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The two Dunes


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What do folks think of the two Dune movies? I am quite a sci fi buff (novels), and I consider Dune the greatest single sci fi novel ever, by a wide margin. (though I'd place Azimov's 20+ related novels first for a 'future history' category).

 

Anyway, there's the theatre film, the director's cut of the same, and the SciFi Channel TV movie. I hated the original, since it totally destroyed the glory of the novel. The director's cut was much better, and although still failing to convey the scope of the novel, it was comprensive enough to thoroughly enjoy the casting, which seemed *perfect*. Paul, his father, his mother, and his 'mistress', along with his 'sister', were superb, and I can't imagine better actors for those roles.

 

The SciFi version was, not unexpectely, disappointing, but it did have the redeeming grace of covering the whole novel very well. Let's face it.. you can't make a good movie of Dune in less than at least 4 hours. But the cast and the production quality both left a *lot* to be desired. If only someone could take the director's cut, and lengthen it to be as comprehsive as the SFC version!

 

What do others think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actually in my opinion, when Sci-fi becomes overly long it becomes another genre; fantasy. Examples being The "Lord of the Rings" stuff, Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" or Joe Haldeman's future wars series. As I see it the BEST Sci-fi movies were made from short stories "The Day the Earth Stood Still" And "2001", Novellas like "Who Goes There?"(i.e. "The Thing"), or at most, short novels like "The Andromeda Strain" or "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Good Sci-fi addresses a few points or asks a few questions; when you create a whole nuther world you have "fantasy" which stands or falls on it's OWN merits. Just my thoughts...

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Have to disagree, Sloppy... to my mind, it's SF when the plot is not inconsistent with known science, fantasy when it is. By that definition, Dune, Asimov's 20-odd connected novels of future history, etc., are SF (as is, for that matter, Jane Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear), but Tolkien, etc. are not. I don't see what length has to do with the definition as it is generally accepted. (Though whether Auel fits in the 'generally accepted' definition is arguable; just my gut feeling on that.)

 

As for what makes the best movies, that's another question of course. It's certainly easier to make a normal-length potentially good SF movie from a short story, since a full-length well-conceived SF novel typically requires 'epic' treatment to convert to cinema properly. Which is also true of fantasy, though I'm not sure if it applies to all novels. But the richer the novel, of any type, the harder it is to make a good movie of it without making the movie very long, or so I'd guess.

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  • 1 year later...

No one can honestly put down the original book Dune, or for that matter any long sci-fi epics like "Stanger in a Strange Land", or "the Foundation Series", nor can any thinking person possibly confuse what is real Sci-fi and what is fantasy! The two genre, as much as modern authors attempt to mix them together in their quest to cash in on what Walden books will display on their two shelves, are as different from each other as romance and mystery! And any moderatly well-versed literary fan can easily distinguish between the two! So I won't bore anyone with definitions here, but will simply say that I always pass quickly by any paperback that has a picture containing oranically-based wings of any kind, swords of any length, or women in any state of near undress! Now with that said....

The reason short stories, and more-so those more fantasy based then of hard sci-fi quality succeed better in the theaters is simply because of the general intelligence, knowledge, and experiances of the average movie goer! Fantasy story-telling will always be favored by this audience because it's closer to the repressed, uncultured, uneducated, cartoon world they have experianced and thus will always benefit from investment and the hard work necessary to pull something like Peter Jackson's triad off the right way. But could you imagine a well written and planned out version of the "Foundation Trilogy" getting done at what would now cost nearly twice as much? The nearest thing we've seen has been "the Matrix" series, and that only happened because the Whychowski Brothers, ( not spelled correctly i'm sure! ), came up with something really novel, enlisting brand new techniques, and had the pre-convinced the right investors and other support people long before looking for a Studio! It's the same reason there are more wolfman movies lying about in cans then there are good hard sci-fil movies of any name! Confidentially, it's why some bozo's actually think Ed Wood was a genius!

Anyway about which of the two Dune movies are best, I again submit that there can be only one...choice, and that one is of course, the first one! I'll grant you that most of the special effects were pretty bad and about what we've come to expect from that particular director and studio, and I'll also even grant that the screen play fell far short of what it could and should have been! But one thing that move DID have, and have in quantity, was Flavor! It smelled like dune, felt like Dune, and looked like /dune! and the acting was perfectly matched to the style and attitudes given the characters in the novel! It's genius wasn't in the production, but just like in the "Starship Trooper's" movie, in the way the directory was able to bring forth the essence of the characters involved in the story! Dune's quietly repressed social bearing that laid so heavy on it's characters, and the epitome of human beingness that Heinlien brought to all his characters are both studies that are most difficult to bring across on screen, especially in today's atmosphere of redundant lyricism, rap, and eubonics! The Sci-fil channel's rendition played just like everything else they've ever done....boring! All the substance, but no Fire! About the ONLY thing they seem to be able to do is produce movies that have something to do with prisoners escaping from some where for some reason and in some way that gives it the sci-fi classification. Personally i think they should have their own classification but...!

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  • 9 months later...

I am not too familiar with Dune having never read the books. I have seen the original movie but can't remember if it was the original release version or the directors cut. I have read somewhere that back in the 1970's Alejandro Jodorowsky was planning on filming Dune with Pink Floyd composing the music and Salvador Dali as a superegotistical character. However the funding fell through and a few years later David Lynch got the go ahead to film it and that's what we have today.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think now there are 3 Dune movies, I could be wrong. My favorite was the one that was originally a TV mini series with William Hurt. I had the 4 1/2 hour VHS but my machine ate it a few years ago. I saw the version with Sting, it was alright. I never read the book, started a few times but never got into it till I saw this version.

The sci-fi channel payed it a couple times but like Speilberg's Taken it was all chopped up with commercials and animations in the corners, drives me crazy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

As far as I am aware..there are only 3 versions of 'Dune'. The first was the Lynch theatrical film. The second was the tv broadcast version on selected stations of what many called a 'directors cut' but was done without Lynch's input and was a lengthened cut that added a lot of material cut from the theatrical version along with some horribly crude paintings.

The third was the scifi channel miniseries.

I read Dune. I liked the Lynch version. But I thought the miniseries was best actually.

 

And of course there was a sequel to it that was more or less made up of the following two books. It was called 'Children of Dune'.

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> what many called a 'directors cut' but was done without Lynch's input and

> was a lengthened cut that added a lot of material cut from the theatrical

> version along with some horribly crude paintings.

 

Lynch hated the extended television version so much, he insisted the director credit be changed to Alan Smithee (that's a generic director credit for disowned movies). For the writer's credit -- and I think also for his small acting role-- he used the name Judas Booth. It's an amalgam of Judas Iscariot (betrayer) and John Wilkes Booth (assassin).

 

DavidE

http://www.classicfilmpreview.com

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