Film - Dune


Steve Taylor-Bryant looks at the 1984 film Dune and why it sparked his love for all things David Lynch  ...

Dune is a great film.
Dune is a classic sci-fi film.
Dune is Cult.
Dune is wrong on so many levels.

David Lynch makes those levels work.

Dune was my introduction into the wonderful world of David Lynch and my favourite actor Kyle MacLachlan. Dune led to Blue Velvet and eventually onto the force of nature that was Twin Peaks, all the way to Mulholland Drive. Dune led me to name my son Kyle after its star, and a divorce from my son's mother followed, probably not a coincidence.

I don't like Frank Herbert's writing, I have tried time and again to enjoy his work and find it incredibly hard to follow. Long winded narrative, over elaborate descriptions, a man trying to be Arthur C Clarke without the talent. However I am constantly told that the books are always better than the films by people. Those people are wrong.

The Green Mile and Kubrick's The Shining are both better than the printed word versions...And that's just Stephen King!

So when you come across a bitch of a book you have to ask yourself "Who in their right mind would adapt this to the screen?"

Oh yes, it's David Lynch...My mistake...No right mind required.

Speaking a few years ago about his decision to turn down George Lucas' offer of Return of the Jedi, to make Dune instead, Lynch said

"I probably shouldn't have done that picture, but I saw tons and tons of possibilities for things I loved and this was the structure to do them in, there was so much room to create a world"

Lynch's Dune was the first and still the best adaptation. It took a long winded, sprawling novel and made it both an interesting story and visually stunning. It was, of course, immediately slated by the critics, a group of Americas mainstream media will never get what David Lynch tries to do, and a lot of people wondered if it really fitted well within the Lynch canon. Well why not? Dreaming and visions play a huge part, probably more in Dune than in most other Lynch screen gems, it has unconventional visuals and effects that are still as great today as they were in 1984, and it twists and turns like a Lynch film should, and it stars Kyle MacLachlan.

Not just MacLachlan though, the rest of the cast Lynch put together was immense. Virginia Madsen, Jurgen Prochnow, Kenneth McMillan as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was epic, Brad Dourif, Patrick Stewart, Sting, Dean Stockwell, Max von Sydow etc etc...

Taking that many huge stars, blending them into a weird sci-fi film, with a score by Toto? No-one could have done this except David Lynch, although not sure anyone would try except him either.

Dune is a long film.
Dune is not perfect.
Dune was made in 1984.

Dune is where my love affair with David Lynch began.

Thank you sir!

Image - Amazon