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What 'DID' Lynch get right in his Dune movie?


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    My first contact with Dune was in going to see it at the movies at age 19. Yeah I was pretty confused as to what was going on but i totally loved the production design of it and also liked the actors. I especially like the way the credits roll at the end with the ocean in the background. I thought it gave the movie some class.

Anyway, 20 years later (and after seeing the Dune movie about 15 times) i finally got around to reading the book and after reading them all I can understand why so many people hate the movie. I still love the movie but agree that there were some agregious departures. I gues Hellen Monhiem being a telepath and the 'weirding module' weapons are the worst for me. Despite this though I still think the movie is great and consider it to be a kind of visual treat and compendum to the book which I love and wish I'd read sooner.  ;)

  I want people here to list what they thought Lynch got right about the movie. What I'd like is for you to list things that you really liked about the movie as far as it being a representation of the story and things that you hate. A couple of each would be nice and also list your favorite and least favorite scene.

  Fire away.

  I'll start.

  LOVE: I really like the sense of culture in the movie. I thought the movie really portrayed what the book wanted to say about the Dune universe being a thing that was 10,000 years in the making. Maybe it was going over the top with the simplifications a bit with the Atriedies planet being so lovely and Giedi Prime being a scab infested hell hole but I thought the tone was just about right.

        I also liked the Baron. He too was maybe a bit over the top and lacked some subtly but you have to convey alot in a few seconds or just one look and I thought the actor who portrayed him did a great job.

  FAVORTIE SCENE:  I don't know why but i really love the scene where Paul practices against the fighter. I guess I just love the design of it. Reminds me of a Dalek.

  HATE:  I don't like the way the Shadout Mapes was sneaking behind all the other maids on the first day of inspection. It was a kind of rediculous red herring.

        Of cousre the fact that it magically starts to rain when paul triumphs at the end. That's just silly. Also, in the extended cut i just saw there is a narrative about how Pauls reign would be one of eternal peace and love (rather than the Billions slaughtered in the Jihad).

  Worst Scene:  I thought the Navigators puking out planets in his transportation scene was just weird and silly looking.

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That was an interesting read for sure. I sure wish FH had lived for another thirty year or so.

However, that article is showing us a bit more of what FH thought about the movie. My post is insterested in what the average Dune fan thinks the movie got right. I personally love the movie despite not liking some things about it. So I want to know what people do like about it as most seem to either just love it or hate it. Even those who hate it must like some things.

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I also saw the movie in the theaters when it came out. It wasn't anything like I imagined, but I didn't automatically hate it.

With time, I learned to divorce it from the books in my mind and just enjoy it on its own merits, as baroque camp overdone as only David Lynch funded by Dino de Laurentis could do it. So I don't really think about it in terms of what Lynch got right.

Precious little, actually. But I still love it.

(Btw, it's 11,000 years to the Jihad and 10,000-plus years after that to Dune, so the Duniverse is 21,000 years in the making.)

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It was really interesting to read some of FH's thoughts about the meaning and message of his own work:

Paul was a man playing god, not a god who could make it rain.

Dune was aimed at this whole idea of the infallible leader because my view of history says mistakes made by a leader (or made in a leader's name) are amplified by the numbers who follow without question.

That's how 900 people wound up in Guyana drinking poison Kool-Aid.

That's how the U.S. said "Yes, sir, Mister Charismatic John Kennedy!" and found itself embroiled in Vietnam.

That's how Germany said "Sieg Heil!" and murdered more than six million of our fellow human beings.

Leadership and our dependence on it (how and why we choose particular leaders) is a much misunderstood historical phenomenon.

You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter some thing you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it underlines illusions of omnipotence.

I really should re-read the Dune series. The last time I read any of the books I was 15. I bet I'll find things in them that I didn't see before.

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love the books.

Lynchs' film i also liked. Irrespective of the scenes he was forced to cut.

The mood and aura around certain characters and scenes were fantastic.

Rather than explain it all he was forced to show parrells like the ugly harks, the prettier atredies the rugged fremen.

I thought the characters thoughts were portrayed well - considering there isnt all that much chat in dune, i can understand peoples confusion.

