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Dreamscape

Review by: 
Billion$Baby
Release Date: 
1984
Studio: 
MIA
Genre: 
SF/Horror
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
2 PAL
Aspect Ratio: 
1.78:1
Directed by: 
Joseph Ruben
Cast: 
Dennis Quaid
Max Von Sydow
Movie: 
3
Extras: 
0
Bottom Line: 
2

 Before The Cell came around, someone had already come up with a very similar idea. Rather than entering the mind of a killer, this film came up with the earlier premise of entering folk's dreams instead. Pretty risky stuff really, anyone who enters my fucked up sexual/horror dreams is likely to spend the rest of their lives dribblin' on a couch. Unless their name is David Cronenberg.
 
So Dreamscape stars Dennis "remember me?" Quaid, Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer and Kate "I broke a nail!" Capshaw. Oh, and Norm from Cheers also turns up for a while. I rather like Dennis Quaid, he's one of those strange actors who exudes charisma for seemingly no discernable reason. Here Quaid plays Alex Gardner, a psychic who makes his living from gambing. Von Sydow and Plummer strongarm Alex into joining a new scientific project enabling psychics to enter troubled folks dreams to discover what their problems are and how they can be best solved.
 
The film's comedy lines are kept for Quaid who makes the most of his amusing quips but as you'd anticipate from a feature like this, it's the surreal dreams themselves that are the actual highlights. Apart from the hilarious dream where a man discovers his wife having sex with numerous folks in front of their children, the dreams tend to be pleasingly dark nightmarish fantasies. The intense nightmare of a child impresses with it's crazy angled set, uncaring father and snake-headed monster, as do the apocalyptic who pushed the button nightmares of the President of the United States.
 
The government run project soon shows it's true colours when it emerges that the ability to project your concious mind into other folk's Before The Cell came around, someone had already come up with a very similar idea. Rather than entering the mind of a killer, this film came up with the earlier premise of entering folk's dreams instead. Pretty risky stuff really, anyone who enters my fucked up sexual/horror dreams is likely to spend the rest of their lives dribblin' on a couch. Unless their name is David Cronenberg.
 
So Dreamscape stars Dennis "remember me?" Quaid, Max Von Sydow, Christopher Plummer and Kate "I broke a nail!" Capshaw. Oh, and Norm from Cheers also turns up for a while. I rather like Dennis Quaid, he's one of those strange actors who exudes charisma for seemingly no discernable reason. Here Quaid plays Alex Gardner, a psychic who makes his living from gambing. Von Sydow and Plummer strongarm Alex into joining a new scientific project enabling psychics to enter troubled folks dreams to discover what their problems are and how they can be best solved.
 
The film's comedy lines are kept for Quaid who makes the most of his amusing quips but as you'd anticipate from a feature like this, it's the surreal dreams themselves that are the actual highlights. Apart from the hilarious dream where a man discovers his wife having sex with numerous folks in front of their children, the dreams tend to be pleasingly dark nightmarish fantasies. The intense nightmare of a child impresses with it's crazy angled set, uncaring father and snake-headed monster, as do the apocalyptic who pushed the button nightmares of the President of the United States.
 
The government run project soon shows it's true colours when it emerges that the ability to project your concious mind into other folk's subconsciousness has clear applications for obtaining military secrets or for assassination purposes. From that point onwards, Quaid's character is forced to stop joking around and fight the evil powers that be.
 
This film is rather hokey but it's a lot of fun and fans of crazy visuals or dark fantasies should find enough in here to be entertained by. Dreamscape is slightly dated by the old-school effects utilised but
it does well enough with what it had available at the time and it wisely doesn't have any pretensions about what it really is. The three male leads (Von Sydow, Plummer and Quaid) also add a great deal to this rather simplistic yet enjoyable little or no-brainer fantasy.
 
How about the disc? Well, quite frankly, this region 2 release is a complete dog turd which has been released by MIA. Having seen MIA's A Man Called Hero and Sleepless dvds, I sure as hell know that they can do a lot better than this when they set their minds
to it. I paid a fiver for this disc in a sale and I'm certainly not gonna keep it. Frighteningly, this disc usually carries a full retail price of around ten bloody quid. I kind of suspected that the disc would be cack from the quality of the packaging alone. I've seen pirated films with better covers than this one.
 
The film isn't anamorphic but that I can handle. What I can't handle is the way that if I increase the picture X2 on my widescreen, the grainy print is then missing information both at the top and bottom of the screen. So I can either suffer from that or just increase it X1 in which case there's thin black bars to still be seen and everyone looks like they've been hit over the head with a large sledgehammer. Or, you can just watch it in 4:3 mode instead. Great, well done MIA, thanks a lot. As the disc clearly states "Widescreen Special Edition" that's a complete piss-take.
 
As for the "Special Edition" claim. You get bios and filmographies (wow) for the four leads, a trailer that's looks it was found aboard the sunken Titanic vessel, some pictures taken from the film for those unlucky people who can't operate pause buttons, and a 14 second compilation of monster footage taken directly from the movie. MIA - just who do you think you're fooling here?! Add the 2.0 piece of shit sound which has a constant "shhhhh" type noise throughout and which also goes momentarily silent on two occasions when the characters are talking and there you have it - A CRAP SUB-PAR VHS QUALITY "DVD".
 
The bottom line - a good but slightly dated film on a worse than shit region 2 disc. Fuck off MIA. Now where did I put that receipt?

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