Movies / Comics To Film News

Netflix The Sandman: Endlessly Entertaining


By Patrick Oliver
August 24, 2022 - 15:20

I can’t remember when I first became interested in the character of The Sandman. I’d heard of Neil Gaiman, his creator, of course - but how I came to pick up the first (of many) graphic novels published by Vertigo comics, I don’t know. But I do know that I was instantly hooked by the mixture of magic, mystery, mythology and masterful story-telling. The Sandman has great commercial pedigree, it’s a New York Times Bestseller, is considered one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. And that’s just for starters!

And so, when the first whispers that Netflix were doing an adaptation of some of the stories started to surface, and that Neil Gaiman was on board...I was very excited. It had to have been at least a decade since I’d read anything ‘Sandman’ related. But the memory of how the stories had made me feel, how the sheer breadth and depth of them had stunned me, was still fresh. If the Netflix adaptation could come close to that, I would be very impressed indeed. I’ve been having some much needed work done on my house and dealing with dust and disruption. Not least that my television was out of commission. The timing of this was spectacularly poor. It meant that I had to watch the first few episodes on my phone. And watch them I did. Or should I say devour them? Haha. Because late one evening I started to watch and that was it for the next few hours. I was completely immersed in The Dreaming, and nothing was pulling me out.

I will tell you this now. I was worried initially. Would it flop? Would there be too much CGI? Would it be changed beyond all recognition? All my fears, were unfounded. This adaptation, even with a narrative tweak or two, is a triumph. And you can tell that the people involved love the source material and want to do the very best they can to make other people love it too. The direction is assured and the acting is solid. The casting is excellent. All of the cast - no matter the size of their role – delivers. And the special effects are complimentary. You look at some of the scenes with wonder, but don’t really notice the special effects. Admire them yes, but be distracted by them? No. In fact, some of the cinematography could be out of a David Lean film, or a Michelangelo painting, I kid you not.

The Sandman Book One
But where was I? Oh yes, watching Netflix ‘The Sandman’, on my 'phone. Now you’d think this might have been a disadvantage, but it genuinely wasn’t. Why? Because I was so completely by this magic, tragic world, that I forgot I was even watching on a device. If anything watching on my phone may have made it a more intimate experience! Tom Sturridge is perfectly cast as Morpheus, King of Dreams. He is one of The Endless, near immortal and powerful beings who embody the traits given to them. ‘Dream’ as he is called, is a serious, focused and complex character, and he is portrayed with aplomb by Sturridge. His is an understated yet powerful performance, hinting at hurt, depth, and near-omnipresence.  In fact all of The Endless siblings that we see in this series, nail their parts, I won’t say which one’s are present here, because I feel like I’ve already written a spoiler there! My apologies to the people who haven’t seen the series yet – you’ll still love it. As have others who made it the top viewed show on Netflix 3 weeks in a row. All of the cast are excellent, no matter how small their role,

With a modern adaptation of a much-loved work, you take a risk if you tweak things too much. Changing a characters gender or character may irk or alienate some fans, but the nature of the work and some of the characters within it lends itself to being able to make and actually succeed with any such tweaks. If you are a fan, you’ll see what I mean. If you are completely new to this, you won’t even notice, as it doesn’t take anything away from the viewer’s pleasure.

Neil Gaiman, David. S. Goyer and Allen Heinburg have produced a wonderful piece of work, chock full of delights, dreams and nightmares. I can’t wait to watch it all over again.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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