Dune (1984)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Space Adventure  |   Run Time - 140 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Keith Phipps

The longtime plans to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune for the big screen reached warp drive after the runaway success of Star Wars. One version was to have been directed by cult-favorite Alejandro Jodorowsky, which almost surely would have resulted in a film as incomprehensible as it was interesting. Both those terms apply equally to the version of the oft-delayed project that eventually emerged under the direction of David Lynch. Sprawling and visually impressive, Lynch's Dune pleased neither Herbert fans nor neophytes: when a film's opening narration makes little sense, you know you're in trouble. Nonetheless, it's a pleasure to watch a director of Lynch's boundless imagination take advantage of an outsized budget. The ideas come fast and furious, and if the film proves tough to follow, it seldom proves tough to watch, making its lack of discernible substance or depth all the more regrettable. With so much superficial action, would it be asking too much for a little subtext? By the time the entire cast turns up with glowing eyes and gleeful expressions, it's hard to see Dune as anything but an elaborate joke that at some point got terribly out of hand.