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a neat and faithful adaptation that forgets to dream to fly higher

a neat and faithful adaptation that forgets to dream to fly higher

Fit ‘The Sandman’ it was not an easy task. Perhaps that is why his story has been tumbling from producer to producer for more than 30 years. First they wanted to make it into a movie and in 2016 they were very close to achieving it. In fact, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was going to be its director and protagonist. Nothing like a powerful creator and actor to add more hype to the project. But things went wrong. Gordon-Levitt abandoned ship and the intention to bring ‘The Sandman’ to the screen was shipwrecked again.

in these that arrived Netflix and was interested. The creator of graphic novels himself, Neil Gaman, became personally involved in the project and everyone else decided that to bring together all that was important in the vignettes, it was better to make a series than a movie. If not, too much would be lost along the way. With such wickers, everything looks like a fable. Now that the series is between us and we have been able to see its 10 episodes It’s time to answer the big question: is ‘The Sandman’ up to the hype? Go for it…

Tom Sturridge is Dream, Morpheus, Sandman... many are the names for the King of Dreams.

What we like

the first episode

the series starts tremendously well. Its first episode lays the groundwork in an exemplary way. It puts in front of us, the viewers, all the cards face up so that we understand the universe of the series and how it works: who is Morpheus, why does he do what he does and the serious problem he faces. A problem that, it is true, fishtails during the ten episodes although the series he forgets about it in some And that’s something we’ll look at further down. But if we focus on how ‘The Sandman’ starts, there will be very few people who see the first episode and do not want to continue with the series. The atmosphere created, the actors (magnificent Charles Dance who always embroiders his roles as a bad guy) and the magnitude of the problem that arises result in a tremendously enjoyable pilot episode.

Morpheus spends more than a century captured and the World of Dreams ends up falling apart.

Death

It is one of the sisters of Morpheus. And it’s the one he gets along with the best. Neil Gaiman was tremendously demanding during the casting until they found the actress that fit the character. And he does not surprise us because he is a capital role in the comics. the british Kirby Howell-Baptiste It was finally the chosen one and it is one of the culprits that the god of sleep ends up liking us. At least in the only episode in which she appears. She is tender, she is understanding, she is wonderful. It is otherwise to what we usually associate with the incarnations of the Grim Reaper that have been made in other fictions. Only for her is worth the 6th episode that bears the title ‘The sound of her wings’.

Kirby Howell-Baptiste embodies a Death that is unlike any other.

the fifth chapter

And since we are talking about specific episodes, the previous one, the 5th (’24 hours’) is another of the moments of the series. A “momentazo” lasting almost an hour that can be, without a doubt, the best ever. A location, seven characters and a spiral of human misery disguised as passions and truths. It does not take more for the bad vibes to stay in your body for a long time. The tension and the macabre of what happens is tremendously well achieved. Especially if we compare it with that story as it is told in the comic.

David Thewlis is John Dee in 'The Sandman'

These characters are going to know what happens when you can't lie to hide your feelings.

the corinthian

In a dream world like ‘The Sandman’, personifying evil could have been a tremendous challenge. Luckily Gaiman pulled a terrifying villain out of his sleeve with a tremendously attractive image. Not the main one in the story, but a temporary one that, in the end, is the antagonist of this first season. A more than solvent Boyd Holbrook (‘Narcos’, ‘Logan’) makes up ‘Corinthian’a nightmare taken from the world of dreams that does not want to return to it and that takes advantage of the imprisonment of Morpheus to escape and sow chaos and death. It’s seductive, it’s Machiavellian, is a bad guy who hooks although they could not give him more travel because in the series he has more than he is granted in the comics. And you better keep your glasses on…

The Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook) is more terrifying for what he hides than for what he shows.

Faithful to the end

If this series stands out for something, it is for the fidelity and extreme respect to comics which adapts In fact, there are scenes and shots from the first episode that are taken as is. The rest of the episodes also drink a lot from the vignettes as well as the history that it covers and that does not go beyond the first volumes of the graphic novels. That fidelity benefits you for know where to go, don’t beat around the bush and tie well a story that it will not be to everyone’s taste.

The imagery of the series is traced to that of the comics.

What we like least

scattered history

That fidelity that we have just talked about, and which is true that it is a great point in favor, has a double edge. The series makes that for more than half of the episodes they focus on one or two plots that end soon and seeing characters that disappear never to return. The same thing happens in the comics. Until the plot is established in continuity and we discover where Gaiman wants to go we are tumbling. Tumbos for interesting stories but that can make the average viewer disengage. Above all because they are self-contained stories with very little travel, and what is worse, with tremendously interesting characters (johanne constantine for example and that asks for a series for herself as Neil Gaiman himself has already insinuated) that they do not appear again in the whole series. It can unsettle more than one and make them wonder: “but does this have something to do with what they told me in the previous episode?”.

This character is a gem and it's a shame that we enjoy him so little.

Tom Sturridge

It’s painful but that’s how it is. Tom Sturridge try but does not reach. He dreams of being a Dream, but something big is coming for him. Maybe I have to see the visual style of the series who teaches us as more like a fan of The Cure that as the real king of dreams. It is true that the character in the comics was an image between ethereal and sinister with the hairs of robert smith but the visual imprint that Gaiman gave him did the rest and made him a memorable character. Yes, Sturridge is solemn, he is serious, he is momentous. This is the Dream of the comics, but there is something that does not fit And, as the series draws to a close it increases the feeling. We care more about the rest of the characters than the protagonist himself.

Tom Sturridge is not a bad Dream.  We've had worse for sure... but also better.

little visual ambition

The series delivers. The effects too. Both in the computer generated characters and in the landscapes and settings but… to the series he lacks that overwhelming personality that was in the vignettes and that he did almost 50% of what ‘The Sandman’ is. If you want to adapt ‘The Sandman’ you have to nail the visual atmosphere of Gaiman. Netflix hasn’t quite nailed it. missing a dot. And it is something that is almost a common trait with the rest of the fantastic productions on the platform. Namely, it cannot be said that the series is “badly done”. The effects comply and are not even noticeable in many scenes (which is the best compliment that can be given to any special effect) but they seem to be cut from the same cloth. They are not suggestive, they do not wrap the story. They are cold, aseptic and ‘The Sandman’ should be anything but a “cold” series. We are talking about the world of dreams and in it, there is seldom room for the generic.

The effects look good but it is far from a strong visual style that would have given the series another air.

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