Dune - The Book and the 1984 film *spoilers for both*

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aldo, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    I just recently finished 'Dune' for the first time. I was at a bookstore a while back and was looking for a book to read when I came upon it, and decided on a whim to pick it up, I am really glad I did.

    To say I enjoyed 'Dune' is an understatement, I loved it. For years I've heard about Herbert's masterpiece, I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. At 800 pages it is a daunting piece of work, but the pace was always quick. There was always something interesting happening, whether it was Paul and his family trying to acclimate themselves to Arrakis, or the Baron being...well the Baron, it was always fun to sit down for a while and read. Herbert created a really rich and fun universe, and I can't wait to return to it in 'Dune: Messiah."

    As for the movie, I purchased it cheaply on bluray while I was about halfway through reading the book. Because of school and other commitments, I wasn't actually able to finish the book until a few months later. But I knew as soon as I did I would view the movie:

    I had actually watched the trailer a while back, while I was still in the middle of the book. So a lot of the imagery from Lynch's film became the images in my mind as I was reading the book. Which isn't bad, because I feel the look of the movie is probably one of it's best qualities. I feel Lynch really captured the feel of the book, not just in set design and such, but also in the overall tone. I also think the opening with Princess Irulan's monologue setting up the story is pretty cool: you actually feel like you're in store for an epic story.

    Up until about where the Duke Leto is captured and Paul and Lady Jessica are forced to flee, I was really digging the movie. Sure it skipped over a few details, but it still felt relatively true to the book, but than the movie just goes off the rails. I understand Lynch's intended cut of the film would have been at least three hours long but that Universal wanted a shorter film for theaters. Well it definitely shows. I don't think there's much to say about the last hour of the film, but it really skips over important things and I even wonder if someone who hasn't read the book would even begin to be able to follow what is going on (Scratch that. My manager at work loves the hell out of this movie and has never touched the book.)

    Still, I don't hate the movie, and I can definitely see myself sitting down to watch it more times in the future.

    I know someone will bring up the mini-series which is more faithful to the book. I do actually intend on seeing that soon.
     
  2. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Mini-series is good in how faithful it is to the story (a few minor changes so that things flow more smoothly to the second and third books, though) but just be warned that the production values are VASTLY reduced compared to Lynch's film and the actors won't always match your mental images of them.
     
  3. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dune is one of my absolute most favourite novels, and certainly the book I've read the most. I recommend reading the sequels, although Dune Messiah is pretty underwhelming. God Emperor of Dune is hated but I thought it was terrific.

    The David Lynch movie is solid dumb fun, even though it doesn't really do the story justice or explore the concept of a messiah being deconstructed. Which is y'know, probably the biggest theme of the entire novel.

    The Sci-Fi Channel adaptation is more true to the book, and has a MUCH better Baron Harkonnen. The one in the Lynch movie is just some screeching 2-dimensional cartoon villain, whereas the one in the mini-series is the genius political mind from the novel. Overall though I prefer the Lynch film as it's less flat and I love the dark, brooding atmosphere.

    The Children of Dune miniseries, based on the second and third books, is worth checking out for the amazing soundtrack alone.
     
  4. clint g

    clint g Admiral Admiral

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    ^^

    Yep, Children of Dune had an amazing sound track.

    I for one prefer the Dune and Children of Dune minis over the Lynch film. Yeah, the production values were superior but they butchered the story something fierce. None of them beat the book though :cool:
     
  5. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    For my money, the two mini-series are a much better depiciton of Dune all-around. Sure, the production values are somewhat less than what Lynch had to work with, but I think this isn't necessarily a bad thing. In a way, i think it forced the mini-series creator's to focus more on the characters and story than on making some sort of epic sci-fi blockbuster.

    Of course, in a perfect world, Dune would have been made back in the '70s with Orson Wells as Baron Harkonnen...
     
  6. kirk55555

    kirk55555 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I loved the book (well, all of the first three Dune books, and I enjoyed a lot of the rest of them) and the mini series. I read the book first, but when I reread them now I see the actors from the two mini series as the characters. I couldn't watch much of the movie before I turned it off. Even with Patrick Stewart, i couldn't get through it. Its easily the least faithful adaptation of a book I've ever tried to watch. I was warned about that going in, but I still tired to watch it and hated it.

    The mini series does a good job, and I wouldn't call them low budget. Heck, just from what I saw of the movie, I saw some better effects in the mini than the movie, and much better acting.
     
  7. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    I have the second and third books, and just as soon as I finish 'World War Z' I intend to read them.

    I enjoyed the movie for what it was. I didn't even mention the "Lynchian" additions in the movie, but I didn't quite mind them too much. Except for the way they turned the "Weirding Way" into a laser gun. That seemed like a desperate attempt to bring in the Star Wars crowd.
     
  8. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Weirding Way was a sonic weapon in the movie, mainly because they figured if they did keep it as what it was in the books it would made the film into a martial arts movie.

