Watch: A spicy side-by-side of Dune (1984) and Dune (2021)

Originally published at: Watch: A spicy side-by-side of Dune (1984) and Dune (2021) | Boing Boing


But the reason I’m looking forward to the new Dune is to not have to see 1984 Dune.


I know Lynch’s version is reviled among some, but I don’t think Dune would still be in the popular consciousness if they never made the movie. I think it would probably be up there with stranger in a strange world or the mote in God’s eye; probably still revered among the scifi crowd but nowhere near its profile today. By analogy, I remember in the 80s-90s, basically me and 3 other nerds in my class were the only ones who even knew about Tolkien, and we forget how much the movies did to mainstream it.


Totally agree. I would never have read the books (which I love and have re-read multiple times) had I not seen some of the striking imagery from the Lynch film.

In particular his imagining of the Bene Gesserit, the worms, and the Harkonnens were, I thought, both true to the books and also really compelling and unique.


I agree 100%

And the various extended cuts make it not a bad movie at all. I can see where the normie crowd were all “WTF is going ON here” and the book readers having the same reaction (but for different reasons).


There were 12 million copies of the book sold, so it’s not like it’s an obscure story. Similarly, Tolkien had millions of fans before any of the movies happened. Would the recent Captain America be any more or less successful without the 1944 or 1979 movies?


Also; maybe if it had been an enjoyable but workmanlike movie, like say, The Last Starfighter, or Wargames, it might have sunk into obscurity, rather than becoming something of a classic, albeit a notorious one.


For all its flaws as a narrative film David Lynch’s Dune was actually pretty darn faithful to the source material compared to most big-screen sci-fi adaptations.

Lynch made a few tweaks to the story as written in the original novel, sure—but not nearly so many as Blade Runner or Starship Troopers or War of the Worlds or Frankenstein.

If anything the film’s weaknesses were an object lesson in how things that work well on the page don’t always translate well to the screen. (Still pretty though.)


My parents tried to get me to read Dune for years, and I just couldn’t get into it until the Lynch movie came out. Now it’s one of my favorite books that I regularly re-read. I think the Lynch film get’s a bad rap - though I admit, I don’t re-watch the film, and it’s become one with the book in my brain, so I couldn’t tell you why I liked it so well. (I recently tried to re-read the subsequent books, and that was a hard nope.)


If I understand correctly, you’re making an equitability comparison between a superhero for the masses and a massive cult favorite science fiction novel?


Yes. Before Star Wars, and for decades after, science fiction and fantasy were largely considered low brow dreck that had to be heavily rewritten, as no one cares what the cult of science fiction/fantasy people wanted in a grown up movie. Similarly, before Spiderman and Marvel, comics were similarly thought to be low brow kid stuff that wouldn’t appeal to grownups. Similarly, Shakespeare was for the masses, but over the centuries is now considered highbrow stuff. If you don’t see comparisons, you’re not looking.


I was a teenager when Dune (1984) was released. It had enough pop culture tie-ins (i.e. Sting