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LimeGreenLegend

Dune [XDBX Film Club 08]

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LimeGreenLegend

This month's Film Club genre is sci-fi war films, nominated by @Squirrel, and that comes in the form of warring families of nobles battling for control of a desolate desert planet, and its valuable resources, in David Lynch's Dune, picked by @djw180.

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A critical and commercial failure on release, with Roger Ebert naming it the worst film of 1984, Dune has gone on to garner a cult following since then, with more recent reviews being generally more positive.  Featuring an ensemble cast, including Sting, Patrick Stewart and Max von Sydow, and directed by master of the surreal, David Lynch (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Mullholland Drive) you know that the film will at least be interesting, and possibly (probably) confusing, but in a satisfying way, as is his style.

I've not seen Dune yet, nor read the novels it's based on, so I'm looking forward to watching this, especially after reading some of the more colourful reviews, but I'm a big fan of Lynch, Lost Highway being my favourite film of his, and who doesn't love Sir Patrick Stewart?  So I'm all in.

sting dune GIF

Edited by LimeGreenLegend
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zztop911

I remember the review Ebert gave this movie. My instant thought was, "Ebert. you silly old tard!"

 

Just looking around for some sort of copy, I've come to realize that fandom around this movie is pretty crazy with all the action figures and toys from this movie.

 

Found it a Barns & Noble for $4.99 with free shipping

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dvd-dune-francesca-annis/3622365?ean=0025192018428&st=PLA&sid=BNB_[ADL] [Core] [Generic] Media (Medium)&sourceId=PLABiNA&dpid=tdtve346c&2sid=Bing_c&msclkid=afe54017f5c4107325a81d7af20610e2&adlclid=ADL-4ec3935a-0705-41da-a92c-a46fa73bb693

Edited by zztop911
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Welcome to the nuthouse or the slaughter house................it.just depends!

You never know what's going to happen, but rest assured, it's gonna be fun!

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SINISTER120

Damn, you guys always go way out there on the movie choices. Nothing that I would ever want to watch on purpose, lol. Still that is the point of things like this. Excellent work everyone.

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zztop911
50 minutes ago, SINISTER120 said:

Damn, you guys always go way out there on the movie choices. Nothing that I would ever want to watch on purpose, lol. Still that is the point of things like this. Excellent work everyone.

You've never seen Dune?


Welcome to the nuthouse or the slaughter house................it.just depends!

You never know what's going to happen, but rest assured, it's gonna be fun!

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LimeGreenLegend
1 hour ago, SINISTER120 said:

Damn, you guys always go way out there on the movie choices. Nothing that I would ever want to watch on purpose, lol. Still that is the point of things like this. Excellent work everyone.

That’s exactly why you should watch it!


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Con
1 hour ago, SINISTER120 said:

Damn, you guys always go way out there on the movie choices. Nothing that I would ever want to watch on purpose, 

 We watched Chicago, fam.  :D 

I don't mind the obscure nominations, as long as the submitter also watches and reviews it since they are making us watch it. 

Edited by Con
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SINISTER120
2 hours ago, zztop911 said:

You've never seen Dune?

Nope. Sci Fi movies have never been my thing. No Star Wars, Star Trek or anything else.

 

1 hour ago, LimeGreenLegend said:

That’s exactly why you should watch it!

I would not make it 5 minutes, lol. 

 

1 hour ago, Con said:

 We watched Chicago, fam.  :D 

I don't mind the obscure nominations, as long as the submitter also watches and reviews it since they are making us watch it. 

That took guts for sure.

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Fido_le_muet

Watched it a couple years ago and there's no way I'm rewatching it again. 

I didn't like it at all. 

First, I didn't understand the story. I found it to be buried under a ton of other stuff that were too much for me like the costumes, the unpronounceable names, the too many people, the mythos, the prophecy and such. Overall it is weird. Too weird for my taste. 

I didn't like the acting. Kyle Maclachlan's hero was unexpressive, he had the same face for the whole film. Sting's character was awful. Hated him. 

I didn't adhere to the universe and the atmosphere at all. 

 

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Squirrel
11 hours ago, Fido_le_muet said:

Watched it a couple years ago and there's no way I'm rewatching it again. 

I didn't like it at all. 

First, I didn't understand the story. I found it to be buried under a ton of other stuff that were too much for me like the costumes, the unpronounceable names, the too many people, the mythos, the prophecy and such. Overall it is weird. Too weird for my taste. 

I didn't like the acting. Kyle Maclachlan's hero was unexpressive, he had the same face for the whole film. Sting's character was awful. Hated him. 

I didn't adhere to the universe and the atmosphere at all. 

 

So Twin Peaks in space?


