Dune

1984

Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi

135
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 37% · 117 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 65% · 50K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.3/10 10 181642 181.6K

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Plot summary

In the year 10,191, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice Melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The spice exists on only one planet in the entire universe, the vast desert planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. Its native inhabitants, the Fremen, have long held a prophecy that a man would come, a messiah who would lead them to true freedom.


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March 07, 2024 at 08:28 PM

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Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
Alicia Witt as Alia
Sean Young as Chani
Virginia Madsen as Princess Irulan
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2 hr 17 min
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2 hr 16 min
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2 hr 16 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by harkonnen12345 6 / 10

How can something this right be so WRONG?

I saw Dune when it first came out in 1984 and admittedly have had a lot of time to reflect on the (failings) of this movie.Most of this film's woes can be summed up in one word ... screenplay.

But first why I liked it. Set and costume design. In one word, sumptuous. From the neo baroque Emperor's palace to the Fremen Stillgar's sietch to the'metropolis-tic' Harkonnen home-world of Giedi Prime.The costumes were indulgently impressive eg the fetishistic leather of the Harkonnens, the bizarre plastic outfits of the Emperor's Sardukar, the Elizabethan gowns of the Princess Irulan. Great efforts were made to make the various environments well worn and dirty and much of the technology appears anachronistic... of 'technology as archeology', which all fits perfectly within the Frank Herbert vision.

Characters. For some reason most popular Sci-Fi movies involve characters that have little to define them from people of today, apart from latex masks and clothing. Under David Lynch's direction the peoples of the Dune worlds are human enough to relate to and 'alien' enough to cause wonder. And lets not forget the Stage Three Guild Navigator ... this was the most original conceptions of a character as you are likely ever to see. Scenes like this give you the courage to sit through the more unpleasant aspects of the movie. The customs of the Fremen as defined by Frank Herbert are for the most part faithfully rendered although being a serial Dune reader, I would have liked the movie to linger more on these aspects of the Dune world.

Acting. For the most part good. David Lynch directing his favorites Jack Nance, Kyle MacLachlan and Everet McGill cant really go wrong.I particularly liked Linda Hunt hamming it up as Shadout Mapes ..."the housssse keeeper..." Dean Stockwell whilst an accomplished actor appeared a little wooden, but is not a problem really when compared to the ridiculous overacting of Jose Ferrer. What on earth was he thinking? And of course there was Kenneth McMillan. The Baron could have been no one else.

But ...

I am a huge David Lynch fan ... but .... what happened? His efforts to make the vast worlds and concepts of Dune more edible for mainstream audiences while necessary, did not properly respect the source material.

In an effort to avoid the complexities of describing the 'weirding way' (properly termed 'prana - bindu' a kind of super martial art form) we are left with ... weirding modules ??!!!? ... what the hell? And to keep them in that poorly locked cupboard in the training room downstairs was just asking for trouble.

And after all that spiel about crushing your enemy's nerves, exploding their organs, boiling their bottoms etc ... the Fremen simply go about making those silly sounds which cause little fire-pots to go off in the sand, the Emperors 'terror troops' obligingly falling over.

It's easy to be dismissive when speaking from a time that brought us action and fight sequences like those in the Matrix or LOTR. However I felt that the scale was far to small to be convincing (this was the fight for the fate of the known universe's economic prosperity!) Individual fight scenes were obvious and telegraphed and slow and just plain boring. The final showdown between Paul, the universe's super being (actually he's not but thats another story)and Feyd Rautha, was one of Cinema's greatest anti-climaxes.I mean he's the leader of a race of people whose woman and children routinely best the Sardukar and has unimaginable mind powers (all the powers of the Bene Gesserit and more)and still he is almost defeated by the Baron's nephew after a bit of taunting about his girlfriend.

Another incomprehensible departure from the novel was the addition of 'heart plugs'. Apart from the constant fear of getting it caught on something you'd really have to wonder why the Baron chose to have one himself. That's just silly and as it turned out fatal.

A lot of the psychedelic special effects were pretty crappy even for 1984. What's with the folding space scene which is simply done by the Guild navigator spitting the departure and destination planets out of his mouth and then ... wait for it ... flying between them? Of course scenes like the sand-worm swallowing the spice harvester still cause wonder ... it's more that the conception of those less tangible aspects like folding space or the Sayadina taking the water of life etc really did not convince me even way back in 1984.

I also could not believe that Lynch succumbed to the temptation of tying the whole thing up with a rain storm. In one fell swoop he undermines the logic of the entire film. The collecting of water in thousands of Sietches across Dune was meant to be part of a trans generational plan to terraform the planet. It's meant to be science - the movie simply has it happen by magic ("for he is the Kwisatz Haderach"). Given that water is poisonous to the Sandworms and that Spice is produced as part of their life cycle, Paul really is not being much of a help. His Jihad is set to destroy the Universe.

This Movie if produced today under the right direction (and a totally new screenplay) could be the most amazing thing. If it were possible to create a hybrid director (although I would avoid contracting the Bene Gesserit for the breeding program) of David Linch(for his quirky, darkly comic interpretation) and dare I say Peter Jackson (for his sincere respect for the source material, attention to detail and childlike wonder that he evokes as he lingers over landscapes, people and customs), it would do the justice to Frank Herbert's vision which has as yet (wether by movie, extended DVD or mini-series)remained unfulfilled.

6 1/2 out of 10 , really.

Reviewed by jrjasonrussell 7 / 10

At the time it was a complete miss fire but there is a great movie here

How do you adapt a highly complex book over 400 pages long with with a similar apendex to lord of the rings with well over 20 important characters all integral to the plot with multiple worlds giant sandworms interesting technology and a history spanning thousands of years to just over a 2 hour run time in a entertaining mainstream popcorn movie. Not to mention spice, the book has huge dialogue said in the characters minds. Well the simple answer is u can't do justice to the source material with this runtime.

But for all the faults this film as I remember back in the day being passed to me via a VHS recording off TV some of us still remember those days I was blown away I had never seen anything like it as a teenager the sets the costumes the visuals, the action, just strangeness of it all and that opening score wow, got me to read the novels and what novels they are each one different from the other with profound statements on what a hero is, and if you haven't read Dune you will certainly be confused by the sheer mass of strange names and fast moving plot. Was David lynch the wrong captain to steer this ship?, I'm not too sure he greatly respected the source material and wanted final cut making a three hour plus movie but the studio wanted a 2 hour star wars clone and Dune is nothing like Star wars although there are minor aspects George Lucas might of been influenced from for his famous space opera.

One will either be confused by the complex plot or intrigued to search out Frank Herberts masterpiece of a novel.

Then there's the cast easily as good as the modern version and in some respects more faithful to the book. A miss fire of adapting the source due to the length but if David lynch was given a 5 hour runtime I shudder to think he might of just of nailed it. But the better version of Frank Herberts novel is adapted to the screen is the 2001 Denis Villeneuve part one and the much anticipated part 2 with reference to length both will clock in together around the 5 hour mark.

Reviewed by doydoy-75472 9 / 10

Lynch nailed the spirit

Yes, I've read the novels and, yes, they might crown a short list of world building sci fi masterpieces. What this movie, which I've seen multiple times, succeeds in doing, is manifest the spirit of this incredibly thought out universe. It also succeeds in other respects, but I'll leave that aside.

It is interesting that the latest version, not a bad film at all, is almost a storyboard replica of the first. But all it adds is a bit of computer polish, and lacks the eerie ambiance that was so poignantly enhanced by the first's soundtrack.

Folks love hating on this. Folks be folks. Thank you, Mr Lynch.

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