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Dune

USA / Mexico 1984
produced by
Raffaella De Laurentiis, Dino De Laurentiis (executive) for the Dino De Laurentiis Company, Estudios Churubusco Azteca/Universal
directed by David Lynch
starring Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Kenneth McMillan, Jürgen Prochnow, Dean Stockwell, Sting, Max von Sydow, José Ferrer, Siân Phillips, Virginia Madsen, Patrick Stewart, Sean Young, Alicia Witt, Silvana Mangano, Everett McGill, Brad Dourif, Leonardo Cimino, Linda Hunt, Freddie Jones, Richard Jordan, Jack Nance, Paul L. Smith, Danny Corkill, Honorato Magaloni, Judd Omen, Molly Wryn
screenplay by David Lynch, based on the novel by Frank Herbert, music by Toto, cinematography by Freddie Francis, mechanical special effects by Kit West, creatures created by Carlo Rambaldi

Dune

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Somewhen in the tenth millenium: The planet Arrakis is at the same time a barren rock hanging in space, its surface covered entirely in desert that's deemed almost uninhabitable - even if there are rumours it's peopled by a race called the Fremen -, and the most important planet of the universe, as it's the only planet that produces the spice, a drug needed for space pilots to "fold" space. And thus, the Emperor of the known universe (José Ferrer) uses Arrakis as bait to stir up war between the two ruling houses, the House of Atreides and the House of Harkonnen. Very well aware how much it will upset Baron Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan), the Emperor hands Arrakis over to Duke Atreides (Jürgen Prochnow), who plans big things, unaware that his own doctor (Dean Stockwell) is a traitor who drugs the Duke, brings down all defense systems, and opens the door for an attack - and Atreides' men are hopelessly outgunned by the Harkonnen forces. Somehow, Atreides' son Paul (Kyle McLachlan) and his concubine Lady Jessica (Francesca Annis), Paul's mother, manage to make an escape into the desert, where they are almost swallowed up by a giant sandworm, creatures that roam the surface and hunt by vibration. Somehow they make it to safety and into the cave system of the Fremen, who are much larger in numbers than thought and that plan an uprising once they have collected enough water to cutlivate the planet. Now it has to be mentioned here that Paul's mother has been trained in mystical arts by the Bene Gesserit, a powerful sect feared in the known universe, and she has passed the teachings on to Paul, until his abilities surpassed her won, teachings that can also be used in combat, and teachings he now passes on to the Fremen, who soon celebrate him as their Messiah. And once they've mastered the skills, and have learned how to ride sandworms, they first destroy all spice mining stations, and ultimately launch an attack on the Harkonnen palace. But in the meantime, the Emperor has learned what's going on on Arrakis, and sends his troops as the Baron's reinforcements ...

This movie's supporting cast is pretty much guest star galore: Sting, then at the height of his popularity with The Police, plays Harkonnen's psychotic son, Virgina Madsen the Emperor's daughter, Patrick Stewart Paul's combat coach, Sean Young his love interest, Silvana Mangana a Bene Gesserit mother superior, and Max Von Sydow a space ship pilot.

 

To jump onto the Star Wars bandwagon in the early 1980s, Dino De Laurentiis produced not one but two films based on material that has been a direct influence on George Lucas' series, one was Flash Gordon in 1980, the other was Dune of course - and both films initially flopped at the box office but later became cult items on home video. But this is where the similarities end, as where Flash Gordon was an unapologetic piece of camp, Dune is a very intelligent and complex piece of science fiction that's as much heavy on philosophy as it is on spectacle, and that affords itself its quiet moments. And while it's true that the film simplifies Frank Herbert's book to some extent and loses some of its complexity, that's more due to the fact that there's only so much you can cram into a two and a quarter hour film. And while the film remains pretty close to its source throughout, it's still all David Lynch, with its trippy sequences, spots of surrealism, elements that catch the audience completely off-guard, and plenty of craziness. And while Lynch himself has more or less disowned the film, as he didn't have final cut, it has still very obviously his handwriting all over, and is totally worth a watch.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD