Dune (1984)

The Internet Movie Database       Movie Reviews

Intergalactic politics and a cult religion determine the fate of the universe through the actions of one boy who grows up to be the promised liberator of the desert people of the planet Arrakis.

This is the 1984 movie of the book; I’ve also reviewed the Made for TV version. See disclaimer below!

This verson SUCKED. I remember seeing it in the theatre, the shortened version that was released that year, and not being too unhappy with it, although at the time I said that anyone who had not read the book was probably completely lost…well, the full director’s cut was worse.

In the longer version, they tried to solve the ‘complicated storyline’ problem by adding a lot of plot explication up front, which not only delayed the real action to halfway through the movie, but also gave away everything in the beginning! One of the best parts of the book is following along with Paul, as he slowly figures things out for himself…being told all the major items of information by a narrator destroys any suspense there may have been.

Plus they use the EXTREMELY ANNOYING plot device of having characters look blankly at the screen while speaking their thoughts in a voiceover…now this is truly bad screenwriting. And the narrator breaks in to the storyline, catching the audience up on things that are happening that the writers couldn’t figure any other way to work into the dialogue.

The only really neat special effect was the force fields, although they gave the worms a good try, for the time it was made. Many of the actors, especially Francesca Annis, were very good, and Sting is a serious honey…but I couldn’t help thinking about the more recent version of Dune, which looked pretty darn good in comparison…

DISCLAIMER: A friend brought this over for me and Mr. Otter to watch, which we were happy to do. This was the 180 minute director’s cut, which is not available on DVD…because of that, all the links on this page are to the 134 minute theatrical release DVD version, which I saw so long ago that I can’t compare it to this long version.

Also, I’m not sure where my friend got this one…but when we watched it, the reproduction was TERRIBLE. Looked like a bad xerox, and facial expressions were lost in a sea of washed-out flattened colors. And Japanese subtitles, very distracting. So I’m sure some of my aversion to this is due to the bad copy we saw, not the film itself…but I still yawned all the way through it…

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