Retro SciFi of the Week…

Electric Dreams (1984)

More of a ROMCOM or a fantasy than a scifi, this great film received mixed reviews when it was released, but it’s a perfect snapshot of the 1980s – technically, culturally, and artistically. Plot-wise it was kind of like Short Circuit, if you remember that one, except this one is much more upbeat and better produced. Basically, it’s about an out-of-position guy who buys a very special computer and meets a woman.

When this film was made, most people didn’t own a computer or even understand what a personal computer really was, but the technology was rapidly expanding and creating a lot of buzz. There were no websites or social media. Because of this ignorance, the film was able to stretch the limits of credibility, so today you will need a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief to watch it.

The score, cinematography, editing, and art direction are excellent. The acting is pretty good but the main character plays it in a very stilled style in contrast to the rest of the cast which is probably why it got mixed reviews.

The title is derived from “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, the 1968 novel by Philip K. Dick, and there’s a clever little easter egg nod to the novel in this film.

This video clip gives a sample of some of the quality of the fantastic cinematography, art direction and score.
(fair use)

Just read that the male lead in this film, Lenny Von Dohlen, died last month after a long illness.

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Seems interesting. And, after seeing the clip I must say that there is software today able to do more or less what is shown.


A couple of years before this film came out, I wrote a program that composed music (not just played, but composed) in a Bachian style.

The clip shows the computer learning how to play by listening, which is much more sophisticated, but yeah, I'm sure there's AI out there today that can do that.

(ps - The piece, written specifically for this film, is called "The Duel", an interpretation and extention to the famous "Minuet in G Major" by Bach.)

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