Mar 25, 2012

Book Review

Dune (1984)
Reviewed by Nimrah Nadeem

If handled right, a good novel can make a good film. However, a great novel almost never becomes a great movie, because the intricacies of the book can’t possibly be captured in such a limited screen time.
David Lynch’s movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s cult classic sci-fi novel faced pretty much the same problem, but it seems this movie just took it to a whole new level.
The movie doesn’t even come close to doing the book justice. On the contrary, it was riddled with gaping weaknesses in the plot and bland, one dimensional characters.

According to Robert Egbert, Dune was “a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time."
The protagonist is a young man, Paul Atriedes (Kyle McLachlan) of House Atriedes foretold as the “Kwisatz Haderach” who will lead the native Fremen of the titular desert planet Arrakis, or Dune to victory over the malevolent House Harkonnen. Riddled with dirty politics, intricate layers of meaning, and memorable, well developed characters, the book was a masterpiece. As winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, Frank Herbert’s Dune has a massive fan base, one that David Lynch’s weak movie adaptation has deeply disappointed.

At the time, Lynch was one of Hollywood’s most avant-garde directors, having directed masterpieces such as the famous ‘Elephant Man’ and ‘Eraserhead’. He was even on the directing shortlist for ‘Return of the Jedi’. Lynch was considered worthy of a massive undertaking, but after Dune, he even resorted to releasing certain versions of the movie under a pseudonym Alan Smithee. Well, Lynch, maybe it’s too little, too late.

On the whole, the film wasn’t completely horrendous. The visuals and special effects were considerably impressive, when you think about it in terms of a 1984 movie. The worms were almost spot on, and so were the Fremens’ “blue in blue” eyes. Even the music score by popular 1980’s band Toto was appreciated. Too bad they couldn’t save the movie.

Personally, I just hope David Lynch doesn’t read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and try taking it on. We don’t need any more sci fi movie adaptation disasters.


Post a Comment