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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.43%
Average: 10.32%
Pretty Bad: 11.9%
Total Crap: 17.46%

4 reviews, 102 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"Lynch does megabudget sci-fi. Of obvious interest."
4 stars

'Dune,' the notorious 1984 flop directed by David Lynch, deserves serious reappraisal. When first released, the movie disappointed fans of the Frank Herbert novel, baffled American critics, and swiftly disappeared. About the only people who didn't detest it (though even they were lukewarm) were admirers of 'Eraserhead' and 'The Elephant Man,' the only other features Lynch had directed at the time.

Lynch's fans, dutifully justifying what they consider a megabudget anomaly in an otherwise offbeat ouevre, have stuck to a party line: "Dune isn't really a David Lynch film. He was a hired hand for producer Dino DeLaurentiis. Anyone could've directed it." Not true. Dune is loaded with Lynchian oddities, which, in the context of a $40 million sci-fi epic, seem extremely odd. This isn't just one of the weirdest sci-fi movies ever; it may well be the weirdest David Lynch film ever.

During the first half hour of Dune, you really feel sorry for Lynch, who has to shoehorn Frank Herbert's entire mythos into a series of exposition scenes to get us up to speed. This happened, then this happened, and this is important to everything that's going to happen .... It's headsplitting, and Lynch resorts to corny inner monologues that only add to the movie's surrealism. Typically, characters look serious while we hear a pensée like "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer."

Kyle MacLachlan, later the indelible Lynchian hero of Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, made his screen debut here as Paul Atreides, who leads the people of Arrakis (Dune) out of the clutches of the evil Harkonnens, who control the valuable spice mines of Dune. The spice enables one to "fold space" (travel without moving) or receive divine visions -- both of which are right up Lynch's hallucinatory alley. The movie is as trippy and visually dense as Bram Stoker's Dracula.

If, like me, you've previously only seen Dune on a cropped, pan-and-scan video, you've only seen half of it. The widescreen version is a revelation. The compositions, by cinematographer Freddie Francis, embrace the most ravishing desert vistas this side of The English Patient. And you finally get to bask in the elaborate sets, which presumably ate most of the $40 million (pricey in its day). The money obviously went into the sets, not into the semi-cheesy special effects.

Then there's the unmistakable hand of David Lynch. Dune is as lovably absurd (absurdist?) and strikingly perverse as any Lynch film. When the hideous Baron Harkonnen (Kenneth MacMillan in a raucous turn that anticipates Dennis Hopper's Frank Booth) has captured Paul's mother, he informs her, "I want to spit on your head," then goes right ahead. My favorite Lynchian shot among many in Dune is a tight close-up of Dean Stockwell's mouth as he intones, "The tooth! The tooth!" The movie is insane; it's textbook Lynch.

Most surreal of all, though, is the voice-channeling method of combat the heroes employ, called "the weirding way"; it's weird, all right -- it sounds like nuclear sneezing. My Closed Captioning translates it as "Chusah!" Gesundheit.

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originally posted: 02/16/07 10:50:18
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User Comments

