Question about the Dune universe.....

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Question about the Dune universe.....

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Ago 2, 2012, 10:31am

I've only read through book 4 (God Emperor of Dune) of the original books. And that was years ago.

For no particular reason, just now I started wondering: if spice is necessary for interstellar travel, and spice only comes from the planet Arrakis, how did humans get to the planet Arrakis in the first place?

Am I mis-remembering that these humans are actually Earth-descendents? In other words, this isn't all taking place in some alternate universe where humans didn't originate on Earth, is it?

And I am remembering correctly that the reason spice is necessary for space travel is because it allows the navigators to fold space with their altered minds?

Ago 2, 2012, 10:38am

1) Don't know. Good question. Maybe it's only necessary to travel FTL. So they could send out generation ships/unmanned probes and wait decades/centuries. But then they brought some spice back and figured out its properties and one of their first stops was Arrakis. But it seems a bit weird because you'd think Arrakis would wind up being the first hub of an empire rather than the backwoods planet (my impression from foggy memories).

2) Yes, this is set in our future.

3) Yes.

Ago 2, 2012, 10:55am

^ Thanks!

When I re-read Dune as an adult, I remember being impressed with how much it was really about (to me, anyway) the "burden of prophecy" -- how it's a burden on the person(s) whom the prophecy is or may be about, a burden on those waiting for the prophecy to come true, and so on. It also emphasized how the prophecy in this case was manufactured.

But then when I read books 2-4, I was surprised at how much emphasis was placed on the Atriedes bloodline, how special was supposed to be -- as if bloodlines aren't hopelessly diluted over the years/decades/centuries. I still found it interesting, though.

Maybe it's time to go back, re-read 1-4, and then finally read the last few of the original books.

Have you read any of the Brian Herbert/Kevin Anderson books? I'm a little intrigued by the idea of the Machine Crusade, which is what I assume caused (retroactively or prospectively?) Leto's tight control of technology. But I'm not sure I'm willing to wade through so many thick books, when I suspect some of it might be or feel a little unnecessary.....

Ago 2, 2012, 11:04am

#3 by amysisson> Oh, all that stuff about how they got to Arrakis before they had spice is probably thoroughly explored in the BH/KJA abominations. But I don't want to know enough to read them. ;) My suggestion is to just read the summaries in wikipedia. The writing is probably better quality.

I haven't actually read past Children of Dune. In fact, I think I stopped a few chapters in. I've bought several of the sequels used in hopes of going back, though.

As for the Atriedes bloodline being special but being diluted, I know the Bene Gesserit were pretty strict on controlling bloodlines. I'm not sure if you're speaking of a period after their influence, though.

Ago 2, 2012, 11:08am

And I am remembering correctly that the reason spice is necessary for space travel is because it allows the navigators to fold space with their altered minds?

No, that was the film. In the book, the Spacers use spice because, even though they're not in the same league as the Kwisatz Haderach, even a limited ability to able to skim forward amongst possible futures makes space travel *much* easier and safer.

Ago 2, 2012, 11:11am

#5 by @mjfarmer> Ah, interesting. Which book(s) was that explained in?

Ago 2, 2012, 11:15am

^mjfarmer, That does sound familiar now that you mention it -- so, not so much folding space but avoiding the many hazards of space travel?

^brightcopy, I'm speaking of Leto II, who lives on a long time after the Bene Gesserit's power days.... but it's possible Leto II was influencing the bloodlines himself, since he seemed to be so obsessed about both the Atriedes line and Duncan's bloodline/clones.

Yeah, probably time for me to re-read.....

Ago 2, 2012, 11:20am

As I remember: Yes, it is our universe in a far future. There was an entire period when computers were allowed and very advanced; that might have allowed space travel. After the Butlerian Jihad (I think I have the name right), everything had to be human-based rather than powerful computers. That's the point at which guild navigators (and mentats) would have become necessary. But perhaps a real Dune expert can clarify this (or give some other, real, explanation).
As for why Dune wasn't the center of power from the start, history is filled with examples where the most important resources are in one place, which is exploited by the center of power somewhere else. And Herbert certainly had a sense of history; that's one of his strong points.

