All posts for Movies in September 2021


Movies: Dune (1984) [2021 review]

The mere fact that David Lynch's Dune was made at all, and in the Hollywood of the early 1980s to boot, is something of a miracle. Would that it was a better adaptation of the source material, or just a better movie, period.

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2021-09-03 12:00:00 No comments


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Note: Back in 2004, I wrote a review of David Lynch's Dune that was quite sarcastic (shilling for snide). On re-reading it, I disliked the review, in big part because my own feelings about the movie have grown more nuanced. The original review is still available at its original URL but I've removed the Movies category tag for it, so it's now just another blog post. Consider this one its replacement in the actual Movies listing.

The mere fact that David Lynch's Dune was made at all, and in the Hollywood of the early 1980s to boot, is something of a miracle. Would that it was a better adaptation of the source material, or just a better movie, period. It seems best thought of as an SF-tinged descendant of conventional Hollywood historical costume epics -- The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Spartacus -- as it has both the best qualities of those projects (epic scope, ambitious plotting, fun casting) and their worst (ponderousness, pretentiousness, miscalculations of pace and tone).

Frank Herbert's now-classic novel used the struggle for resources in the Middle East as the jumping-off point for a blend of soft SF and James A. Michener-esque historical fiction that still remains unsurpassed. Two feuding noble houses in a far-future universe enter into a tricky agreement to transfer control of a strategically important planet, a wasteland that no one would bother with were it not for the invaluable, druglike substance harvested from its sands. When the Atreides, receivers of the planet, are betrayed by the Harkonnen, its former custodians, the dauphin of the Atreides goes into hiding with his mother, and finds he's being received as a messiah by the indigenous population.

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Tags: David Lynch Dune Frank Herbert Science Fiction Repair Shop movies review science fiction


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