Problems, downsides, etc. Nostalgia Critic reviewed it. When he did, I had one of those wide-eyed 'omg I remember this from before I started school *or maybe around that time*' at some of the artwork.
The big problems I saw watching it, (besides an annoyingly voiced pet), were mostly related to story-telling, character development, and maybe narrative.
1. The plot has so much over-used stuff in it, such as & including 'the liar revealed' that looking back is kinda hard to stomach.
2. This is a big issue, none of the characters have any depth. To a degree, that's to be expected; however, given how the movie is trying to draw you in and say this is or could be or might be real, it's a bit maddening we get maybe 2min+/- of development on the main character, nothing but maybe basic if not somewhat over-the-top exposition about who/what the others are, and it feels like if the movie was trying to give engaged feeling then leave the main character a blank slate and focus on the others. Instead we get a blank slate and caricatures just about.
3. Is in large part sequencing, probably unnecessary animation/scenes that could've been cut, or could've been justified had they done something like Paprika. Heck, there's even a pretty decent sized paradox of sorts that happens early on, that's never really explained, and is a bit of a head-scratcher for how the backstory of the location developed, if you think about it based on what the movie gives.
The movie shines, for me, in 3 areas. Music, artwork, and concept.
1. Concept: This is debatable since there's such a long history of products and productions prior to the the animated film. Obviously, the idea or concepts of the original materials must have been endearing enough to merit such expenditures and its possible profits were made. Basically, little boy is visited at night and taken to the kingdom of dreams to rule over, and has some misadventures along the way. Oversimplification, but this stuff's been around for a while and I might've messed up the description a bit. On the bright side, get the idea without spoilers or many spoilers if I remembered that correctly.
2. Music: Loved the music, specifically opening. I know this is a matter of opinion, but I like the lullaby type/style opening...even if the opening is so cheap I'm kinda curious if holds any records lol. The other music is situational, and this is musical that very well suits the mood. Only one song or so has any words is the opening...which might be why its easier for me to remember than the music used in other scenes. The closest movie I can think of in compare the scoring to in terms of appropriateness might be Howl's Moving Castle. There's one good song/melody that kinda defines the film and while the rest is harder to recall you remember it's good.
3. Artwork; this anime came out during the late 80's early 90's and looks like a walk down the holiday gift-cards sections....the classy ones that don't jokes or have that thick layer of gold foil to draw your attention to the small picture/building/scene inside. The artwork is aimed for kids in coloring, but not in style. Some items aren't given much detail while others are as are some of the 'effects' if you can call them that(former camp). I suppose you could call it a circus or carnival feel mixed with holiday cleanliness...for the most part both metaphorical and literal reasons.
So yeah, great for kids that haven't become addicted to action yet and something that's relatively mild and quiet for parents. There are some scenes that might be a bit scary but these thanks to the pacing/narrative/order of scenes I'm not quiet sure when they occur for a heads up.
Sorry it took me so long to reply, forgot to subscribe. Should be fixed now.