Caution: spoilers ahead.
Neil Gaiman is one of the most well-known and respected artists of all time and has brought a number of classic titles to life – including ‘Coraline and the Secret World’, ‘Stardust – The Mystery of the Star’, ‘American Gods’ and ‘The Ocean at the End of the Path’. More than that, adaptations of his works have always had considerable reception by critics and the public, reaffirming the importance of this extremely important novelist and comic artist for the culture. pop contemporary. And it’s no surprise to say that ‘Sandman’ is one of his most acclaimed and well-known works – which now gets a new version by the imperious giant of streaminga Netflix.
The premiere season, whose story spans ten episodes, poses like a dream come true. After all, for those who do not know the long journey of re-reading to the audiovisual world, several attempts to bring the magnum opus from Gaiman to life have taken place in recent years, all failing miserably for not being able to delve into the ethereal and metaphysical essence constructed by the author. Of course, we couldn’t help but take a step back to see Morpheus, Lucifer and so many other classic characters finally getting a guise live action – after all, the result could be incredible or a total disappointment. For the happiness of the spectators, the series fulfills its promise and, even using some conventionalisms of the fantastic genre, builds an engaging journey through the Waking World, the World of Dreams and the passionate and touching events that explode on the small screens.
The first step towards success was placing Gaiman as one of the consultants and executive producers – well, who better than the creator himself? ‘Sandman’ to reintroduce it to the fans? The second was having built, at least in the first three episodes of the iteration, a narrative line that introduces us to the main theme of the show – human ambition and the desire for the unattainable. The plot begins in the mid-1910s, in which an occultist named Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance gracing us with yet another flawless performance) gains access to a book that can imprison Death and that can bring her dead son back. However, his smug quackery traps another entity, Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), lord of the Dream World, and tries to barter his freedom in exchange for impossible desires. And that’s where it all starts to unravel.
Despite being rooted in the supernatural and magic, Gaiman’s works have always brought up themes of important reflection on society – not in a pessimistic way, but infused with a melancholy realism that excessive ambition is usually the cause of all evil. of the world. In ‘Sandman’, this is no different: once captured, Morpheus (or Dream, as he is also known) loses the ruby, helm and sand that serve as his objects of power – falling into the wrong hands and causing massive chaos to those who wield them. . When he manages to escape from his prison, he returns to the Dream World after “disappearing” for a century, and sets out on a quest to recover what was stolen from him and rebuild his kingdom.
While every cog in the series works with almost untouchable perfection, the most interesting part is how the opening chapters utilize the conventionalisms of the presentations to ensure that viewers don’t need to have read the original comics (but when you get the chance, be sure to bestow them on their magnanimous beauty). The story is intended for anyone who dares to step into this cosmos of mystery and magic – and we are engulfed by the macabre plots engineered from the first minutes. In this regard, Gaiman, together with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinbergknows how to work the characters in a way that they don’t give in to tiring and circumstantial impulses, giving enough time for them to develop unhurriedly and at an increasing pace.
In addition to Sturridge doing a great job as the titular protagonist, we have the presence of Vivienne Acheampong as Lucienne, female version of Lucien, librarian of the Dream World and faithful servant of Morpheus, who brings some reason and common sense to her master’s wrath and tries to help him as a power; Boyd Holbrook incarnating the villain Coríntio, whose characterization is absolutely excellent; Jenna Coleman as Johanna Constantine, descendant of John Constantine and scholar of the occult – a no-nonsense woman who carries traumas from a not-too-distant past and soon becomes embroiled in Morpheus’ endless search for his belongings; and Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar like Abel and Cain, respectively, brushed like acidic comic escapes that bring lightness and bizarreness to the scenes. And these are just some of the characters that appear so far.
If the performances are the center of our attention, along with the script, the technical and artistic advances that accompany the stellar cast are chosen with surprising caution. There is a certain dreamlike theatricality that adorns the realm controlled by Morpheus and his minions, in contrast to the excessive sobriety of a London marked by tragedy and the constant feeling that something bad is going to happen – summarized, for example, in the scenes that Johanna and Morpheus enjoy together. The soundtrack of David Buckley it works like the “icing on the cake”, not gaining a main expressiveness, but also not being exiled only as a decorative device – but a welcome and thought-provoking complement.
After so long waiting, ‘Sandman’ came out of creative limbo and gained a more than charming adaptation. The main idea of the new Netflix series (one of the best titles of the year, without a shadow of a doubt) is clear and should follow a straight path, with plenty of potential to take our breath away and present us with a jewel of contemporary audiovisual, powered by by the clash between leniency and the unknown.