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djw180

It is definitely weird but for the most part it's fairly faithful to the Frank Herbert novel, rather than coming from the weirdness of David Lynch's own mind. I am interested to see what other people make of the basic story. I didn't see the film till a few years after it was released and had read the book at least once already. So I knew the story and it all made sense to me because of that. The first time I watched it was on TV and I do remember talking to a freind the next day who had seen it and was very confused.

I'm not going  to review it now, as obviously I am going to watch it again. But I will say a couple of things. Some of the things in the film that are not completely as described in the book, or at least were not the way I imagined them when reading it. e.g. some of the costumes, weapons and overal weirdness of some characters. So I can understand what @Fido_le_muet means by that. The main flaw for me of the film is it is too short to do justice to the novel. Frank Herbert's novel is quite long, split into 3 parts. David Lynch's script does the first and last parts very well, but the middle part is rushed and is where he introduces something not in the book at all, in order to move the story along faster.

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Squirrel

I’ve been reading up on it and it was originally meant to be a 12 hour epic in order to do justice to the story. 

Obviously this didn’t happen but the creative team assembled for that version went on to make Alien

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djw180

For those in the UK, maybe other countries as well, Dune is on TCM (Turner Classic Movies?) this Wednesday at 11:25 pm. It's probably on at other times as well during the next couple of weeks, these sort of channels usually shows things multiple times.

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Spinnaker1981

Perfect. We have TCM here as well. I hope the program is the same... 

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djw180

The novel Dune is one of my favourite books and one I have read many times. I wouldn't say this film is one of my favourites but I have enjoyed watching it a number of times through the years because it's a pretty good attempt at adapting a very complex and long story. It does however have some flaws. As I said before I am very interested to see what other people think, especially about the basic story. It is very difficult for me to judge how well the basic story is told since I know that story so well from the book.

 

Frank Herbert's novel is split into three parts. Very roughly speaking, without referring back to the book, I think the first part ends after the Harkonen's have taken back control of Arakis and Paul and Jessica have been sent to die in the desert. The second part is Paul and Jessica joining the Fremem, how they come to be accepted by them and appear to fulfil Fremen prophecies with Paul eventually becoming Muad'Dib and their leader. The final part is then Paul leading the Fremen to take control of Arakis and in defeating the emperor becoming ruler of the galaxy. David Lynch's adaptation for me does the first part very well and the last part quite well. But the middle section is incredibly rushed. I can understand them wanting to keep the run time of the film down, but sometimes I think you have to accept that to do justice to a story a film has to be longer. The middle section really is very weak, it's as though one moment Paul and Jessica are rescued by the Fremen and with barely any sense of the passage of time Paul has become the Fremen's new leader and hooked up with woman he's been dreaming about. How that all comes to be is not explained at all.

 

The costumes and settings are generally not the same as I imagined them when I read the book, but of course that is to be expected. I think overall the costumes, sets, art direction etc are well done, other than some very plastic looking rocks. It does have a somewhat old-fashioned feel, but the story is set so far into our future, many thousands of years, who can say what that will be like? In any case social and political structures have regressed; it's a feudal system, planets run by hereditary rulers with an emperor in overall control, so I think the costumes and technology fits better with that than a more standard futuristic sci-fi look would. I think the acting is quite good, I even like Sting as Feyd Rautha, he does seem to fit that part very well. It's a pity some of the better actors do not have bigger parts e.g. Linda Hunt and Max von Sydow, but there is not much the film makers can do about their characters getting killed off when they do. There is a bit too much monologue in the script for me, i.e. when we hear what someone is thinking, but again I think that is something they had to do to keep the running time down, and it's not as bad as the badly rushed middle section.

 

Some things do stand out as different to the book that, mostly, don't work for me.

  • First off one that I do like. The film opens in a different way to the book with Princess Irulan narrating an introduction. That works well as a way to introduce the story and it is in keeping with what Irulan becomes in the later books (Dune was the first of 6).
  • The film never really explains the use of body shields in combat and guns are far more prevalent than they should be. In the book it is explained the shields protect you from fast moving projectiles (bullets) and cause a catastrophic feedback if hit by a laser that kills who ever fired the gun, therefore almost all combat is hand to hand. I'm sure it would not have been that difficult to put that in the film and have all fighting done with swords and knives.
  • The Sardaukar uniforms look odd, no explanation of why they appear to be in some sort of chemical-hazard protection suits, and in the book they don't wear those, just same sort of uniforms as other soldiers.
  • I don't like that fact that the stillsuits do not cover the heads and faces of the wearer. That makes no sense from a technological point of view in the film-world; i.e. why have a specially made suit that is meant to keep moisture loss to a bare minimum so you can survive in a desert and then have part of your body not covered by it? Of course the reason is the same as most films featuring medieval battles don't have characters with full face covering helmets, it's so we can see and hear the actors clearly.
  • But the main difference from the book and a big weaknesses for me is those “weirding modules”. Nothing like that is in the book at all and I don't really understand why they are in the film. In the book the explanation as to how the Atreides have come to command such a powerful army, one that the emperor fears is better than his own, is simply that Duke Leto has put together the services of a group of very talented people. Gurney Halleck, Thufir Hawat, Jessica and Duncan Idaho (minor character really in Dune, but goes on to be much bigger in the other books, despite quite clearly getting killed in Dune). These all have their own specific strengths which when combined produce a way of training a very, very strong soldier. That's it. I don't see why the film makers felt the need to change this to some weird acoustic weapon, but they did and to me the weirding modules are just silly.

 

So overall, I did enjoy watching this again and despite the things I have mentioned above I'd have to give this 4/5 as I do like most of the first and last sections. However if I did not already know the original story so well I am not sure I would have given it more than 2.

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Spinnaker1981

I have everything planed to watch it tomorrow. Will give my thoughts then. 

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LimeGreenLegend
Just now, Spinnaker1981 said:

I have everything planed to watch it tomorrow. Will give my thoughts then. 

Same, it's my hangover plan :D


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Spinnaker1981

Ok, so my thought on this movie is:

I think they botched it up. It is a pain to see, it is not very entertaining and I never really liked it!

I do love the books though... :P

OK, so I do like some things of the movie. I love the soundtrack! I like the thing no one likes: the monologues. They are where the books are really explained.

Its my own fault that I read the books before watching the movie! It is always harder to enjoy these kind of adaptations after reading the actual full story...

 

 

"I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

Edited by Spinnaker1981
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Con
Posted (edited)

Dune (1984)

Where do I begin? Let's start with the positives...the amazing set design and costumes were absolutely mesmerizing in their breadth and scope. I mean, some of those long shots of the miniature sets were superb and I really bought into the illusion of this world. The creatures were also impressive as I was fully repulsed by the Guild Navigator, holy fuck is he fucking ugly and was probably the reason I  was not intimate with the wife that night. So that is credit to the creature creators anytime you get a strong reaction from something artificial. I didn't think the acting was as bad as some of the professional reviews and felt that the script didn't help the actors at all, but you gotta give the actors credit for having to master all those fictional names and objects. 

I enjoyed the subtleties in the film, like when we meet Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan) and his nephews and one of them takes a drink, Glossu Rabban (Paul Smith) and i think its a mouse in a cup that he has to squeeze to get fluid out to drink, I watched that moment like three times trying to sort out what I was watching. The water under the planet Dune was amazing and truly appreciated those scenes and felt that is when I was the most emotionally invested. So I enjoyed those moments and honestly, if I had liked the film, I would have remembered more of those moments. I liked how ambitious the task of this whole production was just not the execution.  The scope of special effects to the attempts at staying close to the original material were admirable but I say that with a grain of salt as I never read the original novel.

My favorite thing about the film were the sandworms...they were fantastic and wish there was more shown regarding them and the symbiotic relationships with them instead of the multiple storylines going on at once. The sandworms looked very real and the scope of their size was captured perfectly as no doubt I was in awe when it swallows up that entire Spice Extraction Base in one gulp!!! I watched and reviewed a film called "Valerian and the City of 1,000 Planets", and in that film there are these huge underwater beasts and I could not put my finger to where I had seen their design before and watching Dune, I realized that in "Valerian..." they look like the same worms, just underwater so that was cool. 

Okay now to how I really feel about this film. I honestly felt like this film was made for the fans of the book and no one else——as we are thrown all these strange names and I had no idea if they were referencing a place or person and that made it so confusing, now i'm pretty good at context but I was lost. Why in the world would you say the planet is named Arrakis and also call it  Dune??? That was so stupid in my opinion. The film is called Dune because that's the important place in this universe, so why just call it Dune and drop the Arrakis as it sounds way to much like Atreides and without any context or explanation or knowledge of the book, it confuses the casual audience —— I honestly feel that this is the main reason the film flopped in theaters . 

I think what went wrong for me was the introduction of all that exposition through characters of which  we aren't even familiar with all, while they are using a vocabulary not known to us which included names and places that we had not been shown yet, some intertwined images of stuff could have been very helpful.  But just in general, all the subplots and many character storylines really made it feel like a mess to me.  The whole telepathic thing was confusing as I didnt know when it was telepathy or just inner thoughts, it just didn't work for me and cringed anytime i had to hear the audio. What was it with 1984 and fantasy storytelling? The NeverEnding Story also disappointed me with the storytelling. Dune was not congruent or smooth when it came to following the story...there is a golden rule in screenwriting and that is, Show it, Dont tell it, and I think that happened here, they "show" when they should be "telling" and vice versa.

