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  Dune Spiceworld
Year: 1984
Director: David Lynch
Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Jurgen Prochnow, Sian Phillips, Kenneth McMillan, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, Max Von Sydow, Sean Young, Everett McGill, José Ferrer, Alicia Witt, Paul L. Smith, Brad Dourif, Richard Jordan, Freddie Jones
Genre: Science Fiction, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 8 votes)
Review: The desert planet Arrakis is at the centre of a conflict between the House of Atreides and the House of Harkonnen due to who controls the mining of Spice there. Spice is what enables the citizens of the Universe to travel through space, and Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) becomes an important part of Arrakis' history as he is set up to be its saviour...

When the infamously impenetrable Dune was released it was a notorious disaster; the fans of Frank Herbert's original novel were unsatisfied at the condensed version of the story the film offered, and those who hadn't read the book were baffled. It was seen as a clear case of an expensive project that got way out of control.

I have read the book, but I have to admit I'm not a fan. Dune, the movie, makes every attempt to cover all the important details, but in doing so it feels cluttered and uncertain in tone. Characters are introduced only to disappear for ages; we can hear people's thoughts in voiceover narration, but this makes things even more confusing and unclear about who the most important characters are, especially as everyone speaks in the same portentous manner.

The one-of-a-kind cast at least appear as if they know what is happening even if you don't. In fact, movie buffs who think it's patently obvious what's going on in Lost Highway may have trouble with this. There are clues of what makes the project appeal to David Lynch: the innocent who becomes aware of the bigger (and darker) picture, the prophecies and visions, the despicable villains, the drugginess, and details like the voice weapons or the poisons lurking at every turn.

Dune's most powerful aspect is its design, which has the look of a Victorian space opera. Some of the special effects may look unconvincing nowadays, but the costumes and art direction are an undeniable feast for the eyes. Ironically, the film takes on the dreamlike quality that we associate with Lynch's work, although it was presumably concieved as an answer to the plainer, more comprehensible (but nonetheless mystical) Star Wars films.

So what do we learn from this Messianic fantasy? The fundamental interconnectedness of all things? Don't let David Lynch direct your science fiction blockbusters for you? You be the judge. Music by Toto and Brian Eno. Cinematography by Freddie Francis. Also with: Virginia Madsen, Linda Hunt, Silvana Mangano, Leonardo Cimino, Jack Nance, and Lynch himself as a radio operator.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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David Lynch  (1946 - )

One-of-a-kind American writer-director and artist. His low budget debut Eraserhead set the trends for his work: surreal, unnerving but with a unique sense of humour. After Mel Brooks offered him The Elephant Man, Dino De Laurentiis gave Lynch Dune to direct, but it was an unhappy experience for him.

Luckily, despite the failure of Dune, De Laurentiis was prepared to produce Lynch's script for Blue Velvet, which has since become regarded as a classic. He moved into television with Twin Peaks and On the Air, but it was with film that he was most comfortable: Cannes winner Wild at Heart, prequel/sequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, plot-twisting Lost Highway, the out of character but sweet-natured The Straight Story, the mysterious Mulholland Drive and the rambling, willfully obscure Inland Empire. His return to directing after a long gap with the revival of Twin Peaks on television was regarded as a triumph.

 
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