This one is insane. That is the easiest way to introduce you to this film. It is hard science fiction brought to the screen by one of the most interesting and controversial directors of his time, David Lynch. It is a film that transcends normality and brings you into the far flung future of giant sand worms and blue on blue eyed prophets. This is Dune.
Today’s Key Movie:
Based on the novel by Frank Herbert, this story follows the life of Paul Atreides (played by Kyle MacLachlan), the son of a Duke who inadvertently becomes the leader and messiah of the people of the desert planet Arrakis.
It is a story of destiny, of betrayal and political intrigue. It is a story of war and an empire balancing the very universe through lies and deceit. It is the story of a man who would change everything. This is DUNE.
Why this movie?
I first saw this film in the theater with my father. We were both fans of science fiction and, while I was pretty young, it was one of his favorite book series so of course he wanted to introduce me to the universe. I vividly remember the toys and action figures that came out of this film as well, specifically the Fremen Tarpel Gun. It was pretty rad to be honest.
The movie itself instantly became one of my favorites even though I know I didn’t understand most of it at the time. It was insane, it was wondrous, it was just cool. I would later go on to read the books because of this film and have since become a fan of the franchise as a whole.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
This is a much debated thing. To me, it is an incredible film full of cool visuals, excellent acting and a very deep story. The thing that turns most people off is the shear depth this movie brings with it. There is a lot of context that, unless you read the books or study the film over multiple viewings, is ultimately lost on casual watchers. That being said, it is Director David Lynch’s most straightforward and linear film to date, and that is saying a lot. I am not a fan of Lynch’s work overall, but this film holds a high place in my mind.
The actors in this are legion and amazing. Anyone who is a movie fan will recognize the plethora of known 80’s actors in this movie. From Patrick Stewart, Linda Hunt, Jose Ferrer, Brad Dourif, Virginia Madsen, Dead Stockwell, Max Von Sydow, Sean Young, Sting and any many more, this is almost a who’s who of 80’s movies. Each and every person in this film does an incredible job in their roles. Lynch manages to give everyone just enough screen time without making they feel out of place or just a cameo. The fact that there is so much going on makes the movie feel like a whole universe instead of just a cool thought compressed into a two hour film.
The special effects are something that to this day hold up better than some modern movies. Done almost completely with practical effects, with few exceptions, this makes the movie look and feel like a real universe even thirty five years later. Even the makeup is tremendous with everything from crazy looking mutant rabbit things to the nasty Duke Harkonnen. Every time I watch it, I am still amazing on how vivid and modern the film looks.
Of course, I would be a fool not to mention the most memorable creature in the film. The Sandworm himself Shai Hulud. I mean, just look at this thing! The music is by an unlikely source, the band Toto. It is not the 80’s pop like you would expect though but a layered and incredible score like no other. It is commanding, dramatic and intense. For the band that sang about the rains down in Africa, I am always impressed every time I remember that this score is their work as well.
This is not a film that you can just put on and let play in the background. No, this is one that you need to watch and pay attention to. It is layered and intense, so be sure to set aside some time before you dive in. Once you do, you are sure to begin telling your friends that The Sleeper Has Awakened!
OK, where do I get this movie?
If you can find one, I recommend the DVD edition that features the extended cut of the film. It is far superior in my opinion and really fleshes out even more of the story overall. If you can’t, then the blu ray original cut will do the job.
As usual, the Trailer:
Late To The Game 11/15/2018
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. We also have a fun Retro TV Review series in which we are currently reviewing the entire Star Trek The Next Generation Series, episode by episode.
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