Spice World, Ell Oh Ell

Strap in your noseplugs, because Dune (1984) is (definitely not) the Greatest Movie EVER!

Click on the poster or the movie title above to download our review of the film, featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting.

Review in a Nutshell:  Ugly and incomprehensible, the David Lynch version of Dune is a muddled mess that lacks even the redeeming qualities of David Lynch’s usual cinematic weirdness.  On the plus side, Sting in a Thong!

This movie contains:

Phallic Symbols.


Ummm…what the heck is going on here?


  1. Edmund says:

    I love this movie! I used to watch it as a kid on Channel 11 in NY and I used to love watching the sand worms shoot lighting and the ugly fat guy kill people by pulling the plug on their hearts! All the while rocking out to Toto. Jurgen Prochnow’s performance was the cherry on the top. The movie made me curious enough to read the book and it still is one of my favorites.

    I can’t wait to listen!

  2. gooberzilla says:

    The above post is a prime example of why everyone should listen to the episode before posting; the podcast is basically Sean and I hating on the movie for about 36 minutes straight.

  3. Seth says:

    First time commenting, but I was surprised that Dune came up and figured why not comment for this one? Watched the movie when I was a kid and LOVED it, now about the only thing I like about it is the look of the Atreides. I get to about to the big midway battle with the army of garbage bag wearing goons and after that I cant stand it any more. Poor flick and extremely poor adaptation, the mini series is so much more superior. To Sean; I agree with Goob give the mini-series a shot it’s worth it.

    Good review hit all the nails on the head as far as I can think. Cant wait to see what the selection is for next time.

  4. Eduardo M. says:

    I had wanted to be the one to infilct this on you. I do think the movie has its flaws but there are a few bright spots scattered here and there. I agree with Edmund that Jurgen Prochow does a good job. I also like Patrick Stewart as Gurney and I think Sting made a great villian.

  5. Tim says:

    No. Worst movie ever. I can’t stand it.

  6. Note: Any references I make is to the film released in 1984. The infamous Alan Smithee version came out in 1988. It was the version showed on commercial television. They took out Irulan’s intro and put in a 10-15 minute voice over intro with crude art explaining the Dune universe. They also added footage that was cut from the theatrical release. They did not bother to add in the effects to these scenes. These scenes have Fremen without the blue within the blue eyes.

    Some thoughts.

    “It begins as DUNE begins, it ends as DUNE ends and I hear my dialogue throughout. How much more could a writer want? Even though I have quibbles- I would have loved to have had David Lynch realize the banquet scene- do I like it? I do. I like it. Very much.”
    Frank Herbert on Lynch’s Dune(source HARLAN ELLISON’S WATCHING pg. 232,Underwood-Miller)

    I wonder if Herbert was seeing an earlier cut. Paul was right when he said that the ending with rain on Dune was dopey.

    Herbert’s statement may explain why some of us like the film or at least like parts of the film. Those of us who read the book first, we could fill in the elements left out of the film. There are parts where the film really hits the mark as an adaptation of the novel. Then there is stuff like the weird cat sequence with Hawat.

    The film shows that maybe a theatrical feature may not be the best way to adapt a major novel. 2-3 hours may not be the best amount of time to cover a complex novel. DUNE was a success as 6 hour mini series.

    Paul and Sean did a great job examining movie. Paul brought up something I did not realize. Baron Harkonenn is a clever plotter and he is just a sadist in the film. I think I overlooked the dumbing down of the Baron because the film emphasized the heavy handed nature of Harkonenn rule. Both the film and novel show the Atriedes as populist rulers and the Harkonenns ruling by terror.

  7. Eduardo M. says:

    Something the film barely touched on was the Baron wanted his nephew Raban to act like an a-hole as part of his long plot. He actually wanted Feyd to rule Dune and put Raban in first so the people would be thankfully when Feyd comes in to take over. YOu get some of this when the Baron talks to Raban but it left out any reference to the Feyd part.

  8. DarthNader says:

    Paul’s Name is a killing word!

    For me, one of the things that I liked about this movie was the art direction. While I was about 8 when this movie came out, I remember seeing the commercials, and being struck by its look (this was after having come off of seeing The Empire Strikes Back). To this day, its probably the one thing that I still get enjoyment from whenever I watch this movie. At least in that area, I like it over the SciFi miniseries.

  9. dreckfiction says:

    Sting was pretty awesome in this movie, but it wasn’t quite enough to save this from being the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I read Roger Ebert’s review before I saw the movie, and I believe he gave it a half star and mostly just called it soporific. I couldn’t agree with the man more, despite my initial skepticism

  10. Edmund says:

    I still liked the podcast! Paul and Sean are not wrong in their review of Dune, the script sucks but I still love it. I like the mini series better, but I preferred the look and the costumes of the movie. I dig the militaristic look of the Atreides uniforms and think the still suits in the movie are more stealthy.

  11. Vincenzo Averello says:

    I realize why I enjoy this film now… Whenever I watch it, I fill in the plot details with book.

  12. Firest says:

    +1 here on the mini-series as well.

    I can’t add much to what’s already been said about the movie, though as an aside I will mention that the creepy little girl playing Paul’s sister at the end is the film debut of Alicia Witt.

  13. DensityDuck says:

    I have to say, the “my name is a killing word” thing is probably the silliest book-to-movie-adaptation thing I’ve ever seen.

    “Dune”, the novel, is one of those cases where the writer wanted to evoke a very specific historical paradigm, and so he invented technology that made that paradigm work. Like, it’s the future, but he wants everyone to be all knife-fighting like it’s a medieval Italian court, therefore we get lasers that blow up if they shoot a shield. Same thing as David Weber making his space battleships invulnerable if you attacked from the front, so that combat would be mostly broadsides, just like in the Napoleonic age-of-sail battles he wanted to copy.

    The Mentats. See, this is an example of why those “prequel” novels aren’t just bad, but are actively harmful to the Dune story. In the original Dune novel, we’re meant to see just how much of an influence religion and dogmatic superstition have over the lives of these people; one of the ways we see this is through the Mentat. The idea is that the prohibition on “thinking machines” isn’t some kind of self-defense thing, it’s basically just a religious belief; sort of like keeping kosher in a modern context where food hygiene is much less of an issue. It’s really just a cultural memory of a time when there was a systemwide computer crash, and it was really bad; now it’s just Not Done to have machines do your thinking. Sort of like if Greenpeace got to be in charge, and banned all private automobiles to stop Global Warming; and now it’s two thousand years later, and nobody would even *think* of owning their own car, but also nobody can really explain why; it’s just something you don’t do.

    In the prequel novels, the “thinking machines” are the goddamn Terminator. So it’s just straight-up Prometheus Unbound. Total cliche.

    And the whole guys-with-their-faces-mutilated thing is a really heavy-handed reference to, again, medieval court intrigue stuff; the story goes that slaves intended to serve during private discussions would have their ears and eyes and mouths sewn shut, so that they couldn’t hear or see secret information, and couldn’t tell anyone what was happening in the secret council meetings.

  14. Keith says:

    Predictably enough, I love this movie.

    I admit that explaining why is similar to someone having to explain why they liked to be peed on during sex. Sometimes, there’s just no explanation that will suffice, so my answer to “how could anyone like this movie” is “it’s not a movie; it’s a fetish.”

    Paul — or Mau’dib, as you like to be called — you need to get on board with my movie starring Rutger Hauer in his Roy Batty leather underwear, Sting in his winged metal thong, and Sean Connery in his dumpy Zardoz man panties. I call it “The Barack Obama Story.”

  15. DarkSol says:

    Paul, I don’t get the hate.

    While it’s a crazy, “bad” movie, that’s part of its charm. I can rewatch Dune over and over again because its so “what the hell!?”

    The fact that Frank Herbert signed off on the film makes it great.

    The film does differ from the book a lot, but that’s part of the director’s vision.

    That being said, I would love to have been able to see what Alejandro Jodorowsky’s version would have been. That would have been a true acid trip. Salvador Dali as the Emperor of the Known Universe, Pink Floyd doing the soundtrack… WOAH.

  16. gooberzilla says:

    The hate stems from the fact that, at least for Sean and I, Dune was not a fun film to watch. It’s not something that we want to revisit. The film was weird and slow, but not in a good way. Huge chunks of it are badly shot and poorly edited. The “director’s vision” argument doesn’t wash because Lynch himself admits he didn’t have final cut and that he was unsatisfied with the results. I think we were pretty clear about why we didn’t like the film.

  17. DarkSol says:

    I know and I get why you hate it.

    Does it mean I’m a bad person for liking it though? 😦

  18. Keith says:

    DarkSol — if you thought TIS version differed a lot from the book, you should read Jodorowsky’s treatment for the movie. Fans of the book would likely have been apoplectic. Jodorowsky wrote about the entire production ordeal in a 1985 issue of Metal Hurlant, which is translated with tiny images here: http://www.duneinfo.com/unseen/jodorowsky.asp

  19. DrkJediEngineer says:

    I also really like this movie. Like the others here I agree with almost everything that Paul and Sean said, there are huge issues with the movie but there are two things that I enjoyed very much about the movie that the mini-series got completely wrong. The Look & Feel and the Music.

    The Look & Feel of the movie for me is spot on for the book, everything is dark and orange colored and the design of the costumes is perfect.

    The Music is epic and matches the darkness of the look and really helps to bring me into the feeling of the book and the movie.

    That being said, plotwise the mini-series is far superior.

    Great podcast, keep up the good work and Tank Girl still Rocks!

  20. Solid MUldoon says:

    I read the novel when I was in high school and really liked it. But even then I thought it was over-stuffed and pretentious. I read the next two and uuuuuggghhhhh.

    There was no chance in hell it could be adapted into one movie.

    Your explanation of the story took an hour and still didn’t capture it all!

    It would be like trying to adapt The Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, and everything in between, in two hours. And include the all the philosophy. Not gonna happen.

    BTW, I am truly amazed that you have the details of this story so clear in your mind. I couldn’t describe my own life in such detail.

    I saw this in the theater. My only real memory of it is Fat Guy with Zits floats around while Sting shows his Package.

    I would rather drink my own piss than watch it again.

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