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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Electric Dreams (1984)
(2017 Release)


Starring: Lenny Von Dohlen, Virginia Madsen, Maxwell Caulfield and Bud Cort
Distributor: Second Sight
RRP: £19.99


Certificate: PG
Release Date: 31 July 2017

Miles is a helpless, hopeless architect, who is about to blow a fuse. He has a problem: his computer Edgar has decided to wreck his life. He's ruined his credit rating, run up his phone bill, cancelled his plane reservations, locked him out of his house and now he's trying to steal his girlfriend. Meet Madeline, she's blonde, brilliant and waiting for the sparks to fly in this much-loved 80s love-triangle with a difference...

I have to admit I've never seen Electric Dreams before. I was 14 in 1984, the year it was briefly released in cinemas (more on that later) and I bought Phil Oakey's theme song... but I never got around to seeing the movie, nor on video or DVD over the years.

The problem is, it's very much a product of its time. Back in 1984, there weren't a huge number of households with PCs. It was the year Apple introduced its Macintosh and the film really managed to tap into the fear that computers could take over our lives...

To be honest the film hasn't aged that well and it was pretty obvious that the director was new to movies having worked on pop music videos in the past. There are quite a few montage scenes that are set to pop music of the time. These just feel out of place and really get in the way of the story. In fact, given how shallow the plot is, I'd argue they're used to pad out what is a 30 min Twilight Zone-esque TV episode.

The acting, while not diabolical, was never going to win any awards and of course the graphics shown on the computer screen look hysterically dated by today's standards.

Extras include Is This A Story? (18 min, 23 sec - 2017 Interview with director Steve Barron. Tom Hanks was interested in the project, but this news never filtered down to Barron); Electric Dreaming (41 min, 27 sec - 2017 interview with writer/co-producer Rusty Lemorande. This is by far the most interesting interview. Not only does he talk about how the story takes elements from Frankenstein and Cyrano de Bergerac, but he also explains why the movie was pulled from cinemas. It was part of a strategy to reboot the release of the movie in America, but the studio head that agreed to this was fired shortly afterwards and so the movie was never rereleased as planned); and Miles and Madeline (20 min, 47 sec - 2017 interviews with the stars Lenny von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen as they share their stories from the past).

As a product of its time this represents a passing curiosity, but it's not a film I'd want to watch again.


Nick Smithson

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