I vaguely remember watching this movie a long, long time ago and thinking it was pretty cool. So I figured I'd give it another whirl and man did my memories deceive me. I'm going to come right out and confess that I have not read the book(s) - I started reading the first one but it was really... dense (that's the nice way of putting it, right?).
The plot is about a dude (Kyle MacLachlan) who is exiled into the desert by his enemies and becomes the rebel leader of a group of nomads and also the chosen one of an ancient mystical order.
See? How fucking hard was that? Yes, all that shit about House Atreides and House Harkonen being manipulated by Jose Ferrer because of some intense politicking, or the dude in the tank getting it's knickers in a knot over buddy, or the Bene Gesserit fucking around because they are mysterious is interesting but ultimately unneccessary. In a book, okay, you can pull that shit off but in a movie it really bogs everything down.
Okay, I guess you need to explain a little bit about the spice because otherwise it makes no sense that anybody would give two sweet fucks about a shitty, backwater desert planet, but all the other stuff? Fuck, there was so much stuff going on in this movie and absolutely nothing at all happening. And it's so fuckin political - I don't give a shit who's on council in the village where I live, why would I care what's going on in politics on some fictional planet in space? Blurgh.
For the sake of kindness, I will illustrate the highlights of the movie - it looked great, and Kyle MacLachlan is reasonably hot. And it had Brad Dourif in it so that's pretty cool. Okay, now that's out of the way.
Everything about the movie is so ridiculously over the fucking top it's embarrassing. For example, wouldn't it be enough to just say that the Harkonens didn't like the Atreides (for whatever reason - there was something to do with a magic ring that I didn't get. I think it opened something. Why a ring? Rings are easy to lose. When you get drunk and start dancing they fall off. In a world where they have developed intergalactic travel and terraforming why can't they use retinal scanners open things)? Did the Harkonens have to all be psychotic, homicidal maniacs? Granted, they were all gingers but still, that was a little much.
Okay, okay, I'll accept that they are a family of degenerate lunatics. But I will not accept that anybody with the least semblance of intelligence and common sense (which presumably the Emporer has, being Emporer and all) would put the fuckers in charge of the most important planet in the universe. Why would anybody do that? I know it's a shithole of a planet so you don't wanna station your best buddy there but surely there is somebody else who is slightly more competant and stable than Baron Harkonen.
But that's not really that important in the grand scheme of the story - the story, at it's core, is some thinly veiled hippy shit about sticking it to the man and doing massive amounts of mind altering drugs. The really sad thing is that this made me realize how much of the sci-fi and fantasy stuff I love is just fucking hippy shit. The Matrix? Hippy shit. Star Wars? Hippy shit. Lord of the Rings? Hippy shit. The only thing I can still hold on to is, like, Star Trek. Star Trek (the original series anyway, I never got into the other ones) really isn't hippy shit. At all.
Think about it though. All that other stuff I just mentioned is about a group of rebels sticking it to the evil establishment (read: hippy shit). In Star Trek, Kirk is part of the establishment. It's totally conservative, it's great, I love it. Whenever there are hippies on that show they're kind of dumb and confused. God damn I fucking hate hippies.
But I digress. Overall, Dune is a bunch of politics and hippy shit, encased in really cool art direction, with a really shitty soundtrack. By Toto. And Brian Eno. Fuuuuuuck.
Written and Directed by: David Lynch, based on the novel by Frank Herbert. Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Kenneth McMillan, Sting, Max Von Sydow, Jose Ferrer, Sian Phillips, Jurgen Prochnow, Virginia Madsen, Alicia Witt, Sean Young, Dean Stockwell, Brad Dourif, Patrick Stewart