The “Disasterpiece Theater” series at The Decider begins with a good choice.
In a lot of ways, Dune has a lot of the same problems as Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Hear me out… Both were made for a rabid science fiction audience. Both films boast beautiful production design and talented casts. However, the biggest problem with both films is that they spend more time providing exposition about tedious political plots and religious superstitions than they do establishing characters and relationships. Dune spends almost a half hour telling you about houses and treaties and spice and navigators before getting to the tense gom jabbar scene (which Herbert begins on, like, page 5). Lynch just drops you into Paul’s world and you go with it because he doesn’t quite know what’s going on, either. You’ve got a relatable protagonist to latch onto, use him!
Lynch’s Dune is visually stunning but a narrative mess. And I’m a big fan of the series. I even like God Emperor of Dune (But not any book after that. The last two novels that Herbert wrote feel tired and meandering, and all the works written by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson just feel wrong). But even I find almost every line and acting choice weird and off (plus Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck? What?).
Yes, it should be watched. Actually, it should be watched several times:
- What? Who’s that? What’s going on? Why is this so BORING? Ugh, Never again!
- Actually, there’s some neat things to see here. It’s got a cool look. I might watch this again; it might grow on me.
- No, this is a bad movie. I’m done. Wierding modules? What were they thinking?
One thought on “David Lynch’s Dune is So Bad it’s Hypnotic”
Virginia is indeed lovely. Pity she’s stuck on this movie like a Post-It to the director’s script – after the opening monologue she’s hardly seen at all.
Kenneth McMillan steals the movie as Baron Harkonnen. Ranting and oozing and groping all over the place. Other than that – yep, fabulous visuals but a slow story.
Funny, though – I read the first book several years after seeing the movie and it did nothing for me at all. And that’s all I’ve ever read of it.