    The Miniseries made it some kind of super-fast fighting thing, IIRC.
     
  9. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    The Children of Dune miniseries is the best of both worlds. It's got the plot-faithfulness (and some of the actors) from the first mini, but much better production values.

    And, as has been mentioned, the soundtrack is so good that it's been using in dozens of unrelated ads and movie trailers. One of the Star Trek 09 trailers even used it.

    Among the actors who changed between the Dune mini and the CoD mini, I liked both Jessicas for different reasons, Duncan was much better in CoD (although he didn't have much of a role in the first one), and I'm not sure they got Stilgar right *either* time but I liked the Dune guy a bit better.

    No offense to Patrick Stewart, of course, but P. H. Moriarty is easily the better Gurney Halleck.
     
  10. gblews

    gblews Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I absolutely loved the Dune trilogy. Have re-read the whole thing a few times. The Lynch movie was a mixed bag for me. Some of the the casting choices I thought, hurt the film. I thought Kyle McLaughlin as Muad Dib (the most important character in the story) had zero charisma. I recall thinking the first time I saw the movie that Sting should have been cast as Paul instead of Feyd. I hated the weapon thing they created for the movie. In the theater I was at, several in the audience laughed when the battle between Muad Dib and Feyd Routha started.

    My now ex-wife, who did some costuming in the movie industry,absolutely adores this movie...because of the costumes and set designs.

    Anyone see the "long" version, the one that Lynch took his name off? The movie starts with this super long voice over narrative explaining Dune in great detail. While the narrative is going on, drawings of what is being told are shown. It is bizarre.

    Another great "Alan Smithee" film.
     
  11. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Dude, are you smoking your hair or something?
     
  12. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Much as I love Patrick Stewart, I just don't think he's right for the role.

    This may be influenced by my seeing the mini first, of course.

    Now, Brad Dourif as Piter was much better than the mini's version.
     
  13. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    David Lynch is hands down my favorite artist and I can tell you that I have no reservations saying that Dune is a fucking godawful film. Just a total failure. There are some interesting concepts at play but, damn, just a colossal swing and a miss.

    I've not read the book.
     
  14. Aldo

    Aldo Admiral Admiral

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    That's why I think anyone who hasn't read the book would probably really dislike the movie (as you demonstrated). Especially since the second half of the book is chopped up so much that it's more like a greatest hits version of the book than telling a complete narrative.

    For example Paul and his Mother are out in the desert for a long time before they run into Stilgar and his Fremen tribe. In the movie it feels like they're only out there for a few hours at most.

    Also the book goes into much, much greater detail on Paul and how he becomes the leader of the Fremen people. It's really unfortunate that the movie glosses over that, because it's a great part of the book.
     
  15. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    In Lynch's defense, there's so much plot that making it into a workable two hour movie would be impossible.
     
  16. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I saw tapes of the Dune miniseries and was largely nonplussed. Some parts were good, a blond Jessica was a nice touch, but a lot of it I found unremarkable. Say what you will about Sting but at least he left an impression. The only thing I remember about the miniseries' Feyd was that he had a triangle behind his head. And I recall not liking the fight scenes in the miniseries very much.

    My preferred adaptation of the first Dune book would be the Lynch version. ( I'll never forget how they actually gave you a cheat sheet when you went into the theater, something that would have been a collector's item if it hadn't almost immediately been ink-smeared by greasy popcorn fingerprints. ) My optimal version would be something that doesn't exist. It would include the deleted scenes that were in the extended "Alan Smithee" edition, with their special effects completed, and with all the crap of that edition ( the voiceover, the scenes reused out of their proper sequence, etc. ) taken out.

    I also embraced the Dune Messiah / COD adaptation because, well, it's the only version of those books that's been filmed so far, and I liked it ( though it mangles the plot in areas such as Halleck's involvement with Jacurutu ). So I just kind of tolerate the disconnect of Paul Atreides changing from Kyle MacLachlan to Alec Newman. :techman:
     
  17. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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  18. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the book, Gurney is described as "an ugly lump of a man".

    Stewart doesn't really match the description or the character. P. H. Moriaty looks like some-one who'd listen at doors and play dirty ditties on the balliset in Castle Caladan.
     
  19. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But he sounds like he's wandered straight out of Mary Poppins (yes yes I know he's actually from London) - He left such an impression on some friends and I that when I run into them one of us generally greets the other with

    "Let me me Laud!!"

    In short, he was fackin awful.
     
  20. arch101

    arch101 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I had been a fan of the book before the Lynch film, so, I figured this is the best I'm going to get from a filmed version of Dune. I always felt the TV mini format was the only way to tell such an expansive story and I was fortunately rewarded many years later with the two minis. The Lynch film has some good things about it but, for the Dune fan, the minis are the best version (so far). Now that big-budget production has come to cable TV, it wouldn't surprise me if Dune is remade again in the next decade or two. I only hope they do all 4 original books next time.