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InspectorColumbo14 September 2004
First of all I've read Herberts Dune saga and I loved the first book (the one the movie is about) and liked the rest.

Second there is a difference between the cinema version (137 min) and the TV version (190 min often referred also "special edition") which should also not be confused with the new version from 2000 (Frank Herbert's Dune). To keep it short the 137 version is great and the 190 min version sucks.

The TV version was split up to fill 2 evenings. For that they added about an hour of additional material not seen in the original version. While some of it is quite good like the prologue which went a little bit deeper into the Dune universe (Butlers Djihad) but most of it just destroys the atmosphere and the flow of the movie. On the technical side there is to note that the whole movie was Pan-Scanned which never is a good idea. Compared to the original version the quality really blows.

Now to the good one:

The movie is pretty much faithful to the book. There are things that were cut out from the book or it shows stuff that wasn't there, but what you see is CLEARLY Herbert's book which I thought is nearly impossible to translate into a (good) movie. It translates the "feel" of the book very well to the screen.

The most notable differences is that in the book Paul is at the age of 15 (at least at the beginning) while McLachlan more looks like 20 but I can live with that. The rest are minor things (like these sound modules) and some differences in continuity (the navigators needing the spice to well... navigate is revealed at the beginning).

The all actors give a solid performances. Notable are Kenneth McMillan (Baron Harkonnen) Patrick "Captain Picard" Steward (Gurney Halleck) and Sting as Feyd Rautha which really add to the movie.

The special effects range from crappy to good. The movie shines where it 's most important namely the sand worms which look fairly convincing. Personally I prefer (well done) miniature shots over those Episode 1/2 CGI effects which make especially environments look like plastic.

I think everybody who calls himself a Science-Fiction fan should have seen this movie which is a jewel under all those mediocre films that were spawned by Star Wars at that time. All the fans of the book should see it as what it is: A movie based on Dune. If you want the book word by word, don't watch the movie and read the book again.
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Why does Lynch hate this one?
Starbuck-1315 April 1999
To begin with, I have to say that I saw the movie first, and read the book years later. This seems to be important: Nearly everybody who read the book first hates the movie, but most of those who saw the movie first seem to like it.

Now, why is this so? I cannot really understand it because, in comparition to other movies based on existing literature, what we have here is a film which stays very close to the original story and does not add many new elements.

When I read the book, I could see the movie in front of me in nearly every chapter. So I really don't understand what Herbert-Fans had expected from this movie...

I for my part like it a lot. It has a very mystical atmosphere about it and the story develops nicely. Of course there are some elements which are simply not explained and are therefore very confusing, but somehow this seems to be a thing Lynch tends to do in every of his movies, so what? I like some simple scenes like the opening monologue a whole lot. I LOVE the music (which played in my mind all the time while I read the book), and I think the characters are very strong and (for example Letho Atreides) sometimes full of tragedy.

The part I like the most though is the worm-part. I think the special effects are not always brilliant, but seeing the scenes with the worms, I am really awestruck because they are so impressing.

All in all, I think this is one of the more underrated movies in Science Fiction history. It may be because the director himself was not happy with it, or because fans expected too much from a simple two hour movie. I always enjoy watching this film and listening to the soundtrack. And I would love to see a Director's Cut version.
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A very good effort.
Chris-74212 April 2004
Every time I see this film I like it more, yet can see why people would dislike this movie, and I can sum up it's shortcoming this way:

Not close enough to the book to humour the people who have read the book, to confusing for people who have not. Thus Lynch managed to get a lot of bad press about this near masterpiece.

