Dune (1984) (part 11 of 11)

After the Emperor bitches about how much the Baron has screwed the pooch, Alia is brought in. Yes, really. She was captured off-screen, and we didn’t even get any narration about it.

This is the first real look we’ve gotten at her, and it’s freaking terrifying. She’s dressed in a huge burka thing that makes her look like a face sticking out of a pepper shaker, she has the blue Fremen eyes, and to top it off, the child actor is dubbed over by an adult, who’s just barely out of sync with the girl’s lip movements.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Oh god, get it away!

Never let it be said that David Lynch can’t conjure up some creepy stuff, but it really goes against the film’s interests this time. Having this character introduced so late in the film is enough of an obstacle to the audience being attached to her, but now she’s been made so scary that there’s no chance in hell of us rooting for her.

Mohiam, who’s in the room all of a sudden, gets her own chance to ham it up with the line, “Get out of my miiiiind!” She explains that Alia is Paul’s sister, and the Baron gives a couple of odd, truncated screams in response. What, no puppy raping or anything? They’ve really run out of material, haven’t they?

Paul, Stilgar, and Gurney make their final preparations, with any dramatic tension completely undercut by how they’re now all wearing mattress covers. Yes, mattress covers. They’re supposed to be some kind of radiation suits, but they’re so obviously mattress covers. Did I mention the money was really running out at this point?

Caption contributed by Albert

“They had to make mine king-size, if you know what I mean.”

Lynch wastes more time with all kinds of explosions going off, and then the charge is on. And it’s lit so poorly, we can barely see anything, so we can’t even enjoy it just for the action. Lynch really is bound and determined to destroy any possibility of us caring about this story, isn’t he?

And then he tops himself, as back inside, a guy with a metal nose orders around the bad guys. This has no meaning.

Caption contributed by Ryan

Oh, whatever, I’m done questioning it.

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Ryan Lohner

Ryan lives in Sparta, New Jersey, a quaint little burg without much for kids to do except go to the movies. Thus began a lifelong love affair, as even back then he grew to love examining why a film worked, or didn't. He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, and currently studying for a Master's Degree in Library and Information Science. His hobbies include running, piano, and annoying people with that damn lowercase forum user name.

Multi-Part Article: Dune (1984)

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  • cjjc

    I’m not sure that some of the blame for this can’t be be levelled at Dino DeLaurentiis who’d want to make it clear that money was spent and that they went to actual fancy desert locations.

    As for the Lynch cameo, it seemed to exist solely for Lynch to exercise his love of shouting.

  • Anonymoose

    I totally agree with you about the miniseries. Everyone but the Baron was played horribly. It seemed like they were trying to get through their lines as fast as possible.

  • GTBurns48215

    Worse yet some marketing exec at Universial convinced the studio to market this film to kids. Just do a google search and find out about. Dune Coloring and Activity books, there were four of them, Dune action figures and even bedroom sheets and linens. What boy would not want a DUNE bedroom? For the B-day boy there are even DUNE party supplies, paper plates napkins and whatnot. market a film to kids that even adults could not understand.

    • CDiehl

      It sounds like the marketing people didn’t talk to anyone who saw the script for this picture. I would guess that Universal assumed this would be for them what Star Wars had been for Fox, their big sci-fi franchise. As a result, the marketing people merchandised it as aggressively as Fox had done with Star Wars. Being a big studio movie, the studio probably assumed the more far-out or adult elements would be trimmed out in the final version. Oh, what a rude shock they all must have gotten.

  • GTBurns48215

    I give this movie major props in the area of SFX, wardrobe and art design. But backbone of the film the story falls apart. The miniseries was low budget crap, but at least they tried to follow the books somewhat. The best way to do DUNE justice is to go full on HBO series like Game of Thrones. This is a book series that cannot be one in one if not 3 motion pictures. You need a full TV series to flush everything out.

  • f.coli

    I’ve watched Dune a few times, but only once with the Princess doing the narration. The extended version has some gravel-voiced narrator, and Virginia Madsen had no lines at all. I wonder if she ever got over that :)

  • dvdrtrgn

    Ahh, Dune. What a sad waste of time and talent…this recap, I mean. Actually your recap is not really sad. It is somewhat funny but a genuine waste still. Why beat down a miracle of a movie that’s been the butt of jokes for going on, ummm 30 years! I loved the books, but the movie piqued my interest. 

  • Soli

    I don’t really care about the opinion of the “non-fantasy reading majority,” because frankly that majority doesn’t tend to read much anyway. So the literary viewpoints of people who are avid fans of “Real Housewives” and buy books by Snooki do not matter much.

    And frankly, I also disagree that “Dune” is a far superior book to LOTR. Seriously, it’s not nearly the gem you mention. A good book, yes, but there is plenty of thin characterization and pompously pretentious scenes, and I don’t see much analysis of it floating around these days by comparison, despite the SyFyLis adaptations of the first two books.

  • midnightcyn

    I’ve never understood the confusion people talk about with “Dune.” I haven’t read any of the books and had no problem following the plot here. It’s all explained if you really listen. And I am truly grateful that there was no John Williams-style score; that got old decades ago.

  • Michifer

    Also, if I recall, Thufir just kinda disappears (or maybe he’s just standing around in the finale) instead of, ya know, his original heroic sacrifice.