly really bland. Nemo himself is a very 2D character and the most memorable character is an obnoxious clown played by Japan's favorite comedian Mickey Roony! At least he isn't dressed up in "yellow face" in this movie. Instead the clown is drawn with what looks suspiciously like "black face" because that's...better?
It has a kind of catchy opening theme, but it is VERY misleading since it is so cheerful and light, yet this movie is mostly not.
Little Nemo was a box office disaster losing over 30 million dollars, which was a big deal in 1992. The film was critically panned by Roger Ebert, and most of the other elite American film critics of that time. Honestly, I don't blame them. The art and animation was good at times, but that is really the only thing positive I have to say about this movie. I have met a few other people my age that actually liked this POS, but then again my generation liked Space Jam. Overall, I wouldn't really bother seeing Little Nemo unless you are very interested in anime history or just morbidly curious.
Magical and exciting, this classic will keep you entertained.
After watching this movie once when I was little I immediately found myself hooked! I still watch it 10 years later! It's just so full of adventure, comedy, and sad moments. The plot, characters, scenery, && music are illustrated && played out very well. It's probably the most unique && original work of art you will ever come across next to Miyuzaki's 'Spirited Away' and 'Howl's Moving Castle'. I would recommened this to just about anyone who shares a love for imagination. This is deffinately worthy of the title 'classic'.
I actually seen this baby nearly 20 years ago when I was a kid. But due to how little I could recall of Little Nemo, I never got around to writing a proper review for it until I got a copy of the film just recently to cover.
A little known fact about this film to many folks is that Little Nemo was made as an attempted collaboration between American and Japanese animation studios planned during the early 1980s. However, differences in the creative direction of the film led to enough disputes between both sides that it took years before the film finally got a theatrical
release, which shows rather prominently in how the animation and plot to this are laid out. The look and feel for both are very Western-influenced as Little Nemo looks almost like a Disney film with its character designs and scenery, while sporting fluid movements and animated sequences. For an 80s anime, Little Nemo is easily among one of the better-looking animated films I've seen from the decade, being on par with Studio Ghibli films made during the time.
In terms of its plot and characters though, Little Nemo is rather underwhelming in both departments if you're not this baby's intended target audience of younger children. The cast mostly fill simple character types related to Western animated films and the plot's rather haphazard pace limit any world-building or character exploration that could have been utilized. The plot for it also milks a number of storytelling cliches that never get explored as Nemo is the "chosen one" to be Slumberland's prince, a typical good vs evil conflict involving the Nightmare King in the movie's later half, a number of the Slumberland residents looking like those part of the circus troupe he encountered at the start of the film and an attempt at incorporating some sort of moral related to Nemo's adventure. Pretty much, the film's intent is to keep its plot and characters as simple as possible for its target audience while anyone older may keep wondering why certain stuff to it is never explored.
Little Nemo also has its sloppy points in its writing. The later third of the movie features a couple points where Nemo is in some sort of hostile situation, yet he "wakes up" away from it only to discover he is still dreaming. The "wake up" bits function as a sort of deus ex machina to get Nemo out of trouble and seemed rather lazy in execution. The film's attempt at a moral is also rather questionable as it tries connecting a rather mundane incident that Nemo is involved with at the start of the film to later events in it when Nemo unintentionally triggers the threat of the Nightmare King for the film's second half. However, the events leading up to the moral being utilized are rather idiotic as a certain character was dumb enough to entrust the safety of his entire kingdom to Nemo (and not warning him of the danger in question) and our lead gets rather easily duped into triggering said events.
Overall, Little Nemo is mostly fare for younger children as its plot and characters are way too simple to appeal to older audiences in the same vain that many Studio Ghibli films are. I might have been in awe of the movie as a kid. But being older, it really loses its appeal when you begin to question the "whys" to it.