It is very difficult to fit the plot of Herbert's masterpiece into 130 minutes, but I think Lynch did a good job, sadly he added som stuff that was not in the book. Where Lynch does excel is in setting the mood. To help him he had probably the best possible cast for such a movie and the best musical score ever. The acting overall is excellent (except possibly Maclachlan and Jones) and for me who read the book before seeing the film, it is hard not to see Stewart as Halleck. The timing of the acting and events is almost perfect. If Lynch had had help by a better scriptwriter to curb some of his wilder additions and flesh out the plot a bit and this could have been one of the best sci-fi movies ever. As is, it is very good, but somewhat flawed.
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Outland Empire
chaos-rampant21 October 2012
Say what you will about incoherence, this is more sensuous than any Star Wars. In fact, it is the most expensive 'tripping' ever produced in film - though far from the most satisfying.

It helps to know the book and forget it as you watch this. Not being familiar with the book, you're left with a disjointed tapestry of weird costumes and special effects, some of them impressive, but if you are, and don't have to burden yourself with following the constantly clumsy explanation of the multifaceted Dune universe, you can enjoy this as illustration of a few core ideas.

Herbert's novel was the product of strange and powerful times. The US public was experiencing the Civil Rights upheaval, its short-lived infatuation with Islam and meditation, and the same year as the book came out, LSD had spilled out of some top-secret government labs into the streets and youth culture of San Francisco. The first satellite images of Earth had just been published. The Black Panthers had entered the vernacular.

So all the stuff about prescient visions, mentats and mastering mind, (herbally) expanded consciousness as the tool to the navigation and 'folding' of space, Herbert wrote with one eye on the Jordan Belson, Beatles and Maharishi crowd - the generation between noir and Lucas that for a brief time projected truths into constructed cosmologies.

Herbert was more erudite than most. But he was caught under the same spell - the expectation of a noble jihad of the people and wise lamas from the East coming to teach 'the way'. And you can tell that he was exposed to Eastern thought through Jungians, by his laboriously constructed mythology and (now trite) focus on a Chosen One's journey.

Lynch was a late bloomer in that scene. To my knowledge, he fell in with what was being marketed as 'transcendental meditation' in his AFI years, during filming of Eraserhead. I don't know what they practice behind closed doors - my interest lies with the Chinese model and they seem cultish to me. But, there's no doubt to me that he passed on the Lucas gig, thinking he was going to work on a vision of some power.

The film outright fails because the scope of the book is too big (to think that Hobbit is being stretched into a trilogy these days), and because he lacked the right collaborators and probably the predisposition to make an 'action' Dune.

Now Jodorowsky's Dune would have been something to see, probably as cumbersome about spirituality but much more organic. But, it's worth noting a few interesting things about this, in context of how Lynch would expand in later years.

He zeroes in on the transcendental experience of 'awakening the sleeper'. He does so in an obvious manner. Rambaldi's spiceworms as blossoming desert flowers top his visual meditation. And that all of Herbert's pomp and mythological noise works against him submerging the idea.

Keep in mind the Chinese notion - from the Tao Te Ching - that the 'soft beats the hard', stressed twice in the film even though no one actually fights in the Chinese style. Discard everything that is hard, from the crass Harkonnen to the acting style (mentat Dourif!) to the sophomoric rousing of Fremen rebellion, laser battles and final redemption.

The one part that is soft is at House Atreides, the preparation for Dune. What is there? Familiar dynamics - it is soap opera if you take out the costumes. Premonitions of murder and telepathic wiring with a fabric behind reason. A woman with her box of illusory sensations. A space flight through the doors of perception.

It's heady. None of it really works, because Herbert's synchretic universe is not one of internal martial arts, what we see matters. But does any of it remind you of a David Lynch film you know?
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I waited a long time before reviewing this...
Angry_Arguer14 May 2003
There are two groups of people who write at IMDb, the pessimists and the optimists. The pessimists love to complain about something or other in a film. The optimists try and find something good. DUNE probably ranks as one of those that feels like it's going to be good, but leaves a confusing, lackluster feeling in its wake. In an attempt to be optimistic, I will try focusing ONLY on the good parts. This might be tough.

