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Tuesday 12 March 2013

Burl reviews Dreamscape! (1984)

Ha ha, don’t say haw, it’s Burl! Yes, I’m here to review a movie for you! It’s a picture from the 80s in which dreams are invaded! No, it’s not Brainstorm! It’s got government heavies chasing around a psychic person in the hopes of using their amazing powers for nefarious purposes! Ha ha, no, it’s not Firestarter! It’s a picture that stars Dennis Quaid and one that also takes two real words and mashes them together into one made-up word for its title! No, it’s not Innerspace! Give up? That’s right, it’s Dreamscape!

I saw this one in the movie theater, but it’s been many years since then! I’d forgotten what a fine cast this picture has! Dennis Quaid is the lead actor, doing the same cocky smarm bit we see in Innerspace! His leading lady is Kate Capshaw, who thankfully doesn’t scream, wail and moan here nearly as much as she does in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! It’s the supporting cast who really bring this movie up to snuff though! We get Max von Sydow, famed from his role in Hour of the Wolf, plus Christopher Plummer who is well known from The Silent Partner, plus George Wendt from Fletch and No Small Affair, and that all-time magical leprechaun bad guy, David Patrick Kelly of Commando renown! And then of course there’s Eddie Albert as the President! Ha ha, what a gang!
Quaid is a psychic who can move marbles and pick horses, and old Max is the brain professor who wants to draw him back into research and prodding! He’s figured out a way to pop psychics into other people’s dreams, where they can stand in the corner and say howdy or help out if it gets scary! Max and Kate Capshaw hope to use the process to help out the afflicted, like a moustache man who fears wifely infidelity, and a little boy who fears a snakeman! But meanwhile old Chris Plummer has other ideas, the old smoothie! Ha ha, not you too, Fukuda!

The trick effects are variable in quality, it must be said! When Dennis Quaid and a steelworker are dangling precariously from a girder, it’s great! When David Patrick Kelly becomes a snakeman, it’s still great, but fake as a moose! Ha ha, they used Replacement Animation to do this trick effect, and you can see the process pictured above! It looks a little wonky, I guess!

The movie’s not very suspenseful or scary, it has probably the worst score Maurice Jarre ever did, and it’s often silly, but it’s still a pretty enjoyable picture! I think this is thanks to the committed and talented actors, in particular von Sydow and Plummer! Those two fellows really know how to Take It To The Limit, ha ha! Anyway, Dreamscape is a great example of Mid-Budget Sci-Fi Pulp Preposterousness (a category that contains movies like The Philadelphia Experiment and Deep Star Six, ha ha!), and I give it two and a half Armageddon zombies!

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