For what it's worth, I thought the first book was great, and then the next three went downhill (though God-Emperor has its moments). Then I liked the next three, which were more like the first. Shortly after that I stopped reading the series which was turning into one of those endless franchises. I've reread Dune several times, the next three once, and none of the rest.

Ago 2, 2012, 11:23am

#8 by rshart3> Isn't most of that first paragraph from the McDune books? I thought (the real) Herbert only hinted at things like the Butlerian Jihad.

Editado: Ago 2, 2012, 11:46am

brightcopy: Somewhere in the first book, if I recall correctly, when Paul realises the guild is desperately dependent on spice.

Ah, here: The Prophet

"they're searching for me, " Paul said. "Think of that! The finest Guild navigators, men who can quest ahead through time to find the safest course for the fastest Heighliners, all of them seeking me ... and unable to find me. How they tremble! They know I have their secret here!" Paul held out his cupped hand. "Without the spice they're blind!"

Ago 2, 2012, 11:35am

The 'next three' and 'last of the original books' are book # 4, 5, 6 from the series - ? Or are you guys talking about something else.

Ago 2, 2012, 11:42am

#11 by aqeeliz> I think rshart3's "next three" were books 2-4 on that list. The "original books" are books 1-6 on that list.

Editado: Ago 3, 2012, 1:04pm

In one of the "permutations" of Dune that came after Herbert didn't they find ancient robotically controlled space ships that were sent out on a mission to terraform planets in the far distant past? Mankind followed the ships but only long, long afterward, after they had essentially been forgotten - except for maybe Daniel.

It was given as the reason no alien sentient forms of life had been found because the the space ships chewed up everything in their terraforming. Or was that another book which bled over into Dune memory :-)

edited in a comma, still looks ragged

Ago 2, 2012, 10:33pm

Sorry for confusion. I was referring to publication date, so by "next three" I meant: Dune Messiah, Children of Dune, and God Emperor of Dune. By my second "next three" (!!) I meant Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse Dune -- I thought there were three, but looking him up I see only those two. I read them many years ago when they first came out, & I guess my memory was thrown off by the "trilogy syndrome" plus the other spin-offs.

I'm almost sure the Butlerian Jihad, the anti-computer AI upheaval, is mentioned in Dune itself, but haven't checked. Partly because I remember the term & idea so well, and Dune is the only book in the series that I'm that familiar with.

Ago 2, 2012, 11:37pm

Looks like it was mainly in the glossary, according to wikipedia:
Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt) — the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."
Herbert didn't really go into much detail in the first book. And he never did really nail it down even in the later ones.

Ago 3, 2012, 12:43am

So I'm starting to think it would take a year of my life to do a serious reading/study of all the Dune books..... I'm tempted in part because I'm fascinated by the Bene Gesserit, and I know one of the later F. Herbert books deals with them more, right?

On a new note, I didn't really like the David Lynch film, but found it enhanced my understanding of the book and vice versa. (That may be due in part to the fact that I first read Dune when I was too young to understand it, and the film helped clarify.)

I really liked the two Sci-Fi Channel mini-series. They weren't perfect, but at least they tried to convey the "burden of prophecy" idea a bit, instead of making it rain like magic at the end for no reason.

Ago 3, 2012, 1:09am

In refreshing myself on the details at wikipedia, I was reminded you can get lost down that rabbit hole quite easily.

I would avoid the McDune novels like the plague, though. Only read them if you have a very high tolerance for shoddy writing. I think the only reason they have such "high" ratings (avg around medium 3) is because a) they get graded on a curve because they're DUNE, and b) the people that hated them expunge them from their libraries and therefore are omitted from the ratings.

Editado: Ago 3, 2012, 8:21am


The discovery of melange is only mentioned in the original Dune books (Heretics i believe). If i remember correctly, B. Herbert goes into greater detail about its discovery in The Machine Crusade. The Zensunni Wanderers (ancestors of the Fremen) crashed on the planet and discovered melange using a stolen experimental ship that could fold space and travel faster-than-light.

