Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland (1989)

7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Nice animated film for kids

Adults will probably not be entertained

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Little Nemo:  Adventures in Slumberland

Studio:   TMS Entertainment

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  July 15, 1989 (Japan)/December 25, 1989 (US)

MPAA Rating:  G

little nemo adventures in slumberland vs nightmare king ending battle

Nemo’s going to be exhausted when he wakes up…

Little Nemo has a big imagination…when he falls asleep however, he finds himself in a world of dreams.  When he is contacted by agents of King Morpheus, Little Nemo learns that he is meant to be the companion to Morpheus’ daughter Princess Camille and future heir to Slumberland.  Unfortunately, Slumberland has a dark side in Nightmareland.  Flip accidentally tricks Nemo into releasing the Nightmare King who takes King Morpheus and Camille hostage.  Now, Nemo must adventure into the Nightmareland to free Morpheus and stop the Nightmare King once and for all!

Directed by Masami Hata and William Hurtz, Little Nemo:  Adventures in Slumberland (ニモ Nimo aka Nemo) is a cartoon fantasy adventure.  The film based on the classic comic strip by Winsor McCay which began in 1905.  The movie was released in Japan in 1989 but did not receive a wide release in the United States release until 1992 (becoming the first major release of an anime film).  A tie-in game called Little Nemo:  The Dream Master was released for the NES in 1990 as a tie-in, but due to the delayed release in the United States, the game was released two years before the movie.

little nemo adventures in slumberland nightmare king

Go back to Bald Mountain, Nightmare King!!!

I thought Little Nemo was an interesting comic strip though I found it a bit tedious to read.  Like many in the U.S., the NES game was an introduction to the character since the comic strip wasn’t readily available.  When Little Nemo:  Adventures in Slumberland was released, I was too old for it, but I think I would have enjoyed it as kid.

The adventure is a fun one, but it is aimed at kids.  The movie was trapped in development hell for years and went through a number of creators.  The script ended up being by Chris Columbus and Richard Outten and based on a concept by Ray Bradbury.  It is a fun adventure for kids full of likable characters.  The United States’ edited version runs ten minutes shorter than the ninety-five Japanese version.

Unlike modern animated films, Little Nemo:  Adventures in Slumberland didn’t have an all-out celebrity cast.  The cast is strong in the world of voice actors like Gabriel Damon, Nancy Cartwight, and Tress McNeille, are part of the cast, but the movie does employ Mickey Rooney (Flip) and René Auberjonois (Professor Genius).

little nemo adventures in slumberland nemo dead king morpheus

Looks like Nemo is dead guys…Dead Tired that is!!! Got you guys again!

The visuals for Little Nemo are quite strong.  The movie had originally looked at hiring Looney Tunes’ Chuck Jones and also briefly employed Hayao Miyazaki.  Brad Bird worked on the film for a bit and despite being Japanese based, the movie still is a bit more European-American in animation style…it also does a great job capturing the original art.  The movie uses a Wizard of Oz approach to the story with Nemo’s real world characters fitting into his dreams, I also do like how the Nightmare King resembles Fantasia’s Night on Bald Mountain’s demon.

Little Nemo:  Adventures in Slumberland is more for kids than many Pixar and Disney films today.  The adventure is simple, non-threatening, and fun (and a positive message on lying and overcoming fears).  Adults will be probably be bored by it, but I do recommend checking it out for a non-Disney, non-Pixar adventure that you probably haven’t seen.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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