DUNE

tain669

Sr Member
I saw the David Lynch version of the film and I also saw the Extended or"Alan Smithee" version .While the Lynch version I feel is more a pleasure to watch the Smithee version adds more scenes and a little more in the plot.I'd like to know what the rest of you guys think and what version you like
 

Jedi2016

Sr Member
The Smithee version might as well have been assembled by a fan in iMovie, it's a hack job.

Not to say that the new material isn't interesting, it's just that it was cut for a reason, and some random guy who doesn't know anything about editing can't just slap it back together however they see fit. Unless David Lynch himself comes back and makes a true "Director's Cut", then I'll stick with the theatrical version.
 

tain669

Sr Member
I'd like to see Lynch make a new version with some of the extend version footage but leave the Virginia Mansdon voice over in.While Frank Herbert did a good job on the Smithee version. I like the tone of the female story teller.Also the opening artwork seemed kind of out of step with while the lynch version seemed smooth
 

terryr

Sr Member
Didn't like Dune too much. Loved the book. I thought they were influenced to 'Star Warz' it. Which is funny, because Lucas was influenced by Dune.

Casting was good, except Paul. Never bought Maclachlan. Too much hair, and they 'Luked' him.

The book has a lot to stuff into a movie, and they left out the wrong stuff. I saw the long version, but don't remember it too well.
 

SmilingOtter

Master Member
I much prefer Lynch's movie to the Sci-Fi Channel's in almost every respect. I thought the SFC was able to cover more of the story (being considerably longer,) had more realistic still suits (though I do love the look of the Lynch version) and didn't have the stupid "weirding module."

That said, the I much preferred Lynch's cast, and the whole look and feel of the film. Aside from the aforementioned still suits, I wonder if the wardrobe designer for the SFC version was on serious drugs at the time.
 

Solo4114

Master Member
I've seen...three versions, basically.

1.) Lynch Theatrical -- I "imprinted" with this one, and it's what inspired me to read the books. I still enjoy it, but I recognize its imperfections. Mispronunciations, weird Lynch-added material (heart plugs, weirding modules, etc.), and so on. But it's still a good film.

2.) The "Smithee" version -- for those who don't know, this is all Lynch-directed stuff. In essence, the "Smithee" version IS a "Lynch version", just not one he authorized. Alan Smithee is typically used for films where one of the authors/creators wants to be disassociated with the final product. I enjoy the extended material in most cases. The duel in the Sietch the first night where Paul makes his first kill, and some of the other extended scenes, but they also recycle a TON of shots to fill things in. This one's more of a decent curio, rather than a true "extended edition" like the LOTR films.

3.) The Sci-Fi series. I liked it, and once I accepted it as largely a "stage production" (which it was, FYI), it becomes far more impressive. I thought its depiction of the characters was better, but the "stage production" quality of things really does make it look cheap if you don't recognize that it's really just ambitious theater.


Honestly, though, I've read the book several times, and I just...don't think that it's filmable. Not truly, anyway. No film version can ever encompass the depth, background info, etc. of the films, and I'm not sure that the actual material itself works particularly well as a film. If they did it again, it'd need to be SUBSTANTIALLY added-to, like, even more than the LOTR films. And even the LOTR films get criticized for how much "walking" they include.
 

cayman shen

Master Member
Neither the Lynch nor Sci-Fi channel versionlooks much like I envisioned it in my mind when I read the book about, say, a dozen times. But the Lynch is much, much closer. I agree with you Dan, it's probably not filmable without some painful alterations. Having said that, there are no shortage of wonderfully "cinematic" sequences in the book.
 

Vermithrax 4

Well-Known Member
I'm a big fan of Lynch's "Dune", even though I can certainly recognize it's weaknesses and see much room for improvement. I like the additional scenes in the Smithee version but on the whole I can't stand watching it. The re-done narration and those cheap paintings used to tell the back story just make me cringe.

