19 December 2012

Dune (1984) (Theatrical Version)

          Essential plot rundown:  Young Paul Atreides must lead a planet's locals in revolt against their unjust rulers.  I recently finished reading Frank Herbert's Dune (which was a really good book, by the way) so I had to check out the movie, which I hadn't seen in a long time.

          And I would have to say that this was not a very good adaptation.  They try to jam way too much of the book into this 2 and a half hour film.  The whole thing feels very rushed.  It jumps from event to event, with no buildup or transitions.  And there is no character development at all; the film is too busy plowing through the events of the story to flesh out characters.  In fact, there are several characters that are only in one or two scenes and then never seen again; they could have easily been cut without changing the story.  The only reason they are in the movie is because they are in the book.

          The filmmakers also use a lot of voice overs, whether someone's thoughts or a narrator.  These are generally used just to explain things to the audience.  Because there is a lot going on in the book that needs to be crammed in here, I figure they thought voice overs would be the best way to keep the audience up to date.  It is a little weird hearing people's thoughts all the time.

          The SFX are also bad.  All of the compositing looks horrendous; it is completely obvious that there are two different images combined into one.  And the CGI is atrocious.  There are a few scenes wear people use a personal force field, and it looks ridiculous.  They literally look like block people.  But you don't have to take my word for it...

          But, while the FX department didn't do a good job, I give props to the art department.  The costumes and sets looked cool.  Overall, the film had an authentic, interesting look to it.  Also, the Lady Jessica, played by Francesca Annis, was attractive.  Even when she was all decked out in her weird Reverend Mother garb, she was beautiful.

And the music was pretty epic.

          There were also some changes made from the book that were a little odd.  The guy must milk a cat to survive?  When somebody uses the 'voice', they sound like demons?  The weirding way is now a glorified megaphone?  (Though, in the movie's defense, that was pretty cool to watch).

          Overall, I'd say check it out because it is kind of a classic; but don't get your hopes too high.  Too many things happen in not enough time; the acting is not too good (have I mentioned that yet?); the FX are not the best.  But, it is still worth watching.

     But that's just my opinion...

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