Vanilla Sky is a 2001 film, a very faithful remake of the 1997 Spanish language film Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes). Tom Cruise is the headlining male lead in the remake, while Penelope Cruz is the female lead in both versions.
These two films, along with Waking Life and Inception, are the most prominent depictions of lucid dreaming in popular cinema. Unlike Waking Life, which explores lucid dreaming on a pretty much direct level, Vanilla Sky explores the subject in the contexts of simulated reality and life extension. Among the themes featured in the film are:
- The (often confused) distinction between reality and a dream-like state (what the film calls a lucid dream, but which is more accurately described as a simulated reality somewhat similar to the one featured in The Matrix).
- False awakenings. The film's first scene is a classic example.
- Dream control, such as commanding a barful of people to stop talking.
- The nature of dream characters. A major character is entirely fictional, something he strongly denies and refuses to accept.