"Dune" (1984) Talkback (Spoilers and David Lynch Weirdness)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
Jan 19, 2004
Framingham, MA
Dune (1984)

I didn't exactly like that. But I DID like it more than the 2021 adaptation.

For one thing it's far more bizarre. It's David Lynch, so that should go without saying. For another I found the story far easier to follow. That makes sense too because there is a beginning, middle, and end, and unlike the 2021 version, we don't cut things off for a cliffhanger right when things are getting interesting.

To be fair to Dune 2021, this movie being easier to follow is a bit of a double-edged sword. The players are easier to keep straight because there is a lot of narration, and the characters themselves seem to speak in the expositiony way only characters in big movies speak. Essentially, Lynch film or not, they talk as dumb as characters in an 80's film. Which is what they are. I mean, I did not respond that hot to Dune 2021. But despite it being inaccessible to me, the characters there acted more like real people than the sci-fi archetypes they do here.

The pain box is far scarier in the Lynch version, and despite the effects being, what, 35 years out of date, I think the personal shields look cooler too.

I have a strong sense the last third of the film was greatly condensed. It will be interesting to see the next film of the remake because they should have plenty of time to get to a lot of the stuff Lynch skimmed over for the sake of timing and pacing.

I thought the Baron was super gross in the 2021 film. But that guy has nothing on how grotesque Lynch's idea of the Baron is. I suspected I probably shouldn't eat anything while watching the movie and that was the right call. The Baron makes me ill in everything he does.

1984's score has it all over 2021 too. The Prophecy March is absolutely boss.

Harlan Ellison liked this movie. So did Frank Herbert. History has been kinder to it than critics at the time were. But I frankly understand where a lot of the criticism comes from. The ending IS rushed, and a lot of the themes and ideas, despite being more explicit than the 2021 version, are definitely way over the heads of most people in the 1980's. It's funny how dated the film feels while still being clearly ahead of its time. ***.


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