The desert planet Arrakis - we enter the year 10191 and the whole universe depends on the spice Melange which exists only on this dry and desolate planet. The natives of this planet await the arrival of their Messiah who will lead them into a holy war against the evil Harkonnen empire. This is the film adaptation based on Frank Herbert's cult novel.
Set in a distant future where life in the universe and space travel is dependent upon a spice found only on the planet Dune, this film tracks the rise of young Paul Atreides, son of noble Duke Leto, from the time of his father's betrayal and murder by the evil Baron Harkonnen, to his discovery of the great secret behind the planet Dune and his own destiny, which is to free the planet and its denizens of the cruel rule of the Emperor.
I DID read the Frank Herbert novel and found the 1984 version of "Dune" to be more faithful to his words and vision than any version made since. The actors that were brought together to portray Herbert's characters were superb, and the screenplay was extremely well-done. In my opinion, Lynch made an excellent movie. It's true, it IS slow in places, but that's only because we, as a culture, have become accustomed to seeing an explosion every three minutes. A true purpose and meaningful dialog seem to evade our movie-enjoyment radar. It also seems as if those explosions are supposed to take the place of that meaningful dialog, or the contemplation of higher issues.
This, the 1984 version of "Dune", has been called "STAR WARS for the thinking-man", and while I am a fan of the Star Wars franchise, I hold these words as true. The believable characters, believable accomplishments for the time-period depicted, and dialog that seems reasonable, make for a great movie.
A word about the "longer" version... There IS, indeed, a longer version of the 1984 picture. This version, however, was practically disowned by David Lynch; so much so that the director credited was Alan Smithee. As some may know, Alan Smithee is the catch-all name used by directors that wish to divest themselves from works they've created. The longer version is almost 4 hours long, and as far as I know, has only been seen on the Sci-fi channel once or twice. I have never seen it on DVD or for sale on video, although I have taped it from the Sci-fi channel.
I love both of these versions of Dune, and would highly recommend them. If you watched once and didn't get into it, try it again, but put aside your expectations and preconceived notions about traditional cinema. 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. A most fascinating disaster of genre making. Nowhere. It just does not exist. The closest we have to David Lynch's original vision is the theatrical release. Some people sometimes refer to the extended TV cut as the "director's cut" (and some even dare to offer copies of it in various auction sites under that label), but that couldn't be further removed from reality, as that version was rejected by Lynch to the point of deleting his name from the credits. A legal DVD of Dune: The Director's Cut exists, but that's for the 2000 Sci-Fi Channel miniseries, not this film.
However, the cast and crew of Lynch's Dune have confirmed that Lynch showed them an 'assembly cut' of the film shortly after principal photography wrapped. Although the film had yet to go through post-production, the reaction was very positive. This cut has not been seen since (as is the case with most assembly cuts).
There is also a fan version available, that attempts to get closer to both the novel and David Lynch's original vision: http://www.fanedit.org/ifdb/412-dune-the-alternative-edition-redux It's "Backyard" by Emmett Chapman, included on his album Parallel Galaxy. Chapman was also the creator of the instrument (known as the Chapman Stick) that Gurney plays, repainted and with an added lower part to represent the Baliset described by Frank Herbert in the original novel. Herbert was very complimentary towards the film, impressed that Lynch had managed to include so much from his novel in such a short time. He did, however, take a small issue with the portrayal of Paul as having become a literal god-figure at the end. Both versions contain footage that's missing in the other one, but the Theatrical Version lacks way more footage. Furthermore several scenes have been removed and reinserted afterwards in the TV Version, some of them are edited differently. But these differences aren't mentioned in this comparison because it would break the mold. David Lychn's version is the Theatrical Version btw. He wasn't involved in the TV Version and ordered that his name in the opening credits was going to be replaced by Alan Smithee . The main difference in the two versions is the fact that the TV Version has been split up to smaller episodes. As a result of that, the movie doesn't look like a motion picture anymore but like a big TV production. a5c7b9f00b
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