Dreamscape might be stuck in the 1980s but it’s full of captivating ideas. Starring Dennis Quaid as a man who can enter people’s dreams, Joseph Ruben’s effort involves political intrigue, terrorism and classic 80s heroism in a film that is very much of its time.
Dreamscape is a film of incredibly captivating ideas that at times feels a little too trapped in the 80s, but remains enjoyable nonetheless.
Once you get past the overly dramatic, cheesy music that seems to add more humour than fear, and accept that the low cut jumpers sported by Dennis Quaid (Alex) are pretty much a staple of the movie, then you’re in for a pretty interesting ride.
In a mere hour and a half, Joseph Ruben has managed to bring three varied storylines to the surface without any of them feeling too trapped, not an easy task in such a short timeframe. The film is a little trashy, but this is the 80s after all, and this feels very much like a B movie; so all things considered I think it’s a little unfairly underrated.
First off we have the science fiction adventure, made into a thriller through the concept of Alex and Tommy (David Patrick Kelly) entering others nightmares at a research facility. Now the graphics might not have withstood the test of time but there are moments which are genuinely frightening, which is pretty impressive for an 80s sci-fi adventure.
Not only do we have this adventure/thriller hybrid, we witness the love story between Alex and Jane (Kate Capshaw), and also have the whole political conspiracy theory thrown in there through Blair’s (Christopher Plummer) plan to assassinate the president in his sleep after he suffers with night terrors.
The thing to remember when watching Dreamscape is not to take it too seriously, if you can take the graphics with a pinch a salt and enjoy the overall tones of gentle humour, and old school horror, then you could be in for a good old fashioned laugh. It isn’t the best film, of its time or now, but Dennis Quaid gives a memorable performance (with and without the low cut jumpers), that allows us to follow his journey from lucky psychic to genuine hero.
Given that Dreamscape greatly predates Inception, I’m almost sad that I didn’t see Dreamscape beforehand. It is clear that a lot of plot points and ideas have been borrowed throughout the years across cinema and turned into new concepts, with better graphics and more advanced filming in general, that in turn make films like Ruben’s sort of drift into the distance. It would be nice to see Dreamscape have a chance within the higher cult realms but that is something I think I will have to cross my fingers on, because if it hasn’t happened by now, I’m not convinced it is going too.
The film is very bizarre, very weird and very very eighties. But if you fancy a change and like the strange twisty-type genres of film, then it’s certainly worth a watch!
Written by Leah Jade Wimpenny
Directed by: Joseph Ruben
Written by: David Loughery, Chuck Russell, Joseph Ruben
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert, Kate Capshaw
Released: 1984 / Genre:
Country: USA / IMDB
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Top 10 Films reviewed Dreamscape on Blu-ray courtesy of Second Sight. The film was released on Blu-ray on July 31, 2017.