The 1980s was a strange time for cinema. The Cold War was reaching its endgame and technological advancements were heralding a whole new era of gaming and lifestyle possibilities. It was a fertile environment which allowed science fiction and fantasy cinema to flourish. Dennis Quaid seemed to be synonymous with the former. Innerspace and Enemy Mine feel of their time, but it’s Joseph Ruben’s Dreamscape where all the elements which made the decade neatly intersect.
Psychic prodigy Alex Gardner (Quaid) eschewed science and put his talents towards reaping nefarious personal gain. However, his gambling and womanising has brought him to the attention of a local gangster (Redmond Gleeson). When he’s approached by former mentor (Max von Sydow) to help with some cutting-edge research, he’s initially reluctant, but the promise of escape from his former life proves too great a pull. Alex soon finds himself in the middle of a plot by a powerful government agent (Christopher Plummer) to assassinate the President.
Dreamscape is an odd, yet strangely fascinating, slice of ‘80s nostalgia. The concept is intriguing. The ability to enter someone else’s dreams. Sadly, it’s not aged that well and the romance between Quaid and Kate Capshaw’s character feels a little ‘tagged-on’. Having said that, it’s still an entertaining sci-fi with a twist. Often treading the line between straight drama and slightly tongue-in-cheek fantastical folly.
Dreamscape is released on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand by Second Sight on Monday 31 July.