Ago 3, 2012, 9:43am

#18 -- thanks!

Ago 5, 2012, 10:13pm

You've hit on one of my hobbyhorses; prepare for rant.

The Dune movies were all a serious disappointment; certainly not worthy of the book. The Paul character in the 1984 movie is a manikin, and they got confused by the baron's antigravity supports and had him bouncing around in the air like a Mary Poppins character. The TV version was better but still fell flat & far short of the book.
Oddly, the movie series which *really* represents the Dune universe, mentality, and atmosphere is the Star Wars series.

Ago 7, 2012, 7:40am

>20 rshart3:

I would argue that only episodes 1-3 of the Star Wars series represent any semblance of Dune in that they deal somewhat with political intrigue and conspiracy rather than episodes 4-6 which deal more with dark drama and action.

Ago 7, 2012, 10:31pm

Hi Goran: Don't you think that Dune deals with dark drama and action, too?
But you are right in the sense that different parts of the movie series echo different aspects of the Dune series.

Anyway, it's mostly an overall, gestalt feeling that the Star Wars movies are the true representative of the feeling & universe of the books. And I was so disappointed in the actual Dune filmings.

Ago 8, 2012, 7:41am

To be honest I don't see a lot of similarity between the Dune books and the Star Wars movies. I love the original Star Wars trilogy, but to me they are more entertainment, with good guys versus bad guys, while the Dune books are more deep and have a lot to say about ecology, religion, prophecy, etc.

Ago 8, 2012, 8:10am

>22 rshart3:

It certainly does, however one of the most significant premises in Dune is "wheels within wheels" more than epic space battles and drama although the landscape for Dune is arguably larger than Star Wars.

Editado: Ago 8, 2012, 8:13am

>23 amysisson:

Well, episodes 1-3 have a good deal to do with religion and prophecy and have a good bit of political intrigue. That's pretty much the extend of the similarities between Star Wars and Dune that I can see. Dune, of course, takes the religion and prophecy bits back to its underlying roots and shows these two forces are nothing but the end result of manipulative power groups preying on the masses to increase their own influence.

Ago 8, 2012, 1:51pm

>25 Goran: not to mention the oil, um, I mean "spice."

Ago 8, 2012, 4:16pm


To be honest I don't see a lot of similarity between the Dune books and the Star Wars movies.

Avoid prequels in both cases.

Ago 8, 2012, 9:35pm

Ago 8, 2012, 11:04pm

You're right, Dune (esp. the first book) has much more depth and much more to say on a number of issues. It was the feeling and sweep of it that I found similar, plus the setting.

Ago 9, 2012, 10:03am

>23 amysisson:

There's sand in various Star Wars movies, too...

>27 lorax:

Excellent :-)

Ago 13, 2012, 12:24pm

>23 amysisson:, 30: And sand gets everywhere....

Ago 18, 2012, 12:13pm

i.e., it's a gritty story

Ago 18, 2012, 9:17pm

^32 :-)

Ago 21, 2012, 10:25am

BTW, I'm reading Children of Dune now. It's very slow going but I think I'll survive this attempt. The last one petered out after a chapter or two.

And I ran across this. It pretty much guarantees I'll never watch the Dune (2000) miniseries...

Ago 21, 2012, 10:36am

^34 Some crazy costumes notwithstanding, I think you're missing out by not watching it.

Ago 21, 2012, 10:43am

I don't know if I can maintain the requisite suspension of disbelief when the Bene Gesserits are wearing the Sydney Opera House...

Ago 21, 2012, 2:15pm

36: What sort of outfits would be appropriate for an alien culture thousands of years in the future?

Ago 21, 2012, 2:30pm

Those outfits I can accept. I never expected to see those expressions on the faces of Bene Gesserits.

Ago 21, 2012, 2:52pm

38: I believe that is the scene where they first see Alia, at least that's the best I can figure out from the background.

Ago 21, 2012, 3:04pm

From now on, I am donating all my time to promoting Pussy Riot Awareness that I usually spend wondering about Dune and what exactly I should post about it.

Ago 21, 2012, 3:12pm

>39 StormRaven: The Abomination!

Editado: Ago 21, 2012, 3:46pm

#42 by brightcopy> #37 by StormRaven> 36: What sort of outfits would be appropriate for an alien culture thousands of years in the future?

I honestly don't know. But that's a bit of a moot point for the same reasons (almost) everyone is speaking English in the movie. It's not supposed to be an accurate prediction but a good look that speaks to the people who are watching it. In any case, I didn't expect it to be cowboy hats and dresses made out of curtains (maybe they were big Carol Burnett fans?) For all its flaws, Lynch's vision (or whoever did the costumes) for the BG was far more effective.

This looks like 80s Doctor Who. Which is extra funny, since Lynch's version is from 1984 and this from 2000...

Ago 21, 2012, 3:55pm

42: Personally, I thought the costumes from Lynch's version were terrible. I wasn't a huge fan of the costumes from the 2000 version, especially the sous chef Sardaukar, but they were at least better than Lynch's biker bar choices.

Ago 21, 2012, 4:00pm

FYI, I'm specifically speaking of the BGs above.

Ago 21, 2012, 4:05pm

Of course, some of it is the casting. Lynch's main BG cast actually looked fairly menacing. Those above look more like they were rounded up at the RenFest. I'm pretty sure at least 2 out of 3 of those were in the scifi club at my university.

Editado: Ago 21, 2012, 4:08pm

44: I wasn't much of a fan of the Lynch Bene Gesserit either.

Looking at this, I'm pretty sure that for all the flaws in costuming, the 2000 version did the Bene Gesserit better.

I'm looking at these women and I don't see menacing. I see nuns who can't even win an argument with a barber.

Ago 21, 2012, 4:11pm

^45 But Lynch's Fremen looked like pretty pale white actors with a little dirt smeared on their faces. The mini-series actually cast people who looked like they might actually live in a desert.

I do think Lynch's BG are pretty menacing looking. And the mini-series BG costumes were a little strange. But there are so many other great costumes in the mini-series. Overall I found the mini-series far more effective -- storytelling, costumes, actors, script (none of that "thoughts in their heads" garbage!).

Ago 21, 2012, 4:19pm

#46 by StormRaven> Yeah, we're just going to have to agree to disagree there, because my opinion looking at that picture is about as opposite of yours as could be.

Ago 22, 2012, 12:34pm

I also have a (sort of) problem with the Lynch Dune, and that's the Guild Navigator's travelling machine. I am always reminded of it when I see coin-operated automated public toilets around UK streets. That's not to say that I think of Guild Navigators travelling in public toilets, but I do worry about going into a public toilet and finding a Guild Navigator inside.

Ago 22, 2012, 12:42pm

I can understand, given the atmosphere that they would be in, how that could completely wreck your visit to the toilet, nay, your whole day!

Ago 22, 2012, 1:48pm

> 44

Where are all the good looking BG's who were supposed to be married off to dukes and baron's and such? Oy!

Ago 22, 2012, 2:05pm

51: That was my other thought. Bene Gesserit's aren't supposed to be "menacing". Powerful? Self-assured? Definitely. But the order carries on a breeding program that involves getting their members impregnated by the most powerful men in the Empire. If the typical Gesserit were somehow menacing this seems less than likely.

Ago 22, 2012, 3:44pm

#52 by StormRaven> I'm not sure how any of those other attributes apply to the SCA fangirls in the pic I posted, either...

Ago 22, 2012, 3:54pm

53: You did post a picture of them at their most discombobulated, which explains their lack of poise.

Ago 22, 2012, 3:58pm

Does it explain their surplus of ugly?

Ago 22, 2012, 4:05pm

55: At least they are more attractive than the trio from the Lynch picture.

Ago 22, 2012, 4:16pm

I don't know, I'm going to go with a tie there.

Note that Irulan and Jessica were ALSO in the Lynch movie, and both quite comely. The menacing BGs in the Lynch movie are the menacing BGs in the book. Typically the older "we don't need to be seductive because we can order you around with the tone of our voice" ones.

Ago 22, 2012, 4:22pm

57: All of the Bene Gesserit can order one about with the tone of their voice. Except that most of the members of the great houses are specially trained to resist, so that's not much use to them.




Ago 22, 2012, 4:26pm

Why are the Sardaukar wearing welder's masks and black raincoats? Why do they have guns?

Ago 22, 2012, 4:32pm

#58 by StormRaven> This discussion is becoming beyond bizarre:

Me: The BG reverend mother trio look silly instead of menacing.
You: I don't think the trio in the Lynch movie looked menacing, they looked silly.
Me: I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
You: The BG aren't supposed to be menacing, they're supposed to be attractive.
Me: I didn't find that trio from the miniseries to be attractive, either.
You: They're more attractive than the trio from the Lynch movie.
Me: I think it's a tie. Also, not all the BGs in the Lynch Dune were unattractive (e.g Jessica and Irulan). I don't think they have to be attractive when they move up high enough in the power structure and are older.
You: Jessica and Irulan were attractive in the minseries.

Where are we going with this? Is there some actual logical argument going on or are you just typing the first thing that pops into your mind each time I post something, completely without any kind of real linkage to the previous messages?

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 4:55pm

60: The point is that attractive women don't suddenly become unattractive when they age. The women you posted were neither attractive, nor menacing, nor did they look much like Bene Gesserit, and you can't explain their incongruity as Bene Gesserit away by saying "they were the old ones". They were part of the weird version that Lynch put together that made almost no sense at all. Everyone wore outfits that were rejected from some leather biker bar or badly done rip offs of Central European clothing from 1923. The entire movie looks awful.

Say what you want about the 2000 miniseries, but Lynch had 40 million 1981 dollars to work with, and the 2000 miniseries was made on half that budget of 20 million 2000 dollars and still manages to look better in almost every way than Lynch's movie.

But on the subject of women who can appear both menacing and attractive, here's Chani:

Ago 22, 2012, 4:55pm

Looks of the two aside, the script/storytelling is so much better in the mini-series. Who seriously thought that having characters "explain" things to the audience via their internal thoughts was a good idea?! It's incredibly clumsy and awkward storytelling.

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 4:57pm

The point is that attractive women don't suddenly become unattractive when they age.

Yeah, I think I'm just going to skip this discussion from now on. It just goes downhill from there. Clearly, you have strong opinions about the Lynch version having no redeemable features, the miniseries being the bees kness and don't really seem all too interested in the possibility that it's a completely subjective opinion. I'm sorry I said your sacred cow looked udderly ridiculous.

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 5:10pm

63: The 2000 mini-series has flaws, but the Lynch movie was a complete mess. For the time, the Lynch movie had a huge budget, and it ended up being an almost unwatchable parody of Dune. Dune cost $40 million. In comparison, The Empire Strikes Back, made only one year before, cost $33 million. The characters were hilariously miscast, the script was abysmal, the cinematography was awful, they altered the story wildly for no apparent reason, and the sets and costumes look silly. If Lynch's Dune had only had as good production values as The Empire Strikes Back it would have been leaps and bounds better.

Ago 22, 2012, 5:12pm

So I'm still a bit unclear here - did your like Lynch's Dune? I just want you to stop vacillating and take a stand.

Ago 22, 2012, 5:15pm

65: I did not. But at least my opinion about it is informed, as I have seen it (twice actually, in the theater and again as the extended "Alan Smithee" version). In contrast, your apparent opinion about the 2000 miniseries is completely uninformed, since you not only haven't seen it, but you dismissed it based upon a single still.

Ago 22, 2012, 5:19pm

#66 by StormRaven> Are you telling me you got your knickers all in a bunch because I made a joke about a picture I ran across on the internet?

Ago 22, 2012, 5:21pm

67: Knickers in a bunch? Here's what I said in response to your original post -

Personally, I thought the costumes from Lynch's version were terrible. I wasn't a huge fan of the costumes from the 2000 version, especially the sous chef Sardaukar, but they were at least better than Lynch's biker bar choices.

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 5:24pm

Oh, if only you could have stopped yourself with that comment. But it kept going and going...

Do you actually think I'm not going to see the miniseries ever ever because of that one picture? Really?

Ago 22, 2012, 5:39pm

69: you said it "pretty much guarantees" you never will. If you don't want people to think that, don't say it.

Editado: Ago 22, 2012, 5:54pm

Yeah, it's because I forget people don't catch sarcasm online. The internet is always serious business, all the time.

Ago 23, 2012, 2:52am

Please stop it.

Ago 23, 2012, 7:51am

Personally I thought both the Lynch movie and 2000 mini series were pretty entertaining. The Lynch movie was made to lean more towards an action packed sci fi adventure, where as I always though the 2000 series tried to be more dramatic and true to the books. In any case, they were both fun to watch.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:03am

The thing that the Lynch movie got right was the casting. One of the things that I find is most disappointing with books made into films is that the actors chosen to portray the characters are always so different than the descriptions of those characters in the books; let alone the picture that I formed in my mind's eye while reading the book. Best example is Jack Nicholson as McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. McMurphy was described as a very large, jovial, redheaded irishman. Jack Nicholson, say what you will, is most decidedly none of those things, and it ruined that film for me. In any event, for me, Lynch's casting was pitch perfect. Even to the wooden Kyle McLachan. (How do you portray Muad'dib? Kind of like Jesus, I guess.) Sting was an amazing choice for Feyd-Rautha.

That being said, I don't think that technology was really in a place to make either of those film efforts truly great. When did CGI get really good? And 3D and IMAX? Yeah, I want a sandworm in 3D and IMAX. That'll do it.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:41am

Actually I have the opposite view on casting in the Lynch version. To me the biggest difference between the two versions in casting is Sean Young versus Barbora Kodetová as Chani. I can't take Sean Young seriously as Chani at all.

I also loved Julie Cox as Irulan in the mini-series.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:43am

#74 by vwinsloe> Then again, sometimes replacing a redheaded irishman with someone completely different can be a wonderful thing - see Morgan Freeman in The Shawhank Redemption! :D

Ago 23, 2012, 9:45am

^76, I immediately thought of Morgan Freeman in Shawshank as well. I might have felt differently if I'd read the novella (short story) upon which the movie is based, but as it is I find it hard to imagine anyone other than MF in that part. I love that movie.

Editado: Ago 23, 2012, 1:20pm

>76 brightcopy: & 77, I didn't read The Shawshank Redemption, so the example doesn't work for me. But I can tell you another film in which the casting disappointed me. Lord of the Rings. I mean, I expected worse--you learn to expect the worst of any film based on a book that you really love. But Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn/Strider. Really? Great actor, but basically a little weasely guy. Now Hugh Jackman I could buy. Definitely. But Viggo Mortensen? Ugh, no way.

I am trying to think of another instance, like Lynch's Dune, where the casting really worked for me, but I'm not coming up with anything.

Editado: Ago 23, 2012, 11:34am

75: I agree with you, Young was a terrible choice for Chani. I thought most of the other choices in the Lynch movie were laughably bad too. Sting as Feyd was silly - a choice that had pretty obviously been almost solely driven almost entirely by his then current popularity. McLachan was a piece of wood as Paul.

I like Max von Sydow, Jurgen Prochnow, and Dean Stockwell, but they were just the wrong choices to play Kynes, Leto, and Yueh. I don't think either the Lynch movie or the mini-series cast Halleck or Hawatt well, but both did a reasonably good job with de Vries. The other casting choices for the Lynch movie were indifferent at best. And why did all the Fremen look like the overflow cast extras from Das Boot?

Ago 23, 2012, 11:24am

I was really disappointed when they replaced the mini-series Stilgar for the Dune Messiah/"Children of Dune" mini-series, because I thought he fit the part really well. Every time I saw the new actor in "Children of Dune" I had to keep reminding myself who he was supposed to be.

