Dreamscape (1984)

Posted: 14th September 2010 by Mister Critic in Movies
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I meant to post this right after the Inception post, but life got the better of me.  By happenstance (or was it fate?), I stumbled upon Dreamscape on Netflix Instant movies right before seeing Inception. Apparently, I missed the Dreamscape boat on the first go around back in 1984. But look at that cover! This looks like something I would have loved as a kid. I mean it looks just like Indiana Jones . . . but of dreams!

However, wow, covers can be deceiving. I am sorry to anyone who loved this movie back in the day. It is not a good movie.  First of all, the premise is that Dennis Quaid is a psychic whiz kid who is too cool for school, acting like a poor man’s Han Solo. He’s wasting his talents at race track making lots of money. And he plays the saxophone. Not important to the plot really, just shows he’s a cool cat. But soon he is kidnapped by this secret, government(?), research group and they convince him to help them with program they are developing: a way to use his psychic powers to enter other people’s dreams and interact with the dreamer. So Quaid reluctantly goes along with the program by doing things like helping save a kid from some creepy nightmares, and helping a guy get with his impotence problem.  But it turns out a person can die in dreams and perhaps the program is being used for other purposes, like MURDER.  I don’t want to say who the target is, less for spoiler reasons and more because I don’t want to end up on some government watch list for posting the magic words that get you on a no fly list. Let’s just say it is the highest level government official of the United States of Americans.

Anyway, the other plus of the movie is that it has Norm from Cheers. I can’t tell, but I hope he made it on the cover.  SPOILER ALERT: you get to see him die.

Inception is proof that Dreamscape could have been a great movie. It was just made in the wrong decade by the wrong director with the wrong cast and the wrong plot.  And the effects sucked. The movie relied heavily on Claymation, and that is creepy (more on this in a future post), don’t get me wrong. But these are dreams, man. It should have been either a fun adventure as promised by the cover, or a horror movie, although in that respect, Nightmare on Elm Street did the dying in dreams thing much better.

And the worst part for me was the main character’s love interest, Kate Capshaw, who will forever be known to me as the annoying woman that ruined the Temple of Doom with her whinny voice.  In this movie it is just assumed that she should be into Quaid’s character. No real reason given. She is a successful career woman, a research scientist, she doesn’t need some punk kid who is too immature to understand the need to use his psychic abilities for good rather than gambling. And she tells him she’s not into a relationship because it could jeopardize her career, but does he respect that? No, instead he goes into her dreams, without her consent and tries takes advantage of her during a private sex dream. This movie should have been called DreamRape, not Dreamscape. No means no even in the dream world, right?

Anyway, very disappointing. This movie was not the stuff dreams are made of, or whatever corny dream reference you want to insert. Maybe someday someone will make a cool Indiana Jones of Dreams.


 


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