Posted by: ckckred | November 3, 2012

Dune: The Horror, The Horror

A dreadful piece of trash that’s one of the most horrendous films ever made

Well, I was planning to watch Magnolia last night, which received the most votes on my survey, but unfortunately I did not have enough time to see it last night.  I then found Dune sitting at the back of my DVD shelf (how I have it I don’t know) and decided to give that a watch, mostly because I was tired of saying that I’ve never seen a David Lynch film.  Most Lynch fans advise viewers not to see Dune and I should have taken warning.  Don’t worry, I’m not judging Lynch by this movie (he has often denounced it and in some versions his name is taken out and replaced with “Alan Smithee”).  I plan to see Mulholland Drive soon.  But by the first five seconds of the film I knew it was going to be awful and the rest of the movie proved this.

Dune is horrendous, worse than I could have ever imagined.  It’s a spiteful piece of work that doesn’t even deserve to be called a film.  Dune is miserable, dull, boring, and one of the worst films I have ever seen.

The plot of the film is barely comprehendible.  All I knew from watching it was that it had something to do with spice being a kind of currency in an intergalactic universe or something like that.  And after reading the Wikipedia entry, I can still barely grasp what’s going on.  Here’s what I understand now: Paul Atreides (Kyle MacLachlan), a noble’s son on some planet goes to this other planet that holds spice.  This planet is inhibited by giant worms and a native people.  After his father is killed by the intergalactic emperor, Paul decides to lead a rebellion against the emperor.

But frankly, I wouldn’t care even if I could comprehend the plot.  I was so uninterested by the movie that I fell asleep part way through, somewhere around Lynch’s cameo in the film.  There are narrations in the movie by Paul where he whispers out important plot points, which are tremendously laughable.  MacLachlan expresses almost no emotion into his role at all, and most of the actors appear to have no idea what they’re doing.

Even the special effects are terrible.  The movie had a budget over $40 million, which was a lot back for a movie in 1984, but the film does not only look unconvincing but cheap.  The giant worms just look like hand puppets and the makeup on the characters looks hideous.  The weapons used in the film are guns that shoot out bullets that explode their targets, but this never looks real.  I do realize that visual effects have improved over time, but look at Star Wars in comparison.  It was made seven years earlier and the special effects still hold up today.  Dune, on the other hand, doesn’t.

It’s sad because the movie has some very good talent on it.  Even in this mess you can still tell Lynch is a good director.  In many interviews Lynch has stated his artistic direction and creative control was limited and it’s obvious here.  Max von Sydow, who has worked with Ingmar Bergman, is in the film as well as Patrick Stewart. But unfortunately they don’t prevent Dune from being one of the most despicable, hateful movies ever made.


  1. Wow. Strong feelings. I usually put “Dune” on to put me to sleep when I have a bought of insomnia.

    • I think I was asleep for about an hour of the movie. All I could remember before I fell asleep was Lynch’s cameo and when I woke up the characters were being attacked by a giant worm. Thanks for commenting.

  2. […] I would really like to praise MacLachlan’s performance.  He was practically lifeless in Dune, showing almost zero emotion, but fits perfectly here (he was also in Blue Velvet, which I plan on […]

  3. as a kid i hated this movie, i only got past the first hour and i was bored out of my mind. i gave it another try a few years later when they added footage to make it easier to follow but still i wasn’t feeling it.
    then one nite many years later (when i was in my 20’s) there was nothing else on tv and i gave Dune another go….then i realized it wasn’t that bad. it took me a few more viewings before i realized that Dune had now become one of my favorite films. yeah i know not the most ideal way to appreciate a film,
    the narrations are still cheesey but now that’s part of the appeal. again as a kid i found the plot boring but now it’s far more compelling. yes at times it’s a big mess but for me at least it’s a damn interesting mess.

    • I feel like I probably should see this again now, especially since I’ve seen much more in Lynch’s filmography. Thanks for commenting.

    • It’s like Showgirls in space eh? the kind of cult movie where people watch it over and over again just to laugh at how bad it is.

      This was one of the worst movies i’ve ever seen! such a boring, incoherent, nonsensical, poorly written, miscasted, poorly acted and poorly directed 47 million dollar mess of a movie and Lynch’s worst film no doubt.

      I love David Lynch with this movie being an exception as his attempt at big budget hollywood sci-fi blockbuster is definitely not his thing. I’m glad he returned back to his comfort zone known as independent films where he belongs with the great Blue Velvet.

  4. […] 10. Dune […]

  5. […] Cinematic review Roger Ebert review The New York Times review […]

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