Does David Lynch’s Dune movie really deserve all these criticisms?
Credited as the first image of a two-part adaptation (and remake of the 1984 film), the 2021 sci-fi film Dunes is based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, which also covers the first half of the plot. Almost five months after the international premiere, in September 2021, this first part of Dunes crossed the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office, grossing more than $107.9 million domestic and $292.3 million overseas to date. Additionally, the film was the biggest opening of any Warner Bros. movie of 2021.
For David Lynchfrom 1984 Dunes, the events take place in the year 10,191, where the most sought-after commodity is a labeled mixture of spices, sourced only from the desert of the planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Duke Leto Atreides the planet Arrakis over their enemies, the Harkonnens. After the Harkonnens engage in a fierce fight in an attempt to regain control of the territory, Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), son and heir of Leto, must lead the Fremen and the natives of Arrakis in a vicious and violent battle for the control of the planet, alongside with its spice.
With an estimated budget of $42 million spent, total revenue only brought in $30.9 million. Considered one of the biggest cinematic budgets of this period, combined with a star-studded cast (consisting of Patrick Stewart, Linda Hunt, Sting and MacLachlan), the project ended up being negatively reviewed by critics and ultimately bombed. So what was there about David Lynch Dunes which rubbed moviegoers and critics the wrong way, how does it compare to the 2021 remake, and finally does it really deserve the mounds of criticism it received?
Dune can be a success
Dunes from 2021 tells the complete story of Paul Atreides (a great Timothée Chalamet), a young nobleman whose family is part of one of the many houses, currently in conflict for control of the planet Arrakis, better known as “Dunes”. Atreides and his family, who are all from the planet Caladan, seek control of the unique planet due to its increased production of a drug called a spice melange (which is labeled as the most valuable resource ever). exist). The incredible and emotional journey follows Paul as he travels to the dangerous planet in order to save the fate of humanity and his family.
Paul’s father, Leto (Óscar Isaac), is the twentieth Duke of House Atreides and a powerful figure. As his aristocratic family rules the planet Caladan, Paul would eventually inherit his father’s position and become a powerful duke of the Great House Atreides himself. From an early age, Paul learned how to govern, in addition to how he must interact with the people he will eventually represent. Once the House of Atreides has been moved to the planet Arrakis to manage the various operations of the spice mix, Paul and his parents move to the unusual setting.
The resounding success of 2021 Dunes is credited with the unique and exotic filming locations, remarkable cast and extraordinary visual effects, not to mention Hans Zimmer’s great score. The modern day remake stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem and many more great actors. The project has been so successful that a second tranche has already been approved. Last February, director Denis Villeneuve confirmed Dune: part two the script is already complete, while production will begin filming in late summer, early fall 2022.
Once Lynch Dunes was released, reviews were mixed, with most fans disappointed with the final product. For example, in a 1984 review by Roger Ebert, he wrote: “This film is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured and pointless excursion into the darkest realms of one of the most confusing storylines of all. the temperature.” Lynch himself (who is best known for his cult hits eraser head, Mulholland Drive, blue velvetand the series twin peaks) has even publicly stated that he is proud of every film he has created, except Dunes.
After being strongly haunted by the story linked to Dunes production and release, Lynch made it clear that he had “no interest” in remembering the story again. He said this, “because it was a heartbreak for me. It was a failure and I had no final cut. I’ve told this story a billion times. This is not the movie that I wanted to do. I like some a lot of parts – but it was a total failure for me.”
So what exactly kept people away from the movie? The 1984 project reportedly lacked substance, with the plot seeming much more scattered than well-structured. Considering new blockbuster movies (and a really good miniseries on SyFy) have a lot more time to develop Herbert’s massive books, it makes sense that a single smaller movie would be borderline misunderstanding. ; it would be as if all three the Lord of the Rings the films were condensed into a single two-hour film.
At supposedly pivotal moments, the story fails to engage viewers via dialogue, and instead completely shuts people off, unable to balance Lynch’s eccentric brilliance with its producer’s blockbuster epic vision. Also, instead of humanizing Paul, the story places him as a messiah figure with superhuman powers, and much of the film lacks stakes or emotion as a result.
Overall, both installments will still have their fair share of loyal fanbases that end up supporting them. While it’s undeniable to highlight the visually stunning aesthetics and much neater cadence of Villeneuve’s history Dune: part one, Lynch’s version also has positive qualities. The way its cinematic portrayal draws viewers in is actually captivating and effective enough to show just how unique these planets are, creating a bizarre and haunting vibe despite the limited and somewhat laughable visual effects in post-production.
Dune Review: A spectacular adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic
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