7/30/12 Paul R. Kramer james roberts is the creator of the sand worms and a friend of the family 3 stars
7/09/12 Langano It's crap, Lynch has said it himself, To all you Lynch haters, go fuck yourselves. 1 stars
4/21/11 bored mom Book not suited for film. High production value can't save the painfully awkward script. 2 stars
3/21/11 Pamela White I liked it but I'm a sci-fi fan 4 stars
7/21/10 art I never saw it all,only highlight is the BARON being deflated by that little GIRL! 1 stars
5/21/10 Tipsy McStagger Lynch's version ruled, though I would have loved to see his original 4-hour cut. 4 stars
3/25/10 mark reitinger hearing their thoughts was VERY much like the book 4 stars
12/14/09 chief wiggum stunning 5 stars
7/05/09 matt a great adaptation. better than almost everyone says 5 stars
5/23/09 Herbert Was an ok movie, but no movie adaption will ever come close to touching the book. 3 stars
10/09/08 Jeff movie got me interested in the book, and was memorable. great on atmosphere. 3 stars
8/21/08 james as movies go, they both sucked.. you have to be a HARDCORE homo fan to like this crap 1 stars
7/22/08 the dork knight Yep. David Lynch is an asshole, all right 2 stars
7/21/08 Joe Lynch's verion - incoherent, woefully acted. Miniseries = overblown, woefully acted. Avoid! 1 stars
6/19/08 karmasurfer The thoughts to the camera were integral to pack more into 2hrs. time. Brilliant! 5 stars
5/22/08 Quincy Weirding modules weren't in the books. I guess weirding fremen ninjas weren't good enough 5 stars
3/19/08 Jason A Sci Fi fan's dream movie, one of my all time favs 5 stars
1/25/08 Steersman good movie could fucking better but also counld been a lot worst 5 stars
1/11/08 Jeff Explain the weirding modules for me please. Where in Herbet's books were they? 4 stars
2/28/07 CARLENE HAYTON good movie! 5 stars
2/17/07 G Sherfy Great movie; even better book. Only slightly dated. 4 stars
12/31/06 mr.mike not that bad - but i admit i do worship at lynch's alter 3 stars
12/27/06 jikes Lynch's Dune - masterpiece 5 stars
10/27/06 Isaac Baranoff Not your typical Lynch film! 5 stars
7/23/06 David Cohen Took liberties with the book, but a lot better than the Sci-Fi channel's version 4 stars
2/03/06 Ralph Another David Lynch crapfest 1 stars
10/14/05 Bob Damn straight! Please, book lovers, give Lynch's Dune another chance. 5 stars
8/25/05 Klondo the whispering is stupid, but it looks cool and the score is awesome - could've been great 3 stars
8/19/05 ES The only lynch movie of any value, obviously he was on a short leash 4 stars
7/21/05 Damien An "atmosphère" very well designed 5 stars
7/12/05 Tom Benton Brilliant at times, but in the end it's an unextraodinary effort from master Lynch. 3 stars
3/25/05 indrid cold A great candidate for a remake; Lynch is a stylist, but not a storyteller. 4 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig Considering its production date...quite a piece of work, but disjouinted storyline 3 stars
2/08/05 daveyt Everything's over the top, pure sci-fi...! 5 stars
1/06/05 Smitty Great book, horrendous movie - very stupid idea of everyone thinking to the camera. 1 stars
12/27/04 Dave the mini-series was on the money story wise. no guild navs w/ the emperor or weirding guns. 5 stars
9/03/04 Aaron Smith Kyle McLachlan is bad in his portrayal of Paul Atreides. 2 stars
7/11/04 Peanut's Gallery horrid costumes, mediocre acting/directing... but worth a look for any dune fan 3 stars
7/04/04 Daveman Fuck ya's, this film is both visually stunning and very entertaining. 4 stars
6/07/04 John interessting in parts but never amounts to a coherent whole (or an exiting film) 2 stars
5/17/04 Jack Sommersby Visually spectacular but contextually muddled. 2 stars
5/15/04 Steve-O Darkofnight, the movie is nowhere near as bloated as your review. And it's ATREIDES, fucker 5 stars
4/22/04 Zac Much better than David Lynch's Dune..characters more believeable 4 stars
3/15/04 vladimir harkonen neither the movie dune or the tv series dune are not even close to the source books 2 stars
11/11/03 Christopher Pike Both the movie and the book were shit. 1 stars
10/19/03 jpm It surely has faults, but its still more good than bad 4 stars
8/30/03 Rens Henkemans Generally ediocre SFX (even for the time) 3 stars
8/04/03 Laura The Original film is a masterpiece and Sting, for me, the star of the show! 5 stars
5/27/03 Jareth Kyle MacLachlan is so not Paul Atreides, good cinematography and music though. 3 stars
5/12/03 Jack Bourbon Utter crap. Waaaaaaaaay too much pointless bullshit. 1 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Overlong and incomprehensible. But, visually, it's simply mesmerizing. 2 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones zzzz put me to sleep.....mind rot 1 stars
