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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fascinating, often brilliant failure

    Some misfires are more worth watching than many total successes. Lynch need not repudiate this film, as he has, apparently under pressure to disown it to restore his dignity in Hollywood. While no one could have overcome the basic problem of telling such a sprawling science-fiction story full of made-up names, races, places, technologies and traditions in 2-1/2 hours -- virtually every scene is burdened with expository dialogue -- and though Lynch's unenthusiasm for conventional heroes is clear (the film really comes alive during the sicko Harkonnen scenes), Dune is replete with successful scenes; they simply don't, and can't, add up to a successful film. As there isn't much sustained drama, the large international cast of superb actors brings virtually all the depth the film has, depicting their characters and conveying layers of subtext in a line or two, with flawless readings and great dignity -- the exceptions being Linda Hunt, who overdoes her two scenes; uproariously (and welcomely) over-the-top Kenneth McMillan; and, often, the otherwise fine Kyle MacLachlin in his debut. Standouts for range, depth and impact are Francesca Annis, Max von Sydow, Freddy Francis (sp?), Dean Stockwell, Patrick Stewart, Sian Phillips (who is brilliant, except for one line it would be impossible to read well, near the end). Even the crowd of bit players and extras make this strange story believable, with convincing military bearing amongst the soldiers, persuasive dedication amongst the Atreides bodyguards and technical servants, and menacing lassitude amongst the Spice-besotted but politically supreme Guild Navigators. The production design is unique and absolutely ravishing: vividly detailed to the smallest particular, highly varied by each of the four planets we visit, a banquet for the eyes -- and looks nothing whatsoever like 2001, Star Wars, Star Trek, or Blade Runner. Sian Phillips' black robes swirl in arcs as she sweeps out of a room; personal force-fields are not glowing auras, but bronze and cubist, like buzzing translucent coffins with arms; Harkonnen chimes are discordant, and their music is a whine tortured out of a box; the Baron Harkonnen wears his sores and pustules like beauty spots, and, about to have sex with his nephew, shouts, ''WHERE'S MY DOCTOR?'' The sound design, always a mesmerizing treat in a Lynch film, is complex, weird, and a great help in sustaining the film. Editing is excellent, the Toto music not bad and often appropos, though Maurice Jarre or Jerry Goldsmith would have lifted the film a notch or two higher. The FX are often good, but often un-good by even the standards of 1984, as in the bluescreen sequences, many of which would be howlers today. Too many scenes are weakened by a single clumsy FX shot amongst several that are smashingly good, a single line read badly (usually MacLachlin), or a single thing designed unimaginatively (the Heighliners). A romance is depicted in a couple of lines and one or two striking images, and again we are denied an involving drama. Lynch conveys a lot with economical dialogue, then overdoes it with unnecessary inner-monologue voice-overs. Yet, this film was apparently a monster hit in Japan, like A.I. was, and has its fans here (it is a favorite of Texas writer Neal Barrett Jr.). I understand that Frank Herbert approved of it, and while the story may have been better laid out in the new cable version (unseen by this reviewer), it couldn't have been done with the imagination and power on show here. A worthy depiction of science fiction ideas, well worth the time of real SF fans (not those who came late to the genre by way of action-packed nonsense like Star Wars or Total Recall or The Matrix) ... but finally, rather like the biggest SF film of the 1930s, Things to Come, just a depiction, and not a gripping, engrossing film. BTW: Universal basically killed the film following a management change, and it was not promoted; the new big shot often shows his power

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Adapting to this Dune Adaptation

    Obviously, this movie strays wide from the book. This has frustrated many literary fans for years. However, for it's time, this movie was well executed. Science fiction movie fans will enjoy the mood of the piece as well the characters though the first time viewer will be confused by the obscure terminology and concepts. I enjoyed the HG Well's Time Machine influence and could tell that it was done in a foreign country. The movie stands up to repeated viewing (actually the secret to really enjoying it) and is still one of my favorites. The beautiful Francesca Annis (Jessica Attreides) and Max Von Sydow (Pardot Kynes) are memorable in their parts and the casting was excellent. Though Patrick Stewart was not really the Gurney Halleck of the book, he added to the movie. In summary, the overall acting is convincing. Lynch's direction is at times brilliant and at others borderline pretentious. Given the meat of the story, it would be hard one to translate into pictures so I excuse most of the faux-pauxs. I also appreciate that he didn't stoop to the post-apocalyptic noir that so many sci-fi films were going with at the time such as Blade Runner and kept an organic Old World feeling throughout. It is obvious that he is a very talented insightful director.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The work of a demented genius

    David Lynch's DUNE is a confusing mish-mash of the award-winning novel written by Frank Herbert. In 2 hours and twenty minutes, Lynch manages to hit just enough high points in the story to keep it moving in a comprehensible manner. However, he also fails to trim out enough of Herbert's linguistic excesses, and adds his own demented spin on the evil Harkonnens, making them laughable enemies rather than the calculating conspirator's of the novel. His addition of such strange concepts as ''The Wierding Module'' and the Baron's puss-laden boils add nothing to the story, and nearly push it to the level of a farce. But there is just enough genius here in the staging of certain scenes (Paul's training; the Reverend Mother's test) and the inspired casting (Patrick Stewart, Sian Phillips, Francesca Annis, Max Von Sydow) to keep it on track. A matinee' version of the film with about 30 extra minutes of incomprehensible footage slapped in has been around for several years. Lynch refused to allow his name to be used on this version. With over 4 hours of film originally shot this film cries out for a director's cut. Perhaps with a new TV version due out in December, there will be some incentive for the studio and director to finally clarify the film version of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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