Here is something that confused me a bit more than anything else, The sandworms produce the Spice (such a dumb name, the original author gives complex names to people and places and the most important substance in the film is just called "Spice" ?) anyhow the worms are important in the manufacturing of Spice but at the end we see Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan) summon rain and it gave me the impression that he was going to change the desert to a lake.....but what about the sandworms??? Wouldn’t they drown once those underground lakes connect? I don't know, just didn't make sense. The last hand to hand fight  versus Paul and Feyd-Rautha (Sting) was so damn uninspired and such a let down because I thought we would see more of the powers both held but only Paul really possessed power but waits until the end to rip the floor and Feyd open, I did like the special effects in that Feyd death. Also confusing was when Paul arrives riding the Sandworms, he and the Fremen had the sonic weapons that I thought the technology for them had been destroyed, I wish this was clearer since without those weapons, the Fremen probably had no chance to defeat the Harkonnens.

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 Final Verdict.....2/5..... Sorry I just will never watch this again. It was 2 hours of the most confusing story. While I loved the sets and some of the practical effects, the dialogue just makes everything pedantic and in the first act, I had no idea what was a planet or a person these characters were talking about. I think I would have liked it more if I had read the book but that shouldn't be a requirement to follow the story in a film. Basically for me the film was about an illegal born kid with a special messiah assignment, a bunch of bald chicks who protected the kid because they knew his future and wanted him on their side cause they wanna clone him or something to make their own superhuman, A baron and an emperor that both want to control the Spice production try to outdo one another only to fail because the illegal kid learns to acquire his powers. All which was told in a confusing manner. I could overlook the outdated special effects what I can't overlook is how much of a struggle it was to get the point of this and if the point was to tell the cool story of Paul Atreides, well I wish there would have been more writers and rewrites. This film is about three groups trying to control one planet but the filmmaker decided to pay more attention to the visual spectacle than the script and we suffer for it and no place is that more highlighted than those very awful voice-overs that are made worse because they not only serve as exposition but also for character inner thoughts about who they suspect, what they plan on doing. I don't mind hearing thoughts in our characters minds but it was done really bad here because the whispering gets so fucking annoying and was way overused and we could tell that most of it was added in post-production making it sound even more jarring as the thoughts didn't always match the characters facial expressions...lmfao...and is the most irritating thing I have sat through this year. 

I think this failed for me because it was over ambitious and should have been fragmented into just two character stories instead of trying to spread the subplots---which for all intent and purpose, would be meaningless because the film itself tells us that our hero will succeed because of the prophecy, so no matter how much they tried to stop Paul Atreides, they would fail regardless, which ruined any suspense for me. I wanted everyone to get eaten by the Sandworm...wish David Lynch would have taken that creative liberty as I found the notion of Dune going back to the Sandworms and reclaiming their planet a more rewarding and haunting ending. 

Edited by Con
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Con
Posted (edited)
On 9/2/2019 at 5:11 PM, Fido_le_muet said:

First, I didn't understand the story. I found it to be buried under a ton of other stuff that were too much for me like the costumes, the unpronounceable names, the too many people, the mythos, the prophecy and such. Overall it is weird. Too weird for my taste. 

I didn't like the acting. Kyle Maclachlan's hero was unexpressive, he had the same face for the whole film. Sting's character was awful. Hated him. 

I didn't adhere to the universe and the atmosphere at all. 

1. The book probably handled all those things better but that doesnt help the film. Too bad about the narrative because the film is beautifully shot and the costume designers took on a monumental task.  

2. I didn't mind the acting as much as the voice-overs, actually thought some of the acting wasn't bad and if i didnt know that was Sting, I would have thought he did a decent job during the fight scene but again he is no Christian Bale. 

3. The universe was indeed strange and weird, like how in this universe they have agreed to abandon technology because it was corrupting everyone, but they are still being assholes trying to control the universe through the spice. This abandonment of technology creates this world where they can bend space but carry around public announcement systems to give commands through those microphones, every time I saw one it seemed so out of place and that went for a few props.  There was no atmosphere because all the indoor scenes were lit the same way, except for when we meet the Sting and them. The room they are in is bright green and looked the most lively compared to the other sets, I mean go back and you'll see that 99% are dark, that made me feel like i was in the same place despite the fact we were jumping from planet to planet. 

I did want to mention that people hated the box force shields but I liked them, sure they looked like Gumby, but I thought it fit the world and after the chuckle, I quite liked them. Just wanted to add that. :D 

Edited by Con
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