Review of Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

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Year: 1989 - Runtime: 95 - Director: Masami Hata, William Hurtz - Writer(s): Chris Columbus, Richard Outten
Country: Japan, USA - Language: English - Parental Guide: PG - Color: Color

Little Nemo: Adventures in SlumberlandRating: ★★★★★★★★★☆


Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland is a fantastic family adventure. Its cult status is solidly confirmed after resting in overall obscurity since its release in 1989. It follows the adventures of Nemo, a boy who pretends to sleepwalk in order to sneak off and steal some pie. He is visited at night by Professor Genius who is out to capture him and take him to Slumberland. Though it sounds like the perfect plot device for a CSI kidnap/rape case, it actually sets off a whimsical tale of love and escapism.

Reason to Watch

Little Nemo may seem like a children’s story, and it overtly is, but the ending is dark and twisted, the villains believable and sinister, and the plot progresses at a quality immediate pace. It sticks out in memory far and beyond family films of its kind.


Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland is simply one of the best children’s fantasy stories from Japan, and seems to include every specific cliche and plot device to make it as lovable and endearing as possible. To name a few- pretty princesses, flying squirrels, a circus, and a huge trainset.

Most Memorable Quote(s)
  • Nemo: What are you wanted for? 
    Flip: Having fun. 
    Nemo: Having fun? 
    Flip: Yeah, they don’t like it when you have fun here. Heh. 
  • Flip: Care to come along Princess’y? I’ll even let you carry my cigars. 
  • Professor Genius: I am a professor. I am a genius. You may call me Professor Genius. And this is Bon Bon. 
What You Need to Get Through This Movie

A whimsical point of view of a nine year old boy, a love of toys, trains, and kings. No? Too hard? find a time machine or go watch some depressing story about a middle aged male with a receding hair line and 2 years shy of a midlife crisis

  • The Imp was the only character from the original comic strip to not make an appearance in this movie due to his racial caricature.
  • This is the first anime film to receive a widespread national U.S. theatrical release.
Educational Content

Pretending to sleepwalk works if you want pie, doesn’t work if you want to go out to the bar late at night and pretend it wasn’t “you”

Justification for Rating

It may not be the most typical cult film, but in the world of family-friendly adventure films from Japan featuring boys in dreams, this one is surely the cream of the crop.


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