Dreamscape (1984)

dreamscape poster 1984 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

How the story is constructed allows the film to not really be technically dated

Some of the action is rather weak in the non-dream sequences

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Dreamscape

Studio:  HBO

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  August 15, 1984

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Whoa…I must be dreaming!

Alex Gardner (Dennis Quaid) is a gifted psychic.  When he is contacted by his old friend Dr. Paul Novotny (Max von Sydow) for a secret government program which taps into people’s dreams, Alex teams with a researcher named Jane DeVries (Kate Capshaw) to explore the unknown by dipping into people’s subconscious.  When Alex meets a rival in the program named Tommy Ray Galtman (David Patrick Kelly), Alex discovers that a government agent named Bob Blair (Christopher Plummer) is plotting something with Tommy…and the target could be the President of the United States (Eddie Albert).

Directed by Joseph Ruben, Dreamscape was a sci-fi adventure film and the second film to be tagged with the PG-13 rating (after Red Dawn).  The movie was well received by critics and has a minor cult following.


Attack of the Claymation snake man!

I love Dreamscape.  I have always felt that there was so much untapped potential with the film, and if I had to pitch a story idea, it would involve this film.  The concepts and story is good, but unfortunately, the film could even push it farther.

The nice thing about Dreamscape is that it doesn’t necessarily age.  The movie is set in the ’80s with ’80s themes (like nuclear war and such), but since it dives into dreams, the movie has room for goofiness.  The basic storyline which involves a plot to assassinate the President in his dreams is rather clever and the development of the story to reach the conclusion has enough twists and turns to still be fun but not tedious.


Alex…come out and pla-ay!

The film has a great cast with the solid Dennis Quaid as the lead.  I have never been much of a Kate Capshaw fan, but she’s fine as a lead here (and I think she actually works as Willie in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom…contrary to some naysayers).  The movie also features two great actors in Christopher Plummer and Max von Sydow (who do not get enough screentime), and Eddie Albert is also likeable as the President with the weight of the world on his shoulders.  It is always fun to see George Wendt outside of Cheers, but along with his appearance in The Warriors, David Patrick Kelly excels as the slimy creep role.


If I kill him can I go back to Green Acres?

Visually, Dreamscape also works with the dream idea.  A dream can look dated or fake since it is only tied to the imagination of a dreamer.  If the scary snake-monster looks fake at points, it is because the boy dreaming of it sees it as fake…it all makes a logical sense (which is just another smart part of the story).

Dreamscape is a fun piece of sci-fi action.  The story does have some weak moments, but they are far outweighed by the rather thought provoking aspects of the story.  It isn’t the smartest science-fiction film you’ll ever see, but it is better than a lot of the lower budget sci-fi of the ’80s.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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