Dune is a huge, hollow, imaginative and cold sci-fi epic. Visually unique and teeming with incident, David Lynch’s film holds the interest due to its abundant surface attractions but won’t, of its own accord, create the sort of fanaticism which has made Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel one of the all-time favorites in its genre.
Set in the year 10,991, Dune is the story of the coming to power of a warrior savior and how he leads the lowly inhabitants of the Dune planet to victory over an evil emperor and his minions.
Lynch’s adaptation covers the entire span of the novel, but simply setting up the various worlds, characters, intrigues and forces at work requires more than a half-hour of expository screen time.
The anointed one, Paul Atreides, travels with his regal mother and father to the desert planet, where an all-powerful ‘spice’ is mined from beneath the sands despite the menace provided by enormous worms which gobble up harvesters in a single gulp.
The horrid Harkonnens conquer the city on Dune, but Paul and his mother escape to the desert. There Paul trains native warriors and achieves his full mystic powers.
Francesca Annis and Jurgen Prochnow make an outstandingly attractive royal couple, Sian Phillips has some mesmerizing moments as a powerful witch, Brad Dourif is effectively loony, and best of all is Kenneth McMillan, whose face is covered with grotesque growths and who floats around like the Blue Meanie come to life.
1984: Nomination: Best Sound