Sommerleigh Pollonais, Featured Writer
Plot: Dream, the personification of dreams and nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured in an occult ritual in 1916. After being held captive for 106 years, Dream escapes and sets out to restore order to his realm, The Dreaming.
Context: I love movies (duh) but my love of books may actually run deeper. My Mom told me I use to sit and babble to myself while turning the pages of her books, long before I could speak in full sentences. And somewhere around ten or eleven years old I discovered the magical world of comic books. To the uninitiated comic books may be all superheroes in tights, but fans of the medium know this world of art meets the written word is so much more vast than that.
Luckily for us, we weren’t the only ones in love with comics and graphic novels and with the success of the MCU (and DCEU) we’re now seeing more complex stories adapted for the small screen. Some of my personal favourites have been Outcast, Watchmen and The Boys but while I enjoy(ed) them all Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaimian’s The Sandman might just be the finest of the bunch. Of course this depends on your love of the genre as not everyone enjoys fantasy and horror as much as I do, but even the hardest of critics would have to admit they get a lot right here.
Review: I already know I’m going to have to watch this series twice, like rewatch-it-as-soon-as-I’ve-finished-watching-it twice because the cinematography is so breathtaking I keep losing focus on the story. I found myself pausing episodes multiple times so I could take in the beautiful set pieces, images that were pulled directly from the comics and brought to glorious life. Add to that the haunting score and I’m transported to the world of Dream and his siblings in ways that feel worthy of the big screen.
Then there’s the casting which is, simply put, flawless. Tom Sturridge as Morpheus/Dream not only looks the part, but his deep yet gentle, commanding voice adds to the haunting otherworldliness of this character. Boyd Holbrook has washed away the bad taste he left with The Predator with his role here as Corinthian, a murderous nightmare who escaped the Dreaming, and Patton Oswalt as the voice of Matthew the Raven just works! Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, David Thewlis as John Dee, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, I could go on and on but I’ll just finish by saying there wasn’t a character here I didn’t enjoy to some degree, even the ones who weren’t meant to be in the story. Which takes me into my complaints, nitpicky as they maybe.
I wish DC Entertainment and Warner Bros would get their stuff together so we could finally get to see a comic adaptation not affected by their inability to plan properly. That way we could’ve seen Matt Ryan, who currently plays John Constantine on DC Legends of Tomorrow ACTUALLY take on the role in The Sandman, instead of having to swap him out with the gender-bent Johanna Constantine (played by Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman). Although points for pronouncing Constantine correctly. Or how about the fact the Demon Etrigan, one of DC’s coolest characters, was also swapped out for a lesser character Squatterbloat (Martin Ford) the demon-duke who guides Dream to meet Lucifer in Hell (Episode 4 – A Hope in Hell). They’ve been messing things up since Smallivlle was on television and I for one would love to see them plan things out ahead of time (for once) so my favourite stories and characters aren’t always sidelined or wasted.
Nitpicking I know, but it did bother me. That aside, The Sandman is one of those stories I never thought could be adapted properly and while there are a few hiccups now and again, Neil Gaiman, David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg pulled it off beautifully. Any series that makes me want to instantly sit back and watch it all over again without waiting months or years is truly something special. The faithfulness to the material is to be commended, with writing, acting and directing so good I have multiple favorite episodes (24/7, A Hope in Hell and The Sound of Her Wings, just to name a few) which is not something I find myself saying of most shows.
I’m happy to say, it’s no dream—The Sandman series is real and it’s one of the best comic book to television adaptations you could be watching right now. So don’t fall asleep on this one.
Score 9 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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