“The Sandman” on Netflix, pure poetic and visual flight | Remarkable adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s work

It was one chimera: see Sandman on the screen. Big or small, it didn’t matter. It is considered a comic impossible to adapt. But what could be a nightmare for the old guard of fans turns out to be a dream come true. Sandman premieres today on Netflix and yes, there will be readers who resent this or that minimal change to the original vignette, but the truth is that it is not only a product incredibly true to the letter and spirit of paper, but also an exceptional series in every way.

Sandman Follow in the footsteps of Dream, the governing entity of dreams and nightmares throughout the universe. A being, easy to guess, quite powerful. But dream turns out caught on Earth and after more than a century of captivity, he manages to free himself. From there he must find his attributes of power, scattered across different planes, and rebuild his kingdom, torn to shreds by his absence. This season adapts the first two plot arcs of the comic (“Preludes and Nocturnes” and “Dollhouse”) published between 1989 and 1990. The “guarantee” for its readers is that the creator of Sandman himself, the very Neil GaimanHe was strongly involved in the project and defends it tooth and nail on social networks (reading him refuting trolls and neoconservatives on Twitter is a feast). It is not for less: for years he rejected initiatives to film his greatest creation, warning that they deviated from the original spirit or that they would not live up to his dreams. Netflix put what had to be put (silver, structure) and left to the creator and an impressive team of co-writers, directors and actors who leave everything and more in each scene. up to the huge david mckeanoriginal cover artist of the 75 issues of the comic and retired For years, he turned on the computer to make the closing credits, a different one for each chapter.

Here it is worth stopping. The performances of the cast are superlative and it would be very strange that in a year they do not wipe out as many television prizes as there are. what of tom sturidge in the leading role she is monumental, not only from the subtlety of her gestures and her deep voice, which almost seems to have the texture of the “little balloons” that characterized her in the comic, but also from her bodily expressiveness. There is a handling of her body that impresses, especially in the opening chapter in which he is captive and barely opens his mouth. what of gwendoline christie (yes, Brienne of Tarth in game of Thrones) like Lucifer, the fallen angel and rector of Hades is infernal, with her immaculate white clothes and her cheeks and pouts like a conservative lady from deep England, soft-spoken and kindly willing to put the fear of God in the body the condemned from any kind of torment perpetrated in a sordid basement. Yes, the image of David Bowie served as inspiration to Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg to bring the character to paper. But Bowie dead, the truth is that Christie’s casting turns out to be phenomenal.

Secondly, Kirby Howell-Baptiste makes a Death (older sister of Dream, also an Eternal) as charming as the one in the panels, concerned about her brother and kind to those whose time has run out. Boyd Holbrooklike the Corinthian, he is impressive and the great comedian patton oswalt giving voice to Matthew, the raven from Sueño, is another success. stephen fry like gilbert the david thewlis (a Remus Lupine in the saga Harry Potter) like John Dee eat the screen in each appearance, the same as mason alexander park as Desire (sister of Dream), as fascinating as it is repulsive (something that could also be said of the demon Mazikeen), in a gesture deeply faithful to its very concept. And, as if all this were not enough, mark hamill (Luke Skywalker, of course) provides the voice of Mervin Pumpkinhead, a sort of maintenance man from the Dreaming. that besides Charles Dance (better known as Tywin Lannister) being the captor of Sueño is an invaluable yapa.

If you add to that tremendous cast an amazing art direction and photographya story that deserves any award imaginable for Best Adapted Screenplay and a production made not with love, but with total devotionthe enthusiasm of these lines will be understood. It is that many, who also subscribes, waited for this adaptation for more than 25 years. If it works, it is not only because it sticks closely to the facts of the comic (although there are minor changes and a certain rearrangement in order to get closer to today’s audiovisual rhythms), but above all because the series makes explicit the heart of Gaiman’s background proposal: that what happens when we sleep, good or bad, shapes our daytime life and even reality itself, and that the protagonist is a dry and cold guy who, slowly (very slowly), discovers that he has blood in the veins and that perhaps it is not so bad to live with, by and for others.

