REview: Dune (1984) | “Dune” Is Fascinating Yet Particularly Difficult To Watch

I recently rewatched David Lynch’s Dune because Denis Villeneuve’s reboot is coming soon and I wanted to refresh my mind about what came before as well as to see if I still thought that a reboot was a good idea.

As far as the latter goes, I definitely think it isn’t though more on that later.

Dune is an odd movie in that I’m not entirely sure who it was made for because it’s apparently managed to not only alienate fans of the Frank Herbert’s novel, but a lot of people who haven’t read it.

Though the feeling I took away from it mainly was how aggressive it was in the only way that matters, it’s visual presentation.

The set design, costumes, props, everything the eye could see seemed to compete for your attention, which was odd because it made the movie so noisy that even when no one was making a sound it was like you as a viewer were being shouted at.

It was so tiring to watch that I had to break it up into two nights to get through.

Which, oddly enough isn’t to say that it was a bad movie more than it was a challenging one though it was a challenge without a purpose when it’s first job should have been to entertain.

Though if that weren’t bad enough, it also managed to be grotesque at times.


That being said, I’ve seen plenty of grotesque movies – The Fly (1986), for instance – but in that instance the weirdness, the repulsiveness, served a purpose, while that which is in Dune seems to exist for no other reason than to be weird for weirdness’s sake.

Visually speaking it reminded me quite a bit of Flash Gordon (1980) though that movie at times had it’s garishness levels turned up to 11, but in the context of that movie it worked.

In the case of Dune? Not so much and a little bit of subtlety, of nuance would have gone a long way.

Which brings me back to Villeneuve’s version. Judging by the trailer, it feels to me that he’s not remaking Frank Herbert’s seminal science fiction novel, but instead reinterpreting Lynch’s interpretation of Herbert’s novel.

And it might sound like those are the same things, though they’re not.

And to be honest, I’m not entirely sure there’s not only no pressing reason for the movie to exist, but I’m also reasonably sure no one is asking for it besides the people who’re producing it.

And sure, sometimes it’s a case of not knowing what you want till someone gives it to you, but I wouldn’t put my money on that being the case this time around.

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