The film was cast superbly - perhaps not lynchs' doing apart from Jack Nance who i thought was a fine rabban - although we saw hardly anything of him.

The exaggerated B Harko was brilliant - despite lack of intellegence.

Stilgar was good - despite the lack of character depth.

I enjoyed paul, leto, jessica, the emperor, yueh, guerney.

The stillsuit looked the piece and i liked the idea of a wierding module, carryalls were good and general set design was nice, hunter seeker probes were good, wind traps looked good.

The music was epic.

I would have more negative comments about cut scenes - IF it had been a six hour epic, i am sure i would have enjoyed it a whole lot more.

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I love both the Frank Herbert novels and the Lynch movie.

In my opinion a faithful adaptation of the books made into a commercial movie is simply unrealistic.

Moreover i want each new movie adaptation to be a complete new world that still amaze me, even if i already know the storyline.

The movie maker has to appropriate the Dune license and deliver his own vision to the new and old audience.

David Lynch did it and he did in a so memorable way that doing something new that remotely compares in the creativity department would immediatly gain me as a supporter.

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Moreover i want each new movie adaptation to be a complete new world that still amaze me' date=' even if i already know the storyline.[/quote']

That's an interesting opinion.  Most of the time, especially with a long-established story like DUNE,

fans want the movie adaptation to follow as closely to the book as possible.  Which always leads to

disappointment. {They left out This, they got That wrong} I think what you're really talking about here

is a 'reimagining' instead of an classical 'adaptation' - like the way comic books relaunch old titles.

That's probably a sane way to deal with movies from books that don't follow the original as closely

as diehard fans would like. And you're surely right, a "faithful adaption" of DUNE is unrealistic.

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What DID Lynch get right? Nothing much, that's for sure.

Love:

The visual style. The costumes and backgrounds were excellent. It looked very nice and feudal, just the way Dune should.

Patrick Stewart. You had to see that one coming.

The unintentional hilarity.

Hate:

The ridiculous portrayal of the Baron.

The misrepresentation about the Paul's role. The main character, for gods sake.

The usual weirding modules, raining, blah blah blah. But those practically go without saying.

The incoherent dreaming sequences.

The complete lack of explanation why people were actually doing something.

The utter confusion all across the board.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Love the film, but don't know why!!! The atmosphere is really good, gets across the epic-religous feel of the books and again i like the casting, possibly the baron was a BIT over the top.

Hate the missing scenes, but then again it is no worse than what Peter Jackson did to Lord of the Rings (where was the battle in the shire at th end~!)!

I suppose pretty much everything to hate or love has already been covered, but in terms of film length i don't see why they couldn't have done a LotR style trilogy or something, or just made it longer. I have read the article explaining that no-one would want to take that kind of risk, but think of Das Boot (a highly sucessful film, brought out in Germany 3 years earlier and over 3 hrs long!), which is an amazing film i would reccomend you watch, starring none other than Duke Leto himself!

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  • 3 weeks later...

One thing I definitely do not like about the film (though I like it overall) is how the ornithopters look: they look darn silly, if you ask me.

Some of the special effects are not up to scratch.

Another thing is that a lot of the film seems rushed - as we've probably mentioned a hundred times before.

And, again a thing mentioned all the time: Why did they take out the part where Hawat dies? It leaves an awful gap.

Oh, and those Speedos of Sting's look dreadful!

What I like:

The atmosphere, including most of the sets.

The actors and their costumes.

The opening and closing credit sequences (though I hate myself for saying it).

The guild in the tank at the beginning. (Oh! I hate myself even more!)

I'm undecided about the music in general, but at the moment I would say it's a bit too '80s to be liked. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

    My first contact with Dune was in going to see it at the movies at age 19. Yeah I was pretty confused as to what was going on but i totally loved the production design of it and also liked the actors. I especially like the way the credits roll at the end with the ocean in the background. I thought it gave the movie some class.

I was 21 when I saw the movie (in the theatre, the way it was meant to be seen). I'd already read the book, and was greatly anticipating the movie. I was also looking forward to seeing Patrick Stewart, although not because of his popularity as Picard -- ST:TNG was three years in the future at the time! I first saw Stewart in I, Claudius, where he played the evil Lucius Aelius Sejanus, and was curious to see how he'd play Gurney Halleck...

