Dune (film)

Dune
Name: Dune
Premiered in: 1984
Production Team:
Director/Writer: David Lynch
Producer: Dino De Laurentiis
Music: Toto
Cinematography: Freddie Francis
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Budget: $45,000,000 (estimated)
Cast (as credited) :
Francessa Annis as Jessica
Leonardo Cimino as The Baron's Doctor
Brad Dourif as Piter De Vries
Jose Ferrer as Shaddam IV
Linda Hunt as the Shadout Mapes
Freddie Jones as Thufir Hawat
Richard Jordan as Duncan Idaho
Kyle Maclachlan as Paul Atreides
Virginia Madsen as Irulan Corrino
Silvana Mangano as Ramallo
Everett McGill as Stilgar
Kenneth McMillan as Vladimir Harkonnen
Jack Nance as Iakin Nefud
Siân Phillips as Gaius Helen Mohiam
Jürgen Prochnow as Leto Atreides
Paul L. Smith as Glossu Rabban Harkonnen
Patrick Stewart as Gurney Halleck
Sting as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen
Dean Stockwell as Wellington Yueh
Max von Sydow as Liet-Kynes
Alicia Witt as Alia Atreides
Sean Young as Chani
Honorato Magaloni as Otheym
Judd Omen as Jamis
Molly Wryn as Harah
Trailer:
Alternative Trailer (with music):
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"A place beyond your dreams. A movie beyond your imagination."
-
film tagline.

Summarising Information

Baron Floating
Kenneth McMillan in his role as the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.
Written and directed by Academy Award Winner David Lynch, Dune is a 1984Science Fiction film, based on the book by Frank Herbert, and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film featured an acclaimed and well known cast, with two actors being Oscar winners. It featured several superb sets and a menagerie of special features, but due to the major departures from the book, as well numerous poor reviews criticising its acting, plot and so on, was considered a flop. David Lynch distanced himself from the film after its failed release, claiming that he had been under too much pressure, and was unable to get the results he wanted for his idea of the film. Despite its poor reception, the film has become a cult classic among film lovers, and several versions have been made for release on DVD and VHS across the world.

Plot

See relevant article: Dune
With the exception of a few differences (listed below) the Dune film's plot is the same as that of its novel incarnation.

Plot Differences

Despite being mostly accurate to the novel, Dune features several major plot differences, as well as dozens of minor ones.
  • During one of the opening scenes, we see Shaddam Corrino speaking to a Guild Navigator, who, unlike the book, which never even featured this scene, seems to be superior to him, and tells him what to do.
  • The planet Dune is referred to as Arrakis, Dune, and "desert planet". The third of these is never mentioned.
  • The Atreides family have a pet pug. This too is never mentioned.
  • Harkonnens appear to be fitted with monstrous devices called heart-plugs, which make it easy for them to be killed if the plug is removed. In the book, this is not so, as heart plugs are used as filters.
  • When Jessica and Paul are captured and sent to die in the desert, they not only overpower their captors, as they do in the book, but take control of the ornithopter they are flying.
  • In the book, Paul's "weirding way", which he teaches to the Fremen, allows him to move with great stealth and agility. In the film, Paul uses a "weirding module", which harnesses the power of his words to cause devastating effect. The reason the modules were used was to prevent the film becoming a "kung-fu" style adventure.
  • When Jessica takes the Water of Life, information about her experiences is omitted.
  • In the book, Alia kills the Baron by poisoning him with a Gom Jabbar, whereas the film shows her pulling out his life support tubes and causing him to be eaten by a sandworm.
  • At the end of the film, Paul uses his powers to make rain fall on Arrakis. In the book, it took years of terraforming for this process to be completed, and even if it didn't, it is later explained in the books that sandworms die if exposed to water, which would mean an end to the spice trade.

Visual Effects

Guild Navigator Makeup
The third stage Guild Navigator is given its "makeup".
Dune used a wide array of special effects to interpret the book. The first of these seen is theGuild Navigator, Oberon (though this name is not mentioned) who arrives in a huge tank; a complex puppet in gas. To maintain this puppet, a team of puppeteers worked in before filming, adding minor touches. Carlo Rambaldi and Luigi Rochette worked to give the navigator its fleshy look. In the film, the Navigator was described as "third stage". This presumably means that it has reached it's third stage of mutation. A second stage Navigator was originally planned to be put into the film, but was cancelled because of time issues.The costumes for the Guild Navigator body guard contingent was designed by Bob Ringwood. A second, smaller version of the Guild Navigator puppet was created for the heighliner scene. Another famous effect in the film was that of the sandworms. These were also puppets, around two to three feet in scale, controlled by puppeteers from off-camera. They were pulled around on buried tracks.
Perhaps the most famous effect in the film however, was Kenneth McMillan's fatsuit and floating equipment. In order to portray an unhealthy, morbidly obese man, who floats, Kenneth was first dressed in a rubbery fatsuit, and hung from several suspension wires. The suit was silicone filled to give a believable impression of fat.
Then neck fat had to be added, as well as facial boils and bad skin. Once ready, Kenneth was tied to the overhead tracking grid, which moved him through the air. This grid, regardless of how elaborate it was, would not do for the final Baron scene, in which he spins out of control into the jaws of a worm. For this, a tumbling mechanism and a blue screen were required. The entire process of makeup, rigging, and getting into the suit, took around four to five hours. Apart from these things, Dune used manylesser effects, such as the ornithopters, spice harvesters, shield generators, lasgun blasts, and, of course, the ships. All visual props had to be designed and made, and most props, such as the Harkonnen ships, were small scale, or filmed against blue screens.

Cult Appeal and Viewing Today

Dune Extended Edition
Dune: Extended Edition DVD.
Though considered a flop and a travesty by both critics and Dune fans alike, Dune is no less popular today than it was during release, especially among those who have never read the books. Several versions, including an extended edition, are available to date, and the small amount of merchandise the film produced is considered by many to be highly collectible. Among this is the renowned action figure series. David Lynch was asked several times to make a director's cut edition of the film, thereby correcting the mistakes which he claims the studio pressured him into making, but has refused.

Problems with Pre-Production

For many years before Dune's release, people had eagerly awaited a Dune film. However, the scope and grand implications of the book meant that only a truly successful film could accurately portray it. The process of creating the final film was long and arduous, being handed to several directors before any filming began. The production first began in 1971, when APJ took the rights for the film. The process of film creation was delayed for a year as Arthur P. Jacobs, the company owner, had to finish several ongoing films, such as the up and coming Planet of the Apes. Dune was scheduled to be shot in 1974, but in 1973, Arthur P. Jacobs passed away, leaving the project orphaned. The rights to the film were purchased a year later by Jean-Paul Gibon, a French film consortium owner. Alejandro Jodorowsky, the highly skilled writer/director/mime/composer/psychotherapist/comic book writer, would direct the film. Several years of planning followed, but the final result appeared too ridiculous to even consider, as it would be a fourteen hour feature film, with Salvador Dali portraying the Emperor (for the nominal fee of $100,000 an hour) and Pink Floyd providing the music. The project was cancelled, but not before two million dollars had been wasted on pre-production funds. Finally, the film rights were sold to Dino de Laurentiis, who, after seeing The Elephant Man, decided that David Lynch should direct in 1981. David agreed, turning down other directing opportunities such as Return of the Jedi. Three more years passed, and David wrote six different scripts for the film. Filming began at last in 1983, and the film was released by 1984, but to a slighty different reception than expected.

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