I thought Susan Sarandon was a terrible casting choice for "Children of Dune" -- and not just because they clearly ended up green-screening her in with some of the other actors towards the end. I assume that was due to scheduling issues (although it could be due to re-shoots, I suppose).

Ago 23, 2012, 11:37am

80: Yeah, she was too old for the part, and Sarandon doesn't play any role but Sarandon.

Ago 23, 2012, 6:59pm

> 62; the Lynch film's characters doing mental asides to the audience was an attempt to accurately repeat some of the features of the book. I admired it for trying that. On the whole, I liked the Lynch film, if only because it had been promised for so long, though I never thought his Fremen to be sufficiently Arabic, and someone had completely misinterpreted the concept of "the weirding way".. And there are sections of the "Alan Smithee" version that need restoring to the full print. But I never grasped the idea of the Emperor engaging in the final battle by playing on a very large and tastelessly ornate PlayStation.

All in all, I felt the Lynch film to be a trailer for the Dune film that we are still waiting for.

The miniseries has its strengths, too. For me, one of them was the British actor P.H. Moriarty playing Gurney Halleck. Moriarty had a number of cameo roles in various British films, not least the iconic London gangster move 'The Long Good Friday", where he played the head honcho's sidekick, Razors. IMDB biog here:, though the word on the street is that he played East End heavies so convincingly because he'd been one... I couldn't possibly comment.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:20pm

>78 vwinsloe:

I could never see Jackman as Aragorn. He doesn't have the depth to portray a character with such gravity. He might have made a good Boromir though.

Ago 23, 2012, 9:22pm

>82 RobertDay:

No one can beat Captain Picard as Gurney Halleck!

Ago 23, 2012, 9:32pm

Thoughts about Dune:

Yep, the movies never conveyed the evil of the Sardaukar. I liked the phrase "Release the Sardaukar!" , because they never had to be ordered to attack and bring chaos - just released. Every time I see kindergartners or very young go for a break at school on a playground I think of that phrase. All discipline breaks at the plane of the door. ;-)

I thought Sting was great as Feyd, he seemed ecstatically, innocently evil - assured it was the proper norm.

Lynch's Dune was indecipherable to anyone who hadn't read Dune. I liked his and the other version of Dune with the latter by comparison being full of "wooden" characters to me {like Sinclair, the commander of Babylon 5 during the series first season}. Both treatments could and should be outdone I think. I didn't realize Lynch's budget was that huge, a lot of money pissed away.

Yeah the, BG sisters could have been a lot more seductive in appearance, it is hard to convey a hypnotic charm to the audience unless you are Dracula in a cape I guess.

Ago 24, 2012, 11:54am

>84 Goran:: The trouble with Pat Stewart as Gurney Halleck, excellent though he was, is that so much of him ended up on the cutting room floor (or in the "Alan Smithee" version)...

Ago 24, 2012, 12:00pm

#82 by RobertDay> the Lynch film's characters doing mental asides to the audience was an attempt to accurately repeat some of the features of the book. I admired it for trying that.

Yeah, that was my feeling as well. It didn't really work in the medium of film, but I can see where it came from (though I believe it was actually at the urging of Dino DeLaurentis, not Lynch). In the Dune books, there's always far more going on in the characters heads than anyone could see just watching the events from a third person perspective. They'll say one thing but be thinking something completely different that is far more important than what they actually said.

I think it's just one of those things that make a movie "unfilmable" if you're trying to stay true to the source material. Much like just about anything written by Vonnegut or Stephen King. That doesn't mean they won't try, of course. And there's even been King movies produced, but it's generally because they unsentimentally gutted the original and reformed it into a story fit for film.

I always find it bizarre when people criticize elements that weren't in the book simply because they were in the book. I understand if it wasn't in the book and it was dumb. But often it's more circular reasoning of it being dumb because it didn't fit, and it didn't fit because the person talking has a strong mental framework for the story that is totally based on their love of the book.

