Dune (1984): The Rough First Attempt

Oh, you thought I was just going to wait for part two of the new version? Hell no! We’re going back to the original 80s movie, baby!

David Lynch’s Dune is simultaneously one of the most boring and hilarious movies I have ever seen. It’s crammed to the brim with boring exposition that explains and sometimes spoils stuff in a very uninteresting fashion. But every now and then, you get a chuckle-inducing line of stiff dialogue or a dumb looking visual effect or the characters will have silent expositions like an anime character. It’s trying to be a political drama like the original work. But this seems more like a comedy when watched today! Especially after watching the new version!

We all know the plot by now. Space politics, psychic powers, “The Spice must flow,” Paul is the chosen one, blah blah blah. We’ve gone over multiple times now. This is like an incredibly rushed and poorly executed version of that story.

This movie gets off to an incredibly boring, yet somehow hilarious, start. We get the Emperor’s daughter expositing the entire premise of the story to us while she stares straight into the camera, fading in and out for no reason. Writing wise, this is a terrible way to start your story; it’s like the Star Wars title crawl, only without the thrill or charm. But because of the wonky dialogue and her fading in and out for no reason, it quickly becomes hysterical!

It’s like that from beginning to end. Terrible exposition followed by more terrible exposition and more and more and on and on. This is a far from thrilling retelling of the story. Granted, the original Dune is fairly boring. But it found ways to make it more interesting and compelling than just having a character look into the camera and explain every little thing that the audience needs to know.

The effects of this movie are pretty solid! At least when it’s an actual prop or a set. I’m always a sucker for practical effects. Granted, these aren’t the most incredible, even for the time. Still, they are surprisingly detailed and interesting. Its a fun take on the unique world of Dune.

The CGI, though, is awful. The shield effects take what would be half-decent fight choreography and turn them into a blocky nightmare. You can definitely tell this is a movie from 1984 just by looking at it. CGI appears rarely. But they always look so bad that it quickly turns the movie into a comedy.

Performances are incredibly mixed. Some actors are doing an incredible job. But then there are… the others. The actor playing Paul is awful; he doesn’t capture any of the isolated distance of Paul. When he tries to be charismatic, he just comes across like an awkward dude-bro.

If you try to watch this movie seriously, you’ll quickly grow bored and want to switch it off. But if you don’t take this version seriously, it can be pretty enjoyable! It is easily one of the worst tellings of Dune. Yet it’s also one of the most hilarious!

But to be fair: at least it’s somewhat accurate to the book. They could have just thrown Frank Herbert’s work away. So… at least it’s a proper adaptation. If not an incredibly good one.

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3 responses to “Dune (1984): The Rough First Attempt”

  1. Hello, Jernahblunt, I think that I still need to make a post about this movie, I only saw it once years ago; do you plan on making a post about both of the Dune TV miniseries: Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Frank Herbert’s Children Of Dune (which is my current favorite of the franchise, I am waiting until the new Dune movies are complete before I compare them to the rest)?

    Liked by 1 person

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