Electric Dreams (1984)
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I was only 12 years old when I first saw this movie on HBO back in 1984(5?). This movie really captured my imagination. Computers fascinated me and "Electric Dreams" bolstered that fascination with a fluid plot, dazzling special effects, and a captivating soundtrack. The music, in particular is so good, I could still sing/hum the tunes for years after first seeing the movie. My favorite has to be the "Duel" song between a cello and the computer. Wild, wacky, wonderful stuff!
Electric Dreams is one of those films that even with some slightly dated technology in it (circa 1984, and even for this film some of the technology is stuff most people don't have in their homes yet!) the story and its effectiveness are timeless. It has a very strong European influence to it that I appreciated--director Steve Barron has a true flair for combining nice visuals and story without each element bogging the other down.
Miles (Lenny Von Dohlen) buys a computer to help in his quest to design the perfect earthquake-proof brick. He spills a drink on the keyboard, giving it life in the form of the voice Edgar (Bud Cort). In the meantime, cellist Madeline (Virginial Madsen) moves in upstairs and guess who starts to like Madeline a LOT?....
Several elements make this a winner: The fact that the lead actors Lenny Von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen were cast (relatively unknown actors then) instead of flavor-of-the-month ones. Bud Cort was a brilliant choice for the voice of Edgar in the computer. The music was obviously lesser known to mainstream U.S. audiences but well loved in Europe. Culture Club was a bit established, but artists like Heaven 17, Jeff Lynne (of ELO), Philip Oakey (of Human League), P.P. Arnold, and Helen Terry gave the film a great atmosphere with original songs that still hold up quite well today (yes, the soundtrack is available as an import on CD). I'm proud to say I have the 12" remixes of the songs "Together In Electric Dreams," "Now You're Mine," and "Video" as well as the soundtrack.
You don't have to exclusively like romance stories to enjoy this film. It has a little of everything for everyone, and invites repeated viewings. It's charming, will make you laugh, and I dare you to not get a little teary-eyed when the phrase "I LOVE YOU ...ME" appears on the computer screen to the beautiful music piece "Madeline's Theme" from Giorgio Moroder.
Two scenes in particular will have you feeling exhilarated--when Madeline and Edgar do a musical duet of a familiar classical piece, and the ending where the song "Together In Electric Dreams" is bringing everyone in the city of San Francisco to their feet dancing. It will give you a rather overwhelming feeling of joy, and a completely satisfying ending. Just make sure to view all the way through the credits, there's a little surprise after them!
At the time this review was written, Electric Dreams is only on out-of-print VHS in the United States, but is available on a European region 2 DVD. MGM had been reissuing tons of films on DVD with no frills (except mislabled releases like Swamp Thing--not PG but actually the European cut, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2--not actually R but the unrated cut) and I plead with them that when this one is ever issued in the DVD format, that we are given some extras like an audio commentary and behind the scenes features. There must be some very wonderful stories to tell about this charming film and the loyal following it has.
As the tagline on the original cover read, it's "The most unusual triangle in the history of love." If only more people could be brought together like this and fall in love, the world would be a brighter place!
"Open up your eyes and you will see, love is love is everything to me..."
Miles Harding is what you might call a loser. He is an architect who is at the cross-roads of his job and the rest of his life is unorganised. However, when a friend tells Miles to get an electronic organiser to help put his life back into order, he gets something he didn't bargain for. Miles purchases a computer, that just happens to have artificial intelligence. To make things worse, he has a new neighbour, a beautiful young woman named Madeline. Things start to get heated when Miles and his computer Edgar', both fall in love with Madeline. The sparks are sure to fly when things turn into an Electric Dream'!
This is a priceless movie. Sure it was made in 1984 and it is a bit dated, but that takes nothing away from how great it is. The storyline is probably my favourite part of the film. The way the audience sees Miles and Edgar having a relationship, and then seeing Miles trying to counteract that with the beautiful Madeline, was just hilarious. Edgar really does steal the show, with his stubborn ways and funny antics, making it an hilarious experience to watch him. His character is for me similar to the TV show Knight Rider, where we see a man talking to a car, who has a similar personality to that of Edgar.
The cast of Electric Dreams was very very good. Miles was played by actor Lenny von Dohlen. He was great in his role and really does make the audience feel that Edgar' is taking control of his life. Then you have the delightful Madeline, played by actress Virginia Madison. While her character knows nothing about Miles and his computer, she plays the part of Miles girlfriend extremely well. Virginia has been in some very big films. These include the Haunting alongside stars Catherine Zeta Jones and Liam Nelson, The Rainmaker and the steamy drama, After Sex. The voice of Edgar the computer belongs to actor Bud Cort, who did a brilliant job. His humour and voiceover talents were out of this world. He has had an impressive career, appearing in the TV comedy series MASH, with his other movies including Dogma and Coyote Ugly.
This movie had a great script and that was thanks to a man by the name of Rusty Lemorande. I feel he got it just right and that it had the right amount of humour with a dash of serious romance. Then take on board the great work by director Steve Barron, he put the film together with just the right amount of his touches. I believe he had a big impact on how the audience sees the funny and naughty side to Edgar.
This then takes me to the other great part of this film, the soundtrack. I will never forget the first attempt Edgar makes at trying to write a love song, it was hilarious. Then you have the real songs like Video by Jeff Lynne, Love is Love by Culture Club, Electric Dreams by P.P Arnold and the best song on the whole soundtrack, Together in a Electric Dreams by Human League with Philip Oakey. That song is very infectious and makes me happy everytime I hear it.
In conclusion, I loved everything about Electric Dreams. It is a funny look at how crazy love can be and that with a little patience everything can work out for the best. Edgar says something that I totally agree with `that love is about give and take', I stand by that rule. If you are in a relationship that is not abiding by that rule, then you should rethink about why you are in it. It is a two way street when two people commit to each other. Madeline's comments in the end of the film prove that. Though it is innocent, this film also proves how valuable a tool something like a computer or the internet can be, and how evil it can be, by taking over your life. A person recently asked me how can a film score a perfect 10?' I say it is up to the individual's own opinion. I love this film immensely and can only recommend you get a bit of a shock by hiring Electric Dreams!
Rating: 5 stars or 10/10
The premise would have been obvious to have today with actual AI systems now operational and talking computers easy to imagine. In fact when the guy visits a store an Apple computer box is on the shelf. It's no wonder that the year this movie was released the little Mac that could was too. I wonder still today if Steve Jobs had any input on this movie.
Recommend seeing this movie. The computer's personality is great and the ending is one that would make any engineer tear up or technician cheer.
Meanwhile Miles has a new neighbour in the form of Madeline (Madsen), Miles soon falls in love with Madeline and the pair start dating.
Everything seems to be going OK for Miles but there is a problem, his COMPUTER!!!! The Computer called Edgar is alive and jealous of the relationship, he too has fallen in love with Madeline and will do anything to wreck the relationship, he wants Madeline all to himself, funny stuff!!! The film has a really good 80's feel about it and has a brilliant soundtrack, the film itself would be average but it's a lot better than average thanks to the computer. Edgar the computer makes this movie a winner and a guilty pleasure!!! Highly recommended for fans of 80's movies, 7/10 for Electric Dreams.
This movie a great soundtrack with Culture Club and Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder0. The films style has a zippy pace and feels like watching a long music video. This aspect of the film hasn't dated, however some of the technology has which is fun to look back and view.
Overall, this is a lovable romantic computer fantasy and has a soft spot in my heart.
At once piece of light entertainment and a look at relationships, this movie does it just right. Some scenes are probably just comic relief, like the concert, but the computer does teach the man a good lesson about life. You're bound to love what the computer does in the movie's last scene.
All in all, a really fun movie. I can't believe that it's out of print while tons of boring movies get special edition DVDs. Definitely check it out if you can. Watch for a young Miriam Margolyes as a ticket taker.