What I personally would like to see is a Special Edition made with selected cut scenes reinserted and the use of CGI to add to and enhance key sequences, much like what was done with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". If done right such a version could really give Lynch's "Dune" renewed life and interest. CGI could be used to great effect to create a much more epic Harkonnen attack on House Atreides, the Fremen attacks on spice production and finally the ending battle. It could really be broadened to a much more impressive scale, in my opinion. Oh, and they desperately need to redub Alia's voice, I've always hated the one used, you can tell it's an adult trying to imitate a child's lisp.
 

Daemon324

Active Member
I've seen...three versions, basically.
Seen two myself. All I can think of them is 'the one with Patrick Stewart, and the one without.' Sadly, can't remember either that well, except that the one without I think had that stupid box. But the graphics were better. The one with Stewart, you could tell the era they made it in. I think the one without him is the scifi mini-series though.

Honestly, though, I've read the book several times, and I just...don't think that it's filmable. Not truly, anyway. No film version can ever encompass the depth, background info, etc. of the films, and I'm not sure that the actual material itself works particularly well as a film. If they did it again, it'd need to be SUBSTANTIALLY added-to, like, even more than the LOTR films. And even the LOTR films get criticized for how much "walking" they include.
Yeah, no film could possibly get everything from the book. Not happening anytime soon. Sometimes the "walking" can add to the passage of time, if done right.
 

terryr

Sr Member
In my mind, I've always seen the Ornithopters as beautiful birdlike things. I was very disappointed by any film version. What was that, a flying wedge of cheese!?
 

iycis

Sr Member
I feel nostalgic about the Lynch version because I watched it a lot as a kid. I didn't understand much about it back then but I still loved it. I think I still have my old VHS copy somewhere.
 

GotWookiee

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've always been a fan of the book and find stuff to like in both the Lynch film and the SFC mini-series.

The film gets off to a good start. It has an epic feel and a lot of energy. But there are a few bits of weirdness early on. The Baron Harkonnen is terrible; he comes off as an over the top Saturday morning cartoon character. The weirding modules are a bit, well, weird.
Then the Harkonnen invade Arrakeen and the film starts to fall apart. The explosions are over done in both major battles. It's hard to believe that anyone could still live there afterwards.
The film definitely turns into a Star Wars knock off. The Fremen vs. Harkonnen become a "good versus evil" battle. Paul becomes a bit too much like Luke Skywalker. The weirding modules are an obvious attempt create their own lightsabre that they can merchandise. The rock soundtrack, which was awesome in the first half of the film, goes too far in the second half (it's almost like watching a music video at times) and their version of Alia is simply laughable and cringe worthy. Patrick Stewart is barely in the movie at all.
And the less said about the inner monologues, the better.

The mini-series has it's own flaws. The budget is pretty low and it shows, the costumes are absurd at times, and some of the performances are awful.
But they had the right approach with the script. The mini-series format gives them enough time to develop all the characters and explore the story. There are no inner monologues; all of the book's themes, ideas, and important moments are externalized or translated into equivalent scenes.
Alec Newman is also an excellent Paul. The Lynch film really lacks the development of his character but the mini-series shows a Paul who starts out as a naive teenager and slowly transforms into a messiah.

With a bigger budget, a better director, and a stronger cast, the mini-series would make for an awesome film.

At one time Ridley Scott was going to direct Dune. I've always wondered what his take on it would have been. I enjoy pretty much of all of his films, and he certainly seems to have the experience to make it.

Legendary director David Lean was approached to direct Dune in the early 70's, but turned it down. That would have been an incredible film.

Apparently they are taking another stab at it.
 

Nexus6

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've read the book, & seen all the versions (I own the "steelbook" DVD), & I like the theatrical version the best. *shrugs*

That film had a visual style that I hadn't seen before; everything was so - - - grand. One aspect I didn't like was: every time a character thought to themselves, they were whispering. I can't ever remember one time where I was pondering something & every thought I had was in some kind of hushed tone.