I guess we'll never know, since the character of Gurney in the movie was not much like the character of Gurney in the book -- and he had that stupid pug dog with him for YEARS' worth of story-time! Why wouldn't the Fremen have taken that mutt's water long before the end of the movie?!

I want people here to list what they thought Lynch got right about the movie. What I'd like is for you to list things that you really liked about the movie as far as it being a representation of the story and things that you hate. A couple of each would be nice and also list your favorite and least favorite scene.

I'll get my least favorite scenes out of the way now. I hated the characterization of the Baron. There are scenes that still turn my stomach, and I've seen this movie more times than I can remember. I also hate the bit at the end where Paul makes it rain. That right there is the worst scene in the movie, period. It effectively cancels the previous two hours and 39 minutes the audience has just sat through.

As for what I liked... when I sat there and watched the people in Castle Caladan, the palace in Arrakeen, and Sietch Tabr, they looked like real places that real people could live and work in. In other words, they didn't scream "movie set!" to me. The amount of detail that went into the sets is beyond amazing.

The music is another part I love about the movie. A lot of fans mock the Guild Navigator scene, but how many of them have sat in a theatre and experienced the sense of total relaxation the music brings? When I was watching the movie, there was a lot of muttering from people who hadn't read the book and couldn't figure out what was going on. But the muttering stopped completely during that scene -- you could have heard a pin drop, the audience was so silent.

I've had involved arguments/debates with people over the years about the costuming. I think they got the Fremen entirely wrong. Rubber stillsuits? Especially black rubber stillsuits? It just about killed some of the actors; I can't imagine anybody living an everyday life wearing those things. However... Lynch and the costume designers got the Emperor and the other Imperial characters' costumes exactly right. The people who had to look grungy, did. The aristocracy had fancy, impractical outfits that suit people who don't have to do practical things on a day-to-day basis. Imagine Princess Irulan (the movie character, not the one in the silly butterfly dress from the miniseries, although my point remains the same for that version, too)... going about her daily routine in the lacy, wide-skirted, uncomfortable-looking getup she had on. Sure, I would have bought the Imperial folks' having less elaborate costumes, but as I said... they could afford to be frivolous and elaborate. They weren't the people scrubbing the floors and doing the other work.

The scenes I liked... well, I noticed someone here mocking Sting's shower scene. I guess you have to be female to appreciate that scene. ;) I loved the desert vistas, and pretty much any scene with Jurgen Prochnow (yeah, even the one with the dumb pug dog).

It's too bad that people will never again be able to see this movie on the big screen, as it was meant to be seen. It's an experience that's completely unlike merely watching it on TV.

 

I really like the sense of culture in the movie.

Me, too. There's the sense that things happen off-camera, as well as on, that there's more to the story than just what we see and hear.

I guess I just love the design of it. Reminds me of a Dalek.

Shh.. KJA might hear you!  :O

...Jack Nance who i thought was a fine rabban...

Rabban was played by Paul Smith. Jack Nance played Nefud.

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The music is another part I love about the movie. A lot of fans mock the Guild Navigator scene, but how many of them have sat in a theatre and experienced the sense of total relaxation the music brings? When I was watching the movie, there was a lot of muttering from people who hadn't read the book and couldn't figure out what was going on. But the muttering stopped completely during that scene -- you could have heard a pin drop, the audience was so silent.

You mean the scene where the Navigator folds space to take them to Dune? It's funny you should mention that scene. I've always thought it looked a bit too strange, but I sort of liked the eeriness of it. My dad, who saw the movie on the big screen when it came out, was always rather impressed by it, and I never understood why.

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Yes, that's the scene. It does look strange, but after all, it's supposed to. I realize we've all been brought up to be familiar with the concept of FTL and most of us just mentally gloss over that when we read or watch science fiction. But the Dune foldspace technology scene is attempting to show in two dimensions what theoretically takes several more dimensions to achieve. It's going to be weird.

Mind you, I'm not saying I actually liked the way the Navigators seemed like they were coughing up planets, but without resorting to diagrams and using technology that didn't exist in 1984, how else would you do it?

I'm glad your dad was impressed. :)

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