Editado: Ago 24, 2012, 12:06pm

It should also be repeated that the over four hour Lynch rough cut was intended to be cut to three hours. But the producers forced it to be slashed in half to produce a two hour one, with new scenes filmed to fit the neutering and voice-overs added. There is no "director's cut", either. There's longer cuts that people have spliced together out of the rest of the rough cut and other footage. Lynch never had a hand in any of these.

I wonder how many people are familiar with the story of Gilliam's Brazil and it's forced short-cut. I also wonder if the director's cut never came out later how many people would be talking about how stupid Gilliam was because of how the story was butchered to make the short version.

Ago 24, 2012, 12:33pm

^37, I agree about most Stephen King adaptations, but "The Shawshank Redemption" was turned into a glorious film. Although I haven't read the source material, and maybe people who did read it don't like the adaptation or feel it wasn't faithful?

I agree that there is always a lot going on in characters' heads, but I have to reiterate that I think having the thoughts spoken "aloud" to the audience was a clumsy and unfortunately lazy way to try and convey all that rich material. Some things probably are unfilmable, but to me the mini-series was able to convey much of the same complex information that the Lynch version stuck into the characters' internal thoughts, thus proving that it could be done via thoughtful scriptwriting.

^38, fair point on cutting it to two hours. No way can Dune be told in two hours of film. Another plus for the mini-series: I'm thinking it was about five hours if you cut out commercials from the original six hours of airtime?

Ago 24, 2012, 12:47pm

89: The mini-series was 265 minutes (4 hours and 25 minutes) in its television cut. The director's cut lengthened it to 4 hours and 55 minutes.

Ago 24, 2012, 1:02pm

> 88

As a huge Brazil fan, I've seen all three versions. Are you confusing the original theatrical release with the butchered-for-television version? The director's cut only added about 8 minutes as I recall, and while I thought they were effective, the movie wasn't broken without them.

Ago 24, 2012, 1:44pm

#89 by amysisson> I agree about most Stephen King adaptations, but "The Shawshank Redemption" was turned into a glorious film. Although I haven't read the source material, and maybe people who did read it don't like the adaptation or feel it wasn't faithful?

It was a great film (one of my favorites), but it diverged from the novella pretty significantly. Not as much as The Shining did from it's source material, though. And no, I didn't hear many people complaining about it being unfaithful, but that's because so few people had probably read the novella. I hadn't, and I'd read a good portion of King's works. Part of the reason is that it was a novella generally only published in a collection of four novella. Oddly enough, two of the others were The Body (the basis for Stand by Me) and Apt Pupil (another major film). I keep waiting for them to make one out of the fourth story (The Breathing Method).

Anyway, I thought the novella was good. But just that. Not great. Not anything near the movie.

This also illustrates how it's easier to take a short story or novella and flesh it out into a movie rather than to take a novel or even a series and try to cut it down and reinterpret it. The latter tends to get much more ire from fans.

#91 by paradoxosalpha> Sorry, I muddled some of the details because it's been a while. The sequence was that Gilliam's original cut was released internationally (by Fox), but Universal (the distributor for the US) didn't like it and especially the ending so Sid Sheinberg made his terrible edit that was intended to be the American theatrical release version (it wasn't just for tv). It was only after the stalemate and Gilliam's guerilla warfare that he managed to pull off the impossible and get his cut re-instated as the US theatrical release.

(I'm sure you're probably already familiar with all that but I recap for everyone else.)

I think 90% of a movie is in the editing, and the Brazil situation really sets a good example of it. I don't think Lynch's Dune (as opposed to Alan Smithee's Dune) would have ever been a great movie. But I have to wonder how the situation might have paralleled Brazil. Typically when the studio people start telling you how to cut the film, no good can come of it. There's a reason they buy and sell films instead of creating them.

Ago 24, 2012, 3:15pm

>86 RobertDay:

Meh. Frankly, I thought Stewart version of Halleck was much more refined than the character actually is. Other than the music I always thought of him as a guy rough around the edges.

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