After 20 years of failed film projects, The Sandman is finally on our screens (Picture: Liam Daniel/ Netflix)
After watching the first episode of The Sandman I fell asleep and dreamt that I was cycling across an Algerian courtyard peppered with lemon trees and, when I glanced down at my feet on the pedals, they were dissolving into… sand.
Thanks for that, Neil Gaiman.
Gaiman is, of course, the inspired imaginative maverick behind The Sandman, an epic fantasy spun around the power of dreams and nightmares that started life as a cult comic book and has long been considered unadaptable.
For 20 years film projects have started and stalled, defeated by the sheer nebulous enchantment of Gaiman’s vision.
But now here we have a 10-episode take on the opening sections of Gaiman’s work, approved by the man himself, that Netflix is surely banking on becoming an irresistible franchise for years to come.
Tom Sturridge, left, does a lot of staring (Picture: Netflix)
The CGI, a key to making The Sandman work, is impressive (Picture: Netflix)
That would account for a pacing in the opening episodes that is leisurely to say the least. But once The Sandman hits its stride there is a kind of magic at play here.
The opening may well prove too talky for some, even though central character, dream weaver Morpheus, doesn’t utter a word for a full hour.
Instead Tom Sturridge, naked and trapped in a glass bubble, looking like a Twilight wet dream, is required to communicate his bottled up power via intense stares. And boy can that boy stare.
From there the story spins off in a whirl of different directions, like dreams are apt to do.
The CGI, a key to making The Sandman work, is indeed impressive, but there’s playful joy in the back-up characters too, with Sanjeev Bhaskar and Asim Chaudhry as Cain and Abel, complete with cute baby gargoyle Goldie, surely worth their own spin-off – or at least a daydream.
They’re part of the rich fabric of an adaptation which, though it drifts over the top into portentous self-importance at times, feels true to Gaiman’s original creation.
So whether or not this is The Sandman you dreamt of – and all our dreams are just that, our dreams – it will get inside your head.
I won’t be cycling for a while, just in case.
The Sandman is available to stream on Netflix now.
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