Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously offers viewers a fly-on-the-wall look at Neil Gaiman on the road, interacting with fans and experiencing the struggles and joys of being an acclaimed public speaker and in-demand personality. One of the best “comic” events I went to in recent years was watching Gaiman at his Washington, DC stop on this tour and listening to him wax poetically about his career, life, and philosophy. His personality is magnetic and if you ever get a chance to see him speak in person, jump at it.
The film delves deeply into Neil’s writing process, exploring the childhood origins of his love of mythology, up to his struggles to keep his writing fresh after 25 years of successful storytelling. It’s a fascinating exploration and peak behind the curtain of a man who is one of the few rockstar writers in the world. Having crossed over from prose to comics, back and forth, again and again, Gaiman gives a very honest look at a person who enjoys writing but recognizes the role his fans play in it all. It’s apparent through his interactions, and his musings, this is a creator who appreciates the fandom that has arisen around him, but at the same time is still uncomfortable with it all, because it’s not what he his, which is a writer first and foremost.
The film includes unique interviews with Amanda Palmer, George RR Martin, Grant Morrison, Bill Hader, Michael Sheen, Kirsten Vangsness, Lenny Henry, Will Wheaton and many more key figures in Neil’s creative and personal life. Each brings a unique perspective due to their personal knowledge of the man, or their own experiences being touched by his writing.
The movie is about a fantasy writer who is in a way living in a fantasy world of his own creation. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t live in reality. As the movie shows, he is living a life that many of us would dream about. He gets to daydream and create stories about those dreams, and by doing so is adored across the world. And by evidenced by the film, adored is an understatement as individuals gush and melt when meeting him. He is very much creating his own reality and that in a way is touched upon as Gaiman discusses his career and the choices he’s made to get in the position he now finds himself. It’s a story about a writer as well as the underlying philosophy that has driven his life and touched upon everything from job choices to fatherhood.
It’s an interesting look at Gaiman, and one that is as much about him as it is his fans around him. This is a documentary on tour as he crisscrosses nations showing the wear and tear such touring he has on him as he longs to sit down and do what he loves which is write.
And I think that’s what’s fascinating about the film. By doing such a tour he can’t write. But, by writing, he can’t tour. There seems to be a lack of balance between the two, and it’s clear everyone he surrounds himself with recognizes that. By giving back to fans, he in a way is holding back more that the fans can enjoy.
Dream Dangerously is a fascinating documentary and one I’d recommend not just for fans of Gaiman, but also those interested in the writing process.
Overall Rating: 8.45
Respect! Films provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review