The Spice Isn't Right

Kyle MacLachlan in Dune (1984)

In the year 10191 the most valuable substance on the planet isn't gold or silver but a spice by the name of Melange and it can only be found on the planet Arrakis. Arrakis is owned by Duke Leto Atreides due to a Royal decree and Leto ousted his bitter rivals, the Harkonnens when he took control. But being bitter enemies the Harkonnens seized back Arrakis through attack. Now it is down to Paul (Kyle MacLachlan), the special son of Leto, to lead the natives of Arrakis to take back control of the planet and its valuable spice.

I read something many years ago which rang true with me and since then have discovered other movie reviewers reiterating what it was which I read. That thing was that the movies we experience as children can become an obsession which to some extent have a hold on us, explaining why some people get very upset when we hear the word remake used in conjunction with them. So hen I think back to my childhood those movies would be "Star Wars" and "The Great Escape" as since then I have watched them numerous times and looked in to their making, collected news stories and so on. It is for that reason I can understand why many are just as obsessed with "Dune" especially if they watched it back in 1984, the trouble is that I didn't.

Now there is no denying that director David Lynch has delivered a visual extravaganza with sets which are over run in design and detail. The thing is that it almost seems like Lynch has focused so much on the look of "Dune" that he has forgotten about getting across the story. Now maybe he thought the only people who would watch the movie are those who have read the book but if that was the case it was a huge mistake. It means that for those who watch "Dune" not knowing the story have a head scratching experience as they try to make sense of what is going on.

But it gets worse because trying to make sense of what is going on in "Dune" is hard work because there is almost a sense of pomposity with almost every actor over doing there performances and making every character an isolated subject doing their own thing. It just doesn't work with some of the cast seeming to go for theatrical which doesn't fit and makes it come across over the top. They also seem to be intentionally trying to go slow with makes it cumbersome as well and you long for an injection of speed in to things

What this all boils down to is that whilst I can appreciate "Dune" as a visual experience it doesn't work for me as a movie. Between struggling to draw in those who don't already know the story to actors seeming to do their own thing it is heavily flawed and slow going.

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