I think my favorite thing in the movie was/is the design of the stillsuits. They actually LOOKED like they would work as advertised.
 

Lutso

Sr Member
I hated the Lynch film, absolutely despised it. I read the book when I was a teenager and hastily went to rent the video after finishing it. I really wanted to like that movie. I was excited for it. Ugh, what a nightmare.

The kicker for me is the thing with the sonic weapons that are activated by shouting, or singing or whatever. What a joke.

The costumes were horrid, the set design was laughable, and just gave a really bad "look" to the universe IMO.

The acting was okay but there wasn't much to work with in the script.

The action sequences and war scenes...I don't know what was going on there...pathetic.

The special effects were pretty darn bad. This is surprising considering the era it was made in, not to mention the budget.

The direction itself wasn't bad, it was the endless other things that made it so. Not Lynch's fault, as far as I'm concerned - I think he did a good job with what he was allowed to do.

The Sci-Fi version/s are an entirely opposite affair. Where the '84 film did away with staying true to the book and sort of did it's own thing, the Sci-Fi films stayed as close to the books as possible and they suffered because of that. Sort of a hard concept to grasp, but if you watch them back to back you will udnerstand what I mean. It just turned out boring, uninteresting, and wooden.

Some of the visuals were pretty, and certainly better than the previous version's, but it was obvious that it was a low-budget endeavor and overall just didn't satisfy.

I think in order for a good Dune film to be made there needs to be a good mix of many different aspects of film making. So far, it just hasn't been quite the right mix in any incarnation.

Paramount was trying to make a new Dune film for a few years, which only just recently got dropped officially. No skin off my nose, as I was unimpressed with their choice of directors for the project. But still I must admit I am a little dissapointed that it was given up. I desperately wish for a Dune film that is done right, and this would have been another opportunity for it to be a reality.

I should be careful what I wish for, though. There are people like Michael Bay out there who would make me eat my words.

I think a good parallel to draw for this project would be Peter Jackson's work for the LOTR. If that same treatment could be given to Dune, we might have a winner.

In my opinion this is the closest thing I have found to a good interpretation of the aesthetics of Dune:

 

Solo4114

Master Member
Neither the Lynch nor Sci-Fi channel versionlooks much like I envisioned it in my mind when I read the book about, say, a dozen times. But the Lynch is much, much closer. I agree with you Dan, it's probably not filmable without some painful alterations. Having said that, there are no shortage of wonderfully "cinematic" sequences in the book.
Oh, absolutely. The book, especially the first book, has some really "epic" moments that seem to scream "FILM ME!!" But they're only a part of the book, not the sum total, and the richness that the book has ends up lost most of the time because, well, you just don't have the time to get across all the appendices and sidenotes and opening chapter quotes and such, you don't have a glossary you can refer to whenever you please, etc.

Oh, and they desperately need to redub Alia's voice, I've always hated the one used, you can tell it's an adult trying to imitate a child's lisp.
I'm not so sure about that. I think it's actually Alicia Witt. If you've heard her speak as an adult, or even as a teenager (she appeared in one or two episodes of Twin Peaks), I could see where it was actually her voice.

Seen two myself. All I can think of them is 'the one with Patrick Stewart, and the one without.' Sadly, can't remember either that well, except that the one without I think had that stupid box. But the graphics were better. The one with Stewart, you could tell the era they made it in. I think the one without him is the scifi mini-series though.
Ok, we'll call it "two-and-a-half" versions. :) There's two versions with Patrick Stewart (well, actually, there are supposedly more, but there are two versions readily available on DVD). Those are the Lynch version and the "Smithee" version (which is still, as I said, all stuff Lynch filmed, but mostly cut but which was stuck back in). Then there's the Sci Fi version.