I will give David Lynch credit (indeed, as Frank Herbert did when he saw this) for trying to take an enormous amalgamation of things and ideas from the novel and trying to turn them into a movie. Lynch's visual style is very raw here and everything in the production design seems to be under his spell.

The sets, costumes, cinematography, and choice of cast is excellent. All of them lend a flavor of difference that transcends whatever confusion is on the screen. (On the side note: I was sick of hearing Kyle MacLachlan repeating himself over and over) The creature designs by Carlo Rambaldi are very Lynch-ien, even though we rarely get to see them.

Overall, a sci-fi epic that requires a lethargic butt, an open mind, and a copy of Frank Herbert's novel to enjoy. Still, it is far superior to the TV miniseries of late (I know saying that is blasphemy to some). I refuse to rate this with stars or anything else.
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Outstanding Interpretation
james-64730 August 2004
I've talked to quite a few die-hard Herbert fans who insist that this film is rubbish. Well, I personally feel that this film is one of the most lavish and elegant science fiction movies ever made. I think it's wonderful, and am happy to have it in my collection.

The movie itself inspired me to read the next couple of books in the series.

I do agree however that there are some scenes that need to be added in a definitive collection. There are a couple of sequences from the Alan Smithee bootleg version - such as when the water of the Fremen warrior that Paul defeated in combat is re-absorbed into the collective water supply - that are absolutely vital to the story. Yet scenes like this were cut out of the final movie version that we all see on DVD.
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Dune's Devil in David's Details
mstomaso9 April 2007
My review covers both versions of Dune, the 2 hour release and the extended 3 hour "Smithee" version aired on television. The first cut of the film was over four hours long, but there was never any intention to release this, and Lynch himself shot scenes which consolidated the final product into a more manageable length.

Allen Smithee, a protest pseudonym adopted by Lynch when he disassociated himself with the 3 hour version of this film, is also alluded to in Lynch's latest film - Inland Empire. A portion of a film studio in Inland Empire is "Smithee's Room" - a metaphorical insight into Lynch's feelings about Dune, and studio-controlled film-making in general.

Given the tremendous investment made by the studio, Lynch's general distaste for the final product, the repetitive cliché soundtrack, and the occasionally bizarre use of voice-over narrative in the TV version, it seems more a DeLaurentis film than a Lynch film. Although I am very interested in Lynch's films and other projects, I am evaluating this solely from my own perspective. Despite the great director's poor opinion of this film, I enjoyed it and it is one of my favorite sci-fi films.

Frank Herbert, author of the novel upon which it is based, approved the theatrical version, but he had the benefit of knowing what he was going to see. If you haven't read the book, these films can be somewhat difficult to understand. And if you come to the experience expecting something like Star Wars, you should probably find something else to do.

The soundtrack is repetitive and only interesting the first time you hear the film's major theme (the Eno composition). The use of rock orchestration simply does not work in this film. Happily, Lynch learned from the experience and used rock instrumentation beautifully in later films (especially Wild at Heart and Lost Highway). The camera work is generally less inspired than the rest of Lynch's portfolio. There are occasional visually striking scenes which will remind you of the film's origin, but there are too many static shots - especially during the action scenes. The soundtrack is easy to explain - like the inclusion of Sting in the cast - this is a marketing move by the production company, not a creative choice of the director. The camera work is much less easily explained. Perhaps Lynch was asked to avoid doing anything surreal or bizarre with this film (sort of like asking Groucho Marx to avoid being funny), or the studio was trying to appeal to fans of Star Wars by simplifying and sterilizing its story.

The recently released special edition DVD reveals some very interesting aspects of the production. Lynch's influence, not surprisingly, is best explored in the short documentary concerning the film's design. As an artist, Lynch spent a great deal of time and energy envisioning the material culture – both historical and modern – of each culture depicted in the film, helping to create a consistent and unique characterization for each. This spilled over quite naturally into costume design. The sets and costumes used in this film are really spectacular. The special effects, often derided by contemporary viewers, required a great deal more effort that the synthetic art of today's computerized extravaganzas and, the documentary concerning their production on the DVD is also appropriately respectful.

