Blu-ray Review: Dreamscape (Collector’s Edition)

Before internet hacking was a fear of politicians, America worried about the president having his dreams hacked by terrorists. This was a big threat since politicians back then used to sleep and talk about their dreams all the time on C-Span. Dreams were what ran the nation instead of donuts and meth. Dreamscape was a film that warned America that the White House’s presidential bed was the next place that attacks.

Alex Gardner (The Right Stuff‘s Dennis Quaid) is hanging around a race track when trouble comes his way. Gangsters aren’t happy that he’s got a knack for holding winning tickets. He escapes them only to get snagged by another group that wants him to return to his past life. Turns out he’s psychic which explains his ability to be extra lucky. He’d been hiding out on his old boss, Dr. Novotny (Strange Brew‘s Max von Sydow) who runs a science lab that wants to bring together technology and psychic power. The latest project is a way for a psychic to enter the dreams of a sleeping person. They don’t merely observe, but can be a part of the dreams. They can remind a sleeping person that it’s all just a dream. Alex does this for a small child that’s having nightmares about a snake man. There’s also evil things to do when inside a person’s dreamscape. Spooky government guy Bob Blair (Sound of Music‘s Christopher Plummer) wants to use it as a dream weapon. He’s training a flunky (The Warrior‘s David Patrick Kelly) to become a dream assassin. The president (Green Acre‘s Eddie Albert) has a recurring nightmare about a nuclear apocalypse. The dreams are making him want to purse nuclear disarmament talks. This isn’t making people happy. Is he going to be the target of dream assassin? Can Alex with the help of scientist Dr Jane DeVries (Indiana Jones an the Temple of Doom‘s Kate Capshaw) save the president as he sleeps?

Dreamscape remains a movie that keeps you awake while it’s characters slumber. Quaid delivers the goods as the hustling psychic. His likability was in full effect in his youth. The supporting cast is exceptional for a science fiction film. Eddie Albert should have been the real president of the United States. Max von Sydow is the perfect guiding hand to get Alex involved in his project. Plummer has that sinister bureaucrat look down. While the special effects are from the early ’80s, they aren’t a major turn-off since this is supposed to be stuff seen inside a dream. Things can be a little off and seem real enough. The snake man is just the right kind of fright. Dreamscape: Collector’s Edition packs enough bonus features to let people truly appreciate so much of the movie so it can’t be dismissed as just a dream.

The videos is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The transfer keeps things clean and sharp so you can tell reality from dreams. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 so you can be surrounded while inside the president’s brain. There’s also the DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix for those wanting the original mix. The movie is subtitled.

Audio Commentary with Bruce Cohn Curtis, David Loughery and Craig Reardon covers a lot of stuff mentioned in other bonus features. They do have a few extra stories and insights as they watch the film with you. They recorded this back in 1999.

Dreamscapes and Dreammakers (1:01:48) brings together Laughery, Ruben, Russell, cinematographer Brian Tufano, editor Richard Halsey, David Patrick Kelly, miniature supervisor Susan Turner, special effects supervisor Kevin Kutchaver, visual effects supervisor Peter Kuran, special make up supervisor Craig Reardon, stop motion visual effects James Aupperle, and miniature construction James Belohovek. They deal with the pre-production of the film. There’s plenty of coverage about how they created the dreamy special effects on a shoestring budget.

Nightmares and Dreamsnakes (23:21) breaks down more of effects including the snake man. Reardon wasn’t happy about the dark lighting schemes.

The Actor’s Journey (14:50) lets Dennis Quaid reflect on how his career brought him to this role. He talks about working with three acting legends in the film.

Bruce Cohn Curtis and Chuck Russell in Conversation (23:31) has the long time collaborators issues that happened during the shoot. The big issue came with their issues with Maurice Jarre’s score.

Snake Man Footage (2:16) puts a little light on the reptile nightmare.

Still Gallery (2:32) has dozens of photos from the production and promotional material.

Original Trailer (2:13) really did a lame job of selling the film back in 1984.

Scream Factory presents Dreamscape: Collector’s Edition. Directed by: Joseph Ruben. Screenplay by: David Loughery, Chuck Russell & Joseph Ruben. Starring: Dennis Quaid, Max von Sydow, Christopher Plummer, Eddie Albert & Kate Capshaw. Running Time: 99 minutes. Rated: R. Released: December 13, 2016.

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