In the process there are some frankly exceptional chapters. The fourth, “A hope in hell”, which takes Morpheus to Hell to retrieve his helmet, surprises by his ability to generate tension in the viewer, even one who remembers line by line how the dispute is resolved in the comic. There is some very clever workmanship there and the result is monumental. The same could be said of “The sound of his wings”, in which the series presents Death, who flows with a beautiful naturalness and is, broadly speaking, a extensive fraternal dialogue in which Death tells his little brother not to be such a jerk.

Though It does not have a second season confirmed yet. (not that Netflix is ​​very reliable in that area), the first has everything to work. Which also gives hope. Critics acknowledge that the role’s first story arc is the least powerful in the comic. But by “less powerful” you have to understand “it doesn’t have the flight and quality of the following”. It was Gaiman introducing his creation, but still doing it in a great way. Already in the second arc, with the tone set, the Englishman is on fire and throwing one magic after another. That is why it is inevitable to enjoy and wait for the second season.

Some gestures and winks of this suggest that it could include aspects of plot arcs three, four and five of the comic. “Country of Dreams”, the third, is a series of unitaries and could well function as stuffeda little to the way he appears in this season Gadling Hob. The fourth, on the other hand, “Fog Station”, is directly linked to Morpheus’ visit to Hell and its consequences, so it should be a fixed number. The fifth “A game of you” (“A game of you” in the original) follows Barbie facing Cuco to recover her dreams. In purely speculative terrain and without spoilers, it is worth saying that she is mentioned when passing Cuco in one chapter, so she could well reach the screen.

why Sandman

Sandman, clearly, he is not a superhero. His only interest is that his kingdom and his creations, be they dreams or nightmares, behave according to his purpose. Then, what humanity does, its conflicts and its miseries, they don’t really care about. However, Gaiman’s stories around the figure of him became one of the key comics of the 90’s. While other genres within the ninth art reached unspeakable quotas of pus and lipids, the English screenwriter proposed a story of strong poetic contentbuilt with an unusual intelligence and an especially deep conceptual density. Rarely does anyone finish “understanding” The Sandman. There is always a new layer of meaning to discover, a new wink in a line spoken (written) in passing.

In addition to Neil Gaiman on the scripts, The Sandman had a list of notable cartoonists. Sam Kieth is usually listed as a co-creator, but Mike Dringenberg added his own later on, as did Kelley Jones, Jill Thompson, Charles Vess, and Chris Bachallo (probably the one who drew Death the best). It’s crazy that with such names they are rarely mentioned, but that’s how impressive Gaiman’s writing is.

For this reason, and in a strange way, in that decade The Sandman became the comic to make those who did not read comics read. Not only won 26 Eisner Awards. She won a prestigious literary prize (the World Fantasy Award) and caused so much anger in the writers, who considered discipline a minor thing and did not tolerate that some “cartoons” took the trophy, that they kicked until they changed the rules so that a cartoon would never spoil their celebration again.

The Sandman was published by the Vertigo label, a space within dccomics dedicated to “adult” comics, with stronger graphic, philosophical and political content than its colorful superhero counterpart. Vertigo, then commanded by the lucidity of Karen Bergerwas born as a space to contain the quagmire thingof Alan Moore, and that initial success opened the doors to a lot of creators, including many other British people willing to tell stories different from those that inhabited the North American scene. In that ideal context, Gaiman was told “take this character and reinvent him, because he doesn’t interest us the way he is”. Y what was an unsaleable vigilante became something elsein a universal entity that spoke to the reader about the enjoyment, commitment and love that there is in telling and reading stories. And he did it through 75 perfectly round numbers. That is why, without a doubt, a successful adaptation like this is a dream come true.

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