1/19/03 Dave The ending is kind of crap and most of the book is overlooked, but still a very good flick, 4 stars
7/29/02 Shai Hulud The miniseries was good, but the original is still the best. Nothing beats the book though. 5 stars
7/15/02 drkdahlia Decent adaptation, but good movie nonetheless 5 stars
6/25/02 Charles Tatum Well, it certainly looks nice 3 stars
4/06/02 John Roberson Not great, not bad.And far better-looking than the TV version.See the Alan Smithee cut, tho 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Of course, the book is better. I love the music, the scenery, and MacLachlan. 5 stars
1/24/02 Eric Totally silly and unbelievably ugly adaptation. Watch the miniseries remake instead. 1 stars
1/12/02 George Malagaris A great movie if you watch it carefully 5 stars
11/04/01 E-Funk Kinda cluttered, but a well-directed, interesting spin on Herbert's novel. 4 stars
11/01/01 Aryc Ogre Lynch did read the book and Herbert was on the set frequently. 5 stars
10/25/01 Federico Read the book, Bitchslap. Lynch did not, and neither did you! the sci-fi miniseries roxx, l 5 stars
10/10/01 Miri I loved the book, I loved this version, and I wish it was longer! 5 stars
10/03/01 Destruction Worker A bit hard to follow a times, but it rocked my world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/27/01 ric So boring, you'll wish you were watching Battlefield Earth. 1 stars
6/06/01 Muad'Dib Not a true adapation of the best SF book ever, but a worthy effort under the circumstances 4 stars
5/23/01 Bada Bing Crosby The Cure for Insomnia; Linda Hunt plays a mushroom well, though 1 stars
5/13/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Too much to do and not enough time. Needed to be a series to get it all right. 2 stars
4/29/01 Eric One of the true all-time big-budget sci-fi bombs. Worse than Battlefield Earth. 1 stars
4/12/01 Tyrone Lynch is god! This film needs to be watched more than one to get it all! 5 stars
3/11/01 Korben Dallas No Dudes, all Dune, The Fifth Element and Stargate all Rocked! 5 stars
3/07/01 Mike Lynch's worst, but still amazing, and the best sci-fi ever made! 5 stars
12/29/00 EvilDead-Ash Even Fifth Element was better than this. 1 stars
12/21/00 Jplindsey@hotmail.Com StarGate was better than this Bomb. 1 stars
12/19/00 Destruction Worker Those sandworms must eat a LOT OF SAND! 5 stars
12/15/00 viking Visually stunning, but a great story is reduced to melodrama 4 stars
12/12/00 Jplindsey@hotmail.Com So bad and expensive that it makes " Howard The Duck" look like a oscar winner. 1 stars
12/06/00 Heather Kern This is by far my favorite movie of all. It is absolutley sweeping! 5 stars
11/09/00 Jon Axt Lynch needs about four more hours to even start to bring F.H.'s vision to life but so what. 5 stars
11/04/00 PJ meloun I loved was so HUGE 4 stars
10/15/00 Nate It had great special effects, cast, music, but it was too rushed to be great. 4 stars
4/20/00 Will It's pretty candy but kinda poopy. 3 stars
1/25/00 Myles Incredible set design. Lynch truly created another world. 5 stars
1/19/00 STracey Another movie should be made. The House of Atredies 5 stars
12/05/99 Eric S. There's great potential, but the film is too joyless and the main character isn't likeable. 3 stars
12/01/99 matthew an incredible film 5 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 So close and yet so far. Do not expect it to live up to the book. Flawless casting though 4 stars
8/18/99 Rodney Duke So Bad It Is Punishment To Watch It 1 stars
4/25/99 JDC if you've never read Dune you'll hate it. Beats the hell out of Starship Troopers on screen 4 stars
1/07/99 Juan Carlos Rey If David F***ing Lynch had left in the extra hour of footage, it would have been bitchin. 5 stars
1/03/99 Dasha How can anyone like this piece of crap?! 1 stars
12/07/98 Shadow Raider I enjoyed that movie, 'cause they starred Patrick Stewart and Sting. They both kick ass! 5 stars
11/24/98 DrEvil DeLaurentiis trashed a great novel. That's the Hollywood way! 1 stars
10/27/98 Danman Mangled worse then Oprah's dinner. 1 stars
10/24/98 Vincent I love this film- never read the book so can't compare it but love the film 5 stars
9/16/98 Trav This film is a disgrace. Bad editing. Bad acting. What a waste! 1 stars
9/15/98 Ben Read the book first and you'll enjoy it even more!Fantastic movie!! 5 stars
9/10/98 cheryl_ann great flick, 'nuff said. 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball It had worms. 4 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee I never liked it. I know I'm minority, but I never did. 2 stars
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  14-Dec-1984 (PG-13)
  DVD: 31-Jan-2006



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