Grip that pole, Nemo.
There has been one full-length animated film based on Little Nemo in Slumberland and the characters of Winsor McCay. A Japanese-American co-production it was released in Japan (titled simply Nemo) on July 15, 1989.
The Miyazaki film Kiki's Delivery Service opened one week later, and as the McCay-inspired work is entirely pedestrian and predictable and Miyazaki is a fucking genius, Nemo was a box-office disaster. Perhaps its mediocrity has to do with the fact that Chris Columbus has co-credit as screenwriter and everything he touches is awful.
I had never watched Nemo until after the rehearsal process for our Adventures In Slumberland began last week. However, I knew exactly what it would be, and how it would fail, and in what shape I wanted my guide-script to take in order to avoid those obvious, traditional pitfalls.
I needn't have been worried. This film never concerns itself with homage, it's just a stupid, noisy kiddie flick.
Things that are awful about this movie include:
- The first five minutes are a horrifying nightmare rife with nakedly Freudian "rushing train" symbolism.
- Though McCay's entire concept is predicated on Nemo's desire to meet the Princess, here he finds the idea repugnant because she's a girl.
- Flip is voiced by Mickey Rooney.
Nemo (the motion picture) also inspired a popular video game, Pajama Hero Nemo which is virtually indistinguishable from all other cabinet video games released in 1990 (X-Men, The Simpsons) in which a stationary protagonist while the background moves from right to left (side-scrolling) who just kind of destroys everything that enters their line of vision.
"Adventures In Slumberland, a holiday play of Little Nemo" is available in paperback and eBook.