You have to watch the best retro sci-fi movie on HBO Max before it leaves next week

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Before 2010, no one had ever seen anything like it Start. Complicated, a little pretentious and extremely mind-blowing, it was a new generation of sci-fi blockbusters.

But the idea of ​​infiltrating people’s dreams is as old as science fiction itself. same Sponge Bob SquarePants played with the idea once upon a time. But never has this sci-fi technique been better explored than in a 1984 film, which blends sci-fi, action, comedy, and even romance into something entirely unique that you have to see to believe.

Fortunately, you still have a few days to watch Dreamscape before it leaves HBO Max on June 30.

Directed by Joseph Ruben and released in 1984, Dream landscape stars Dennis Quaid as Alex, a young medium who finds himself embroiled in a secret government project and begins to explore the dreams of others. Sci-fi legend Max von Sydow plays his aged mentor, Christopher Plummer plays a villainous accomplice, and the love interest is portrayed by none other than Kate Capshaw, who had starred in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom a few months earlier.

At first it seems that Alex’s job is nothing more than helping those who are plagued by nightmares, he soon realizes the true nature of his mission: to heal the President of the United States of America. his nuclear nightmares so that he does not declare a nuclear armistice. and, to quote Plummer’s Bob Blair, “bring this country to its knees”.

Just like Start, Dream landscape offers all kinds of surreal dream effects. While these visual techniques were in their infancy in 1984, the more practical effects are compelling. And even when they’re not, they’re charming in a scruffy way. “We had everything from the thumbnail to the green screen to the animation,” said director Joseph Ruben. Austin Camera Lights. “We used all kinds of different things, but the biggest limitation was that we didn’t have a lot of money.”

37 years later, this feeling of low budget gives Dream landscape a very specific overall feeling. It’s not really about convincing you that it takes place in a real world, but rather telling a compelling story (which it does, in spades). When Alex realizes there is a dark secret behind the technology, thanks to advice from a novelist played by George Wendt (yes, Norm de Cheers) the stakes of the film are instantly increased, and Dream landscape transforms from a mediocre sci-fi comedy into a thrilling action mystery.

Alex confronts the president in his nuclear nightmare.20th century fox

Parts of Dream landscape has not aged well. When Alex finds his colleague Dr Jane DeVries asleep, he non-consensually enters his dream, where they share their first kiss. That’s wrong, and Jane tells her so, even though she admits the meeting was something she had dreamed of.

Ultimately, Dream landscape gave me what I wanted from Start: a sci-fi thriller that’s twisty, schlocky, funny and yet cerebral. No offense to the great Christopher Nolan, but there is something to be said for letting your characters’ personalities, not the pervasive dream technology, rule the story.

If you’re into genre-breaking sci-fi or just want to get away from the past, definitely tap this feature before it disappears from the HBO Max archives at the end of the month. As the credits roll, you’ll wonder why this isn’t a classic next door. Blade runner and War games.

Dream landscape airs on HBO Max through June 30.


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