What you will see is an intense visualization of several, fully realized alien cultures whose art, architecture and general heritage are as well realized, if not more so, than in Herbert's epic novel. To fully appreciate this, don't just check out the extras on the DVD, turn down the sound and just watch the sets, costumes, and effects move through each scenes. There is, as with Lynch's entire portfolio, a great deal to be seen. And the acting and direction are fine throughout the film.

The longer version fleshes out the stories, themes and intricate subplots of Herbert's book more thoroughly, and maintains a much steadier pace than the cinematic release. Even so, both films, to some extent, suffer from too much story, overwhelming visualization, and a un-Lynchian frenetic pace. The later TV mini-series by the sci fi channel does a better job of telling the story in its entirety, but runs about 246 minutes and does not compare to the original in terms of design. Lynch's cinematic release, by contrast, rushes through components of the book and often feels inconsistent in pace.

PLOT: Dune is the story of Paul "Muad'ib" Atreides, the son of Duke Leto Atreides the Just and his Bene Jesserat concubine Lady Jessica. Combining aspects of fantasy, sci-fi and anthropology, the story follows young Paul through a series of tragedies which find him seeking redemption for an entire galaxy by leading an adoptive tribal culture to a revolutionary cleansing of the malignant imperial system from which he sprung. The plot is exceedingly complex – in both Lynch versions of the film much is left out of Herbert's original work. Subplots abound, but, true to form, Lynch avoids short-cuts as much as possible and attempts to show his audience what is going on rather than resorting to a great deal of voice-over narrative in the theatrical release. The TV version, however, attempts to provide even more detail, and uses voice-over to patch up the areas glossed over by Lynch's script.

SUMMARY: If you're a Lynch fan and not a big Herbert fan or you don't have a great deal of patience, see the cinematic release. It is the class of the lot.

If you haven't read the book, or you are a Herbert purist who will accept only what was written, choose the Sci-Fi Channel version (review forthcoming soon) - but be forewarned - it is very long.

If you want something that compromises between story and cinematic artistry, go for the TV version. The weakest link, but still OK.
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One of the few movies with a style of its own
earnes14 December 2005
Seriously, I do not understand why so many people dislike this movie. I think you have to take a couple of things into account. First: It is a 2 hour movie telling a story that spans several hundred pages in a book - so certain losses are just natural. Second: Compared to three times recycled multi-million-dollar-trash like the new Star Wars Episodes, this movie offers something really unique: A style of its own. The mixture between scifi elements, medieval setting and the culture of the the Middle East is excellent and Lynch welded them together into one solid piece of art... even though he seems to disagree today. Within this setting the lack of non-stop-action or overwhelming SFX never bothered me. On the contrary, this movie gives you time to watch... and many scenes are worth a second look. Third: I loved the actors, who were just as stiff, ugly, arrogant, noble or nice like the characters they tried to represent.

In the end it is a question of taste if you like this movie or not. But for me, it will always have a place in my DVD-shelf...
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wings_of_ryu16 June 2004
Viewers can be divided into two categories. The first are those who are looking for flashy expensive over the top graphics with some decent dialogue and structure. The second group in this case are those of you out there who love the Dune Series and would rather be in-depth with the plot then see the flashy over the top Graphics. The casting and portrayal of characters in this film FAR surpasses the ones who tried more recently to redo the movie (TV version). I Recommend One Thing if you do see this movie. WATCH THE 3 hour version. It goes much more in-depth then the normal version and is much easier to follow. The Film is worth watching at least once, and for me, its worth watching time after time.
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Love it or hate it, it's a story
themarina111 April 2004
Over the years, I have come to the understanding that there are two schools of though here. Some people absolutely hate this movie and other absolutely love it. I'm of the latter school, regularly enjoying Lynch's twisted take on the late Herbert's fantastic story. The story follows the House Atreides on a planetary move to the spice mining world of Arakis. With it, comes the power struggle and life and death situations commonly associated with political struggle.