Yeah, no film could possibly get everything from the book. Not happening anytime soon. Sometimes the "walking" can add to the passage of time, if done right.
It can be done, yeah. Musical montage, etc. But it's not just the walking or the "And a bunch of stuff happened in between here and there." Dune is...dense. Layered. It has a ton of background stuff going on that never even directly gets addressed. That's why the "Smithee" version has the incredibly long opening painting sequence. And even THAT didn't cover everything. There's still tons of terminology that gets tossed around and, without the handy-dandy glossary and/or appendices from the book, the audience is in the dark.

Example: in the Lynch version, the Baron shouts out "The forms of Kanly have been obeyed!!" Um....great? What the hell are the "forms of Kanly"? Turns out, from the glossary, that "Kanly" basically means ritualistic vendetta...which only tells you that these two houses hate each other, and doesn't even touch on WHY they hate each other (none of the books that Frank Herbert wrote do, at least not directly, as I recall).

So, now with that one line we've introduced confusion about terms and confusion about what the hell is going on. Now take that moment and turn it up to 11. You can have as much exposition as you want, but eventually it slows the film down and people tune out. You can try explaining stuff through context, but so much stuff just doesn't come through.


Could it be done well? Sure. As you say, the LOTR films were done well and referenced plenty of the lore that Tolkein wrote as backstory. But in many ways, I think LOTR is more straightforward. The lore is really an afterthough. A nice-to-have-but-not-necessary aspect. With Dune, the lore is intrinsic to understanding (A) what everyone's talking about and (B) why everyone's talking about it. Why the hell is nobody just firing up teh intarwebz? Why are there no robots? Well, the Smithee version explains...but in a show-stopping manner (and I mean that in a bad way). How do you get that kind of information across to the viewer without either saying "Ok, pause for a sec. Here's what you need to know before we go any further" or MAJORLY changing the book to, for example, include a bunch of exposition scenes. You could stick Paul in more educational scenes, but after a while it'll ring false. Like, shouldn't he already know this stuff since he's living in this world? WE'RE the ones in the dark, not him.

I think it could still be made as an "entertaining" film, but it'd lose a LOT of the depth and richness that the novel has.

The mini-series has it's own flaws. The budget is pretty low and it shows, the costumes are absurd at times, and some of the performances are awful.
But they had the right approach with the script. The mini-series format gives them enough time to develop all the characters and explore the story. There are no inner monologues; all of the book's themes, ideas, and important moments are externalized or translated into equivalent scenes.
Alec Newman is also an excellent Paul. The Lynch film really lacks the development of his character but the mini-series shows a Paul who starts out as a naive teenager and slowly transforms into a messiah.
Not just a messiah, but a messiah deliberately manipulating the populace for his own ends (and then later believing his own hype). But yeah, I think the SciFi series did the best at adapting the source material in an organic way. Although, even it had some issues with that.

The one thing I will say is that "Children of Dune" (actually Dune Messiah and Children of Dune combined) was VERY impressive to me in the sense that they did about as good a job as I could see of actually translating some pretty wacky stuff and some VERY dense political material into a decent-enough miniseries. In some ways, I found it more impressive than the original miniseries.

And yeah, low budget, but again, once I recognized that it was basically a theatrical show, it gets WAY more impressive.
 

Clutch

Master Member
I'm a big fan of Lynch's "Dune", even though I can certainly recognize it's weaknesses and see much room for improvement. I like the additional scenes in the Smithee version but on the whole I can't stand watching it. The re-done narration and those cheap paintings used to tell the back story just make me cringe.

What I personally would like to see is a Special Edition made with selected cut scenes reinserted and the use of CGI to add to and enhance key sequences, much like what was done with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". If done right such a version could really give Lynch's "Dune" renewed life and interest. CGI could be used to great effect to create a much more epic Harkonnen attack on House Atreides, the Fremen attacks on spice production and finally the ending battle. It could really be broadened to a much more impressive scale, in my opinion. Oh, and they desperately need to redub Alia's voice, I've always hated the one used, you can tell it's an adult trying to imitate a child's lisp.
Someone has already enhanced scenes on youtube. It sounds like they dubbed in Aila's voice with an adult trying to sound like a kid. :lol
 
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