In 1984 a movie came out. No, I am not talking about "it can get there in 7 parsecs" Star Wars VI which, actually, if my dementia doesn't fail me, came out in 1983. No, I am talking about Dune. Specifically, David Lynch's Dune, made as an adaptation of Frank Herbert's immortal novel. Basically, Herbert's Dune is a War And Peace of Sci-Fi and, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest geopolitical novels of all time. But that is not the point--the point is the movie, which since then was condemned, degraded, humiliated to the point that David Lynch disowned it, having some Alan Smithee shown as a director and none other than Judas Booth (rings a bell?) as a scenarist, exhibited in a credits to a famous 3hr 15 minutes uncut version. 31 years has passed since a "box-office bomb" and all "thumbs down" version which became....a cult classic. What was forgotten, that Herbert was extremely dry in describing the universe of Dune. He wrote a superb geo(space)political palace intrigue and drama, while remaining surprisingly uninspiring in giving us a glimpse into what this world looks like. It took David Lynch's genius to give us a picture which, since 1984 disturbs, excites and fascinates true lovers of a genre. Herbert himself conceded that, far from being "consultant" on the set, he was simply amazed at what he observed.
All those art "specialists" define the style of Lynch's Dune as noire-baroque. It is more than that--it is bizarre, it is dark, it is horrifying, it is paleo futuristic and it is inhuman and that is precisely why Dune's characters come across so alive (how about outstanding actors' work?) and so human. No adaptation (well, Sci-Fi Channel's one) came even close in conveying the awe, horror and wonderment of an incredible world of the Spacing Guild, Space Travel, Bene Gesserit and a boy, grown to become a leader. The picture which was painted did become Dune and I am eternally grateful that this cinematic masterpiece came out when there were no imbecile teenagers publishing their "opinions" on the net from their iPhones and when the standard of human (especially female) beauty, friendship and sacrifice was high. Ah, yes! In the year 10191 there is NO democracy and the Universe is ruled by the Padishahs-Emperors. It is feudal.....and no computers.
Music by ToTo and Brian Eno--it is the awe and shock!!
The spice must flow...........
It's a good film. I do want to see a remake. The CGI we have now would truly bring the book to life and introduce it to a whole new generation of movie-goers.ReplyDelete
I watched this old movie with Sting few times. Read the book. I see why it bombed. Probably US movie going public lost ability to watch movies where there not only actions all the time but also dialogs.ReplyDelete
I liked it a lot. I also liked Star wars I and the movie was ok too, but was criticized exactly for same reason. Too much talks too little sabre swinging :)
By the way, the way US behaves on international arena, I mean US government is exactly along the lines of changes with how America is shooting movies. More action less thinking.
The last really good Sci-Fi movie which came out is Oblivion. Loved it. The rest of the genre is mostly PC garbage akin to Elysium or failed attempt on Prometheus. I agree, today most (not all) of Hollywood production is a second (or third) rate political propaganda and violence for the sake of violence. When they do not promote LGBT (whatever) agenda, they create a stream of mediocre remakes. Last truly remarkable and, already, cult masterpieces which came out in Sci-Fi was Verhoeven's tongue-in-chick Star-ship Troopers and Besson's delicious Fifth Element (which is not real Sci but surely Fi). BTW, Besson used for Fifth Element number of people (artists etc.) who worked with Lynch on Dune. .ReplyDelete
Sadly, the amazing cast of Lynch's Dune will not be available. Plus, I don't know how modern CGI artists can remain true to Lynch's bizarre and dark vision. I saw TV series in 2000--hated it.They did convey opulence of the universe but made it either completely "contemporary" or altogether--a throw back to ancient Byzantium aesthetics. But that is not it, sadly.ReplyDelete
I think they could pull it off now, look at the Riddick movies, those have a pretty dark/ancient asthetic with the necromongers, which reminded me of the Dune universeReplyDelete
One problem with Lynch's version was Paul and Feyd were adults and they were both barely teens in the first novel.
But that is the whole point--Herbert himself, when asked about his consultant role on the set, admitted that he was simply observing in awe what was happening, since he "loved"(c) what Lynch did to his book. Obviously, book purists will point out a number of legitimate issues but introduction of the weirding modules, as an example, added to the bizarreness of the movie. And, Kyle did an amazing job as Paul in that movie. Basically the whole cast delivered. So, the adjustment to Paul and Feyd not being boys in the movie was easy. I agree, though, modern CGI can deliver but who would do it right? I abhorred both Paul and Chani (after Sean Young's wonderful performance and beauty) in the TV series. The series did use CGI but created merely a colorful picture--nothing more.ReplyDelete
I didn't like the Sci-Fi Channel Mini Series either, I think because it was nothing like Lynch's version and the casting choices. But that's typical for the Sci-Fi channel though, they rarely made anything good even in their heyday. Battlestar Galactica is about the only notworthy series.ReplyDelete
I think with the right director/producer, a new series could follow in Lynch's footsteps. I do think it should be a series though, rather than a single movie, to do the source material justice. Look at how many books their are now, beyond the original 6 that Frank wrote.
I agree that Dune (specifically this book) should be developed into mini-series. I, however, am less inspired by Herbert's sequels to Dune but then, of course, there are his son's "opuses" that are horrible. Especially when one considers that Herbert's son works in cooperation with the dude who wrote....Star Wars sequels. No surprise then that his writing doesn't measure up to his father's abilities.ReplyDelete
Kevin J Anderson is terrible for an adult audience anyway, maybe he's fine for the young adult (teenager) crowd.ReplyDelete
I wouldn't want him or Herbet's son to have anything do with a TV series or Movies.
I like the idea of the prequel books and having the background history on each house, prior to Dune, but perhaps that's soemthing that could be incorporated into a series as flashbacks or the first few episodes.
Of course, this is probably something that will never happen, it's not like the Herbert Estate is easy to work with as far as licensing, I've heard they're almost as bad as the Tolkien estate.
I know in other media, particular table top games a number of companies have tried to get the rights to do a new version of the Avalon Hill Dune game and haven't been able to get any deals through.
Dune was an excellent movie. I hated 2 things: Uncle's pimples and and those force field shields.ReplyDelete
I am aware of copyright issue. Herbert's son definitely knows how to exploit father's estate. Fact is, he even discredited Willis McNelly's amazing Dune Encyclopedia which was endorsed and praised by none other than Frank Herbert himself. I have PDF version of this amazing book. Sadly, because of son being a tool we will never see the reprint of this amazing book.ReplyDelete
Maybe we'll luck out and his son will get hit by a bus :)ReplyDelete