One of the best fantasy writers living today is followed during his final autograph tour before retiring from the public spotlight to focus on the one thing that keeps him going, writing. The chances are that you are either a fan of Gaiman, or you have seen something of his and like it but don’t know his name. His huge fan base are loyal to their core and they turn out in force to meet him when an appearance is announced. Here in Dream Dangerously we have a look behind the Wizard’s curtain as we talk to fans around the world, his colleagues, and the man himself.
As a comic writer, no where near Gaiman’s league, I sat and watched this film with more interest right off the bat than any other documentary that I’ve reviewed. Usually you sit there and wonder are you going to be entertained or are you just watching a vanity pet project by the director. But I’ve admired this guy for years and followed his work and the depth that it contains.
The story which starts off the documentary is that Gaiman has been spending too much time doing the signing tours that promote his work and was developing problems with his hands and also taking time away from developing his stories the way that you can. Neil Gaiman has decided to retire from these signings and goes on one last tour to make sure that anyone who wants to meet him and have one of his many books signed gets the chance to do so. You feel the immense love that he has for his fans, who have provided him with a great living over the years, and the passion that they have for him.
The documentary while being informative and could be a great resource for writers entering the field in the coming years should have had a more powerful impact. I’m not saying that this is terrible by any use of the word, it’s just that a man like this, with such a huge body of work already, should have had more depth to it than we see here. From TV, Movies, Comics, and novels, with my personal favourite being The Graveyard Book, there could have been a deeper understanding of the man from the fans instead of the gushing praise. He deserves that praise but when you have Penelope from Criminal Minds just sitting there geeking out royally about the man, rather than going into the breath of work that has made her this way, it’s a little too much like an ego boost for him. One that he doesn’t seem to want and certainly doesn’t need.
Gaiman is shown to be a nice guy who hasn’t let his talent go to his head and looks thankfully on his fans and readers. We go through his history and how he always knew that writing was going to be his life.
I really enjoyed watching this documentary, but I really love reading the mans work. What would have been better though is if the film makers decided to go deeper, to take this chance before Neil turns his back on the world to bring us better worlds to delve deeper into the soul. It’s factual as a documentary should be but lacks the heart that would lift it from educational to be as fantastical as his mind is. Aspiring writers and artists would be well served in watching this, even if they don’t know that they know him, and learning to have some of his humility. Neil Gaiman proves that your talent should speak for itself. This documentary is just entering the realms of okay, which is not okay for a man like this.
Director: Patrick Meaney
Stars: Neil Gaiman, Henry Barajas, Elizabeth Barrial