Here Is What You Need To Know:
Few films are harder to review than Dune as there are now about twenty different versions, that vary tremendously in length and the experience you have will differ slightly depending upon which version you are watching. For good or bad, right or wrong, we will stick with the theatrical release.
Dune is a classic. All these years later, as the film was released in late 1984, Dune still has a look, tone and air that has not yet been matched or duplicated. There is quality to the original film that allows it to feel grand beyond its budget. There are a few reasons for this fact, one is the epic nature of the script, the second is the exceptional casting and performances, which add so very much to the final product and third is the extraordinary care that went into the creation of so many of the sets, costumes, props, and visual and special effects.
Some of Dune's effects do look dated, but considering that the film is over 20 years old this is only to be expected. Why did the film fail to achieve the box-office success that so many thought was inevitable? Much of the answer lies in the fact that, while the book was very well known, the film's plot was very detailed and cerebral. Combined with the fact that the studio cut the film to shreds in order to get a “normal” running time and you have a receipt for problems. Of course, this is a very complicated situation that I am touching on only briefly as Dune was a very complex and grand project.
What Was Cool:
-Everything, but I will be specific
-The grand nature of the script
-The amazing cast and performances, Sting is but one of many fantastic actors in the film.
-Dune's set direction and costumes are worth a rental even if you are not into science-fiction films.
-Giant worms, need I say more.
-The concept of Spice
What Was Stupid:
-Director David Lynch or someone, somewhere, should have realized that Dune should have either been handled as a mini-series, which we later saw with The Children of Dune, or as multiple films.
The Film's Real Genius or Geniuses:
-Dune is one of those films with too many marvelous contributions to count. The cinematography by Freddie Francis is incredible.
-Sting and Jose Ferrer performances were grand and what would a Cherie review be without pointing out a beautiful woman. Virginia Madsen looks angelic.
Story C (The theatrical version can be a tough ride, especially, most especially for those unfamiliar with the dense novel.)
Use of Science B (Interesting concepts to be sure, but the science isn't probed making much of Dune come across more like magic.)
Portrayal of Women A
Visuals-VFX and Special Effects A
Visuals-Set Design/Props A+
Style/Sex Appeal B
Enjoyability Grade B
Home Theater/HD Factor A ( The extended version of the film in particular with be a great treat on next-generation DVD.)
Gut Check (Level of Studio Executive Guts) B
Overall Innovation A (The sets, props and costumes really raise the bar.)
Overall Grade C+ (Science-fiction fans will give Dune a higher grade, but for the average movie goer who is unfamiliar with the novel, Dune is tough. The extended version is better but quite long. Dune is a great film in so many ways and all film fans should see it, especially the longer, more complete and arguably less confusing.)
A Little Fact About Cherie:
-Dune is one of my favorite novels.