Dark and interesting, Lynch has managed to capture all of Herbert's story and mix it with some of his sick and twisted ideas. A must watch for Lynch and Herbert fans.

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An insulting "adaptation" of a great book.
Cadriel31 August 2000
Dune was considered unfilmable. Alexandro Jodorowsky failed to get up the money for his production, as did Ridley Scott, who took up Jodorowsky's creative team. It took nigh-endless resources from Dino de Laurentiis to complete Lynch's version.

The problems with David Lynch's Dune are many. The characters, beyond Paul, are all but undeveloped--for instance, Harkonnen is simply a grotesque figure, not a great political rival for the Atreides. Similarly, much of the plot is simply a checklist of important scenes from the movie, cheapening Paul's internal struggles with what he is, and ruining the thematic impact of the film. Lynch's storytelling is horrible--relying on character thought and exposition to tell things better shown. And Lynch's own additions are abysmal--such as the contrived weirding modules. No one and nothing is shown in the depth it acquires in the book.

The final problems are incredible. One, Paul is clearly shown as a good-guy superhero, not a man of amazing power both spiritually and temporally, who is in questionable moral ground. Second, it rains at the end. (This would slaughter the sandworms, destroy the spice, make conventional space travel impossible, and generally wreak havoc in the Empire.)

Read the book, which is great. Skip this garbage.
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On its own merits...
jeeves-123 September 2002
I have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to see this movie: read the book first. Then, my second piece of advice is: after you have read the book, don't compare the movie to the book. Let the movie stand on its own merits. This movie, at time, a great many times in fact, asks a lot of the view. Moreover, it makes a number of assumptions of the viewer. I watched the movie several times before I read the book and found that I enjoyed both more once I enjoyed both several times. The movie does leave a lot out, but, the movie doesn't ask the viewer to really understand and fully grasp the story the way Mr. Herbert wrote it.

Speaking only of the visuals, this movie is incredible. The sets, costumes, the cinematography etc. where top notch for the day. Even today, much of this original movie could not be improved upon by the newest version produced for the SciFi Channel. Not fully knowing how to express it, I will only say that in comparison to the new version, this Lynch version seems more real, more tangible than the SciFi version.

Despite its shortcomings in comparison to the book, this movie remains one of my favorite movies of all time. To enjoy it you have to take what is given.
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Big fan of the book, movie is okay.
cheezybobbers9 September 2004
I've been a fan of the Dune series since I was twelve, and I first saw the movie about that time. I do enjoy the movie, however, I can see that it would be difficult to follow without having read the book. I read that David Lynch cut about an hour from the movie's length, that hour probably would've been better left in to help move the story a little more smoothly. It didn't stay true to the book completely, but the book is so detailed that I don't see how any movie could really capture it totally. At any rate, the movie is an enjoyable experience, if a little choppy, but seeing as how it was approved by Frank Herbert himself that is unimportant. All in all I give this movie a seven on a scale of one to ten.
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Dated fx, but still a great story and nicely executed movie
remy-2414 June 2005
Dune. At first, I only knew it from the games. Then I found out there were books, and after that, there was a movie. I'm talking 2000 here, and I've only just recently seen it. More than 20 years after the movie was made, and seeing it in this era of very cunning special fx and 3D does make it look dated a bit. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No. The movie is pretty good actually. But the problem with it is, that you can't tell the whole Dune-story in just one movie: it should have been a two or even three-piece like LOTR. People completely unfamiliar with the Dune-story and world will ask themselves after viewing it: 'what the hell was that all about?' while I myself say: 'that was quite nice actually'. The budget was no less than 40 million dollars, huge huge for 1984. And it shows: the costumes, ships, decors and worm-fx are great. If it would be made in this year, it would probably be brilliant. In 1984 it was a bit limited because of technological limits, not creative ones.

