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Dune (1984) – DVD Review

Dune 1984 Cover Art


Written by: David Lynch, based on the novel by Frank Herbert
Directed by: David Lynch
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Sean Young, Sting, Linda Hunt


  • Cast bios
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Production notes

Released by: Universal Studios
Region: 1
Rating: PG-13
Anamorphic: No

My Advice: Avoid It.

[ad#longpost]Paul Atreides (MacLachlan) has problems. His family has been betrayed by the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan) and the Emperor Shaddam IV (José Ferrer). Their forces have taken the desert planet Arrakis, otherwhise known as Dune. Dune is the only source of the spice mélange that not only extends lifespan and awareness, but also makes travel across the universe possible. Paul and his mother Jessica (Annis) have been dumped in the desert and they must escape the massive sandworms to survive. But Paul is a Man of Destiny. He hooks up with the Fremen, the tough warrior natives of Dune. Now he and his love Chani (Young) will take back their world and the universe.

Dune, the book, is a massive epic of galactic politics, mysticism, ecology and its effect on a people. It would be almost impossible to make this book into a two-hour movie. David Lynch tried and failed. The characters of the Baron and his two nephews are so outrageously evil they come off as cartoonish. In the book, Paul constantly worries about the massive jihad his actions will create, but the Paul in the movie is so self-assured the character becomes uninteresting. And David Lynch’s additions of the sound weapons and the ugly, ugly Navigators are just too much. The movie uses a lot of corruption imagery but it distracts instead of adding to the movie. The movie diverges too much from the book to satisfy fans and the plot is too slow and dense to keep non-fans interested.

The DVD doesn’t help. We have the obligatory theatrical trailer, and cast bios and production notes that are way too brief. I could get better information from the Internet Movie Database. The picture quality isn’t very crisp, especially when the scene is dark–and, believe me, there are a lot of dark scenes. If you like Dune, this DVD will satisfy you and other fans like you but I can’t see anyone else picking it up. Don’t bother.

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