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ROMantic comedy ROMantic comedy
by Thanos Kalamidas
Issue 11
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Information
Film
Electric Dreams
Steve Barron
1984
In an issue about computers we needed a film, a book or something about computers and I don't know why I remembered that somewhere I have a film with a computer in love. I think what came to my mind first was the musical beat that was part of that film. The case wasn't clear in my mind but the beat definitely was.

Now, my video collection has gone through four or five clean ups, especially after the arrival of DVD, and my decision to replace all my favorite videos with DVDs. I suppose you know how it is, you get older or films you thought as cool back in the early-80s look so sad in 2005, so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Well, for an unknown reason, Electric Dreams survived all these clean ups.

From the video cover and I suppose the poster of the film, you are getting somehow ready for what you are going to watch. This is not a science fiction film, neither a horror film; it is definitely not a porno film, even though the title of the film has a naughty reference to a wet dream…or I suppose it has. This is a romantic comedy!

The poster has a black background and a cartoon drawing of a computer complete with satanic characteristics, horns and tail. Just looking at this picture you get the feeling that what you are going to get is a sweet family film.

A nerd computers boy, with the excuse of being an architect or something like that, moves to a building where a girl lives. She's a very attractive and shy girl that plays the cello for the philharmonic orchestra and doesn't do anything else all day long other than practice - of course you remember Cyrano, the same story. The computer decides to help Miles, the hero with the girl Roxanne…oops sorry…Madeline is her name.

The computer uses the trick of accompanying the girl while she plays her cello with its digital sounds, the girl falls for it and Miles gets a date. Actually that was one thing with that film, the actor who plays Miles, Lenny von Dohlen, was so bad that only with the help of a computer he had any chance to get a date. However and because the computer is the real star he's not around often.

The film is sweet; the scene where the computer accompanies the orchestra through his beeper is really funny. The scene where the computer becomes aware of being in love and feeling jealousy is cleverly done with graphics and scenes from old films creating clichés we saw later in Disney films, especially in the film Flubber. Then when Miles decides to give an end to all this jealousy and destroys the poor computer with a hammer, again the old films and the screams.

As I said before, the film is the sort of family film with a lot of '80s characteristics. The disco style music, the dancing in the streets, the 'evil' computer that makes everybody like him. Another good thing about this film is that there is not the popular Frankenstein complex where the creation becomes evil and kills the creator.

Before I forget, the man who lent his voice to the computer, Bud Cort, had to deliver the whole performance from inside a box on the set; his co-stars were never allowed to see him during the filming. The director was afraid that if the other performers associated the voice to the person they would react differently, like talking to a human and not to a computer and that would show on the camera.

If you haven't seen the film, find it. It's definitely worth watching on a Sunday afternoon with your kids. Just make sure that your kids are not over ten years old.
   
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