Yes, I liked it, and once more added a new dimension of understanding for me to the story of Dune. The spice, the houses, the Fremen, the worms, everything is a bit clearer now. 7 out of 10, just good.
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Poor adaptation of a superb novel
trekker429 September 2001
For those of you who have perhaps read Frank Herbert's original Dune, and are considering viewing this movie, here's some advice: don't. Swish orange juice, toothpaste, and clam chowder in your mouth: you'll get the same effect.

Herbert wrote an epic masterpiece that should be regarded as the Hamlet of science fiction (actually, it is very vaguely adapted from Hamlet). David Lynch scripted and directed a butchery of this novel. He made so many mistakes, it is impossible to cover them all. Here's a general idea: the novel is summarized, not adapted. The movie contains about half of the elements involved in the story, and watching it makes you feel like you're falling asleep and missing half the plot. Everybody in the story has an agenda, but you get to see only half of these agendas, and are left to imagine the others. Character development was mediocre, and paled in comparison to the rich depth given in the novel. The writers obviously did not understand Herbert's technologies, because the movie displayed loads of horse dung where there should have been intricacies that would say, "Star Wars, eat your heart out." There was poor acting from everybody but Jurgen Prochnow as Leto, Patrick Stewart as Halleck, and Sting as Rautha. And finally, the special effects of the time simply weren't up to snuff for Herbert's vision. From the blue eyes to the force fields, everything looked horribly cheesy. If the folks had waited a decade, or maybe used something better than a third-grader's sketch pad, then they would have had stunning visual effects.

Overall, what we are left with here is a definitive flop. I can only hope that the TV miniseries version that aired last year did a better job. On a scale of 1 to 10, this movie is somewhere around absolute zero (-273.15, FYI).
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Unrelentingly Awful
BeeTee21 June 2008
When this film was released in 1984, I had some misgivings, as putting Frank Herbert's epic novel on to the big screen was always going to rank with the labours of Hercules. So I went to see it and came away convinced that I has just seen the worst big-budget film of all time. Its crippling handicap was the quality of the screen writing. As I watched it, I tried to relate the portrayed characters to their counterparts in the book and found that I could not recognise a single one. I wondered if David Lynch had actually read the book before he wrote the screenplay.

The acting was dreadful and the dialogue was worse. I have seen most of the cast in other films where they were actually permitted to act, which is just as well, or I would have grown up thinking that they were all overblown, second-rate hams. The biggest piece of mis-casting was to have Patrick Stewart play Gurney Halleck - he deserved much better than that and I hope he didn't spend too long regretting accepting this role. Choosing another at random: Everitt McGill as Stilgar was less than memorable, not being allowed to act, but simply progressing from one sonorous pronouncement to the next.

The sets were brilliant - I have no quarrel with that part of the film - but imaginative backdrops alone cannot bolster a production where the quality of the script and acting - or rather, the direction - fell so dismally short of any acceptable standard.

The costumes were also very well done, with one notable, and very important exception: Lynch clearly forgot most of what he had read in the book when he approved the final design of the Fremen stillsuits.

On occasion, over the intervening twenty-odd years, when I have thought about this unrelentingly awful film, it has been more in regret than anger. Despite this, I never really gave up on it and, four months ago, when I found the three-hour extended version, at a price that made it worth the effort, I bought it in the hope that some extra added footage might give the wretched thing some credibility.

It was a forlorn hope. This extended version is an even bigger train wreck than the original theatrical release, and was clearly re-worked for television - it is easy to spot the blanks for the commercial break cues. The editing is quite incompetent and added scenes that have no context in the story line at the place where they were inserted - for example, one repeated scene showed the same Harkonnen ship approaching the landing field at Arrakeen. Another piece of sloppy editing early in the film had Reverend Mother Helen Gaius Mohaim being transported to Caladan, the home world of House Atriedes, by the same two Harkonnen pilots that took Jessica and Paul into the deep desert on Dune, after the Harkonnen attack.

There was one particular, poignant part of the novel that both versions of the film left hanging, and which deserved to be included. That was the death of Thufir Hawat, at the end, after the Imperial forces had surrendered to Duke Paul Atreides. In the film, this life-long servant of House Atreides was left standing among the Imperial captives, gazing vacantly at the ceiling, suffering from the terminal effects of the residual poison that the Harkonnens had infected him with after they captured him on Dune and subverted him to their own service. In the book, however, the dying Hawat was given a poisoned needle by Emperor Shaddam and Reverend Mother Mohaiam and ordered to assassinate Paul, this 'upstart Duke', when he stood before him. Hawat disobeyed, and as he he stood before Paul, he turned to the Emperor in a magnificent gesture, holding out his hand with the needle in its palm and said, "See, Majesty? See your traitor's needle? Did you think that I who've given my life to service to the Atreides would give them any less now?" Then he collapsed and died in his Duke's arms.

I have read that David Lynch wanted nothing to do with the extended version, and he was right to disown it. Even so, with the original release, there was so much that he could have done to turn Frank Herbert's novel into something memorable. Instead, he made an abomination that deserves to dumped into the same rubbish can as that dreadful Starship Troopers.
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Dune Rocks!!!!
Allentoker24 July 2007
I haven't seen this movie in years,and a couple weeks ago I caught it on TV at my buddy Zak's house and it blew my f***ing mind.Of course, I had time to become a huge David Lynch fan and study cinema intensely since the first time I watched it, but it is still a visually awe inspiring film.It is almost if not just as visually stunning and beautiful, as well as emotionally,psychologically, and intellectually stimulating as Kubrick's 2001:a Space Odyssey.The cast is amazing,practically every good actor you can think of plays in this movie.The makeup effects by Gianetto de Rossi,one of my favorites, are incredible.And David Lynch's beautiful and delicate direction is some of the best in his career.And don't let me forget the scope and vision of this film are incredible,even though I can see where Hollywood tampered with it, I can also see Lynch's true intentions were with this movie,which is so great its good enough to make this film incredible. I'll end my review with my favorite line of the movie,with a close up of Dean Stockwell's moustached lips,"The tooth...the tooth!"
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Deserves more credit but also deserves criticism
superman2k3811 September 2003
DUNE is an odd film. After having watched it several times over the years, I'm not afraid to call it a very flawed classic. That sounds strange, but it fits for this movie. Lynch got so many things right, but in the end the shortcomings of trying to squeeze an epic story into a little over 2 hours was simply too daunting a challenge. Besides, I'm sure many went into the theatre expecting a film in the vein of STAR WARS.

DUNE is not a story with which one can delve into brainless. It does require thought, for it's inaccurate to portray it as anything less than a thinking person's story. It's not space battles, laser-gun shootouts, funny aliens, etc. There's nothing wrong with those things, it's just not what DUNE is about. It touches on everything from politics, religion, ecology, the true power of the human mind and will when fully realized, God, etc. Some heady stuff.

So imagine trying to fit all that in a movie.

Lynch got the feel, the imagery down, but wasn't able to cohesively bring the story around w/o really making it a Cliff Notes version of the story. You get the main gist, but don't get the "full story", the themes, etc. So in the end it does disappoint because you're left wondering what may have been had the movie conventions of that time allowed for a 2 or even 3 movie epic. Oh wait, STAR WARS did that. I guess DUNE wasn't viewed as bankable enough to make such an investment.

Anyway, I still like the film a lot. The visual realization by Lynch makes it a classic in my book, too bad it couldn't be matched by an equally strong script. I wonder if Peter Jackson would be willing to tackle another 3 film epic? Hmmmmmm.....
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Not Lynch's finest moment
muligens10 December 2016
I'm a massive fan of David Lynch and I also love the Dune book. Yet I've never gotten around to watching Dune until now. I admit the terrible reputation of the movie has been a big part of why I've avoided it, but how bad can it really be right? The answer is, pretty bad.

I has some of the hammiest acting I have ever seen. Some of it was so bad I had to turn away from the screen in embarrassment. The bad guys are all total caricatures and it was hard to take anyone seriously. Camper than a jamboree, but not in a fun way.

The score was also pretty bad. 80's operatic rock has never been a favourite and Toto certainly pulls out all the stops here. We're bombarded by majestic electric guitars way past the point of over-saturation.

And worst of all is the endless exposition. Everything happening on screen apparently has to be explained by a narrator or an inner monologue. Some of the time they're flat out describing what we can already see happening on screen.

The less said about the special effects the better. In 1984 they should have been able to do a lot better.

So, does it have any redeeming features? The art deco inspired sets are pretty cool. The film certainly looks interesting and unique. Unfortunately, that's about it.

Worth watching once but I doubt I could sit through that again.
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2nd worst movie I've ever seen
wcb23 January 1999
Frank Herbert put on a good face and said he was pleased, but you could see the truth and the suffering in his eyes. He died shortly after release, probably to escape the horror. This movie sets special effects back by about a century or so, is a monument to bad acting and bad direction, and redefines "hopelessly muddled plotlines." Sad, because it's such a great book. If you've read the book you can barely figure out that it's supposed to be the same story. If you haven't read the book, you won't be able to understand even one thing that's going on. The sandworms are a joke, the stillsuit design completely ignores their purpose, the ornithopters are stupid, the space ships look like some kid playing with his mom's dishes, and the blue eyeballs look exactly like what they are-- some guy with an airbrush going over the movie frame by frame to try to convince you that these people really do have blue eyeballs. Not to mention that the musical score is a travesty. Can you tell?-- I hate this movie.
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Completely Awful
dropkickdive26927 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I walked into this being slightly aware of the Dune universe. This film features: - An incoherent plot - Lousy effects for the time period (this is following 2001, Star Wars 4-6, and Star Trek 1 & 2, after all) - Horrible overacting, - Terrible casting (Sting, really? was that necessary?) - Ridiculous fantasy/techno-babble, - Terrible music (especially the vintage 80's guitar over the closing credits, that's what you get when you pick Toto to do your soundtrack)

There is really little redeeming about the theatrical version, except for the certain point where it becomes so bad that it starts to be funny.
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If It Were A Fish I'd Throw It Back
Lechuguilla5 August 2005
This film's only redeeming quality is the original score by Toto. The music, at least some of it, is appropriately celestial, ethereal, almost subliminal in its orchestration. That said, the film's other elements are awful.

The plot is an incoherent mess. I had no idea what was going on. After the first thirty minutes, I really didn't care what was going on. Character and place names confuse and irritate; they are like something from out of a witch's dictionary. The characters are uninteresting, and I could not identify with any of them. They have no sense of humor, and always seem to be in a bad mood. (Whatever happened to antidepressants?). The dialogue is heavy duty, melodramatic mumbo jumbo. The voice-over technique is overused, and is therefore irritating. The casting is poor. Kyle MacLachlan is not convincing in the role he plays, because he lacks charisma. The worms have no personality. The special effects are mediocre at best. And the film is full of cheap cinematic gimmicks, like blue eyeballs, futuristic techno-gadgets, and a floating fat man.

It is a dreadfully pretentious and ponderous film that takes itself way too seriously. Even Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" has some entertainment value, derived from its technical crudeness. But, apart from portions of the soundtrack, "Dune" has no entertainment value of any kind. The film is cold and clammy. It has all the charm of a dead fish.
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Stupid, Cheesy, Waste Of Time
rwduke16 August 1999
This has got to be one of the most stupid movies I have ever seen. There is nothing good about this movie. The acting is horrid, the special effects are ludicrous. The story is incredibly boring. Don't waste your time on this movie.
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How can something this right be so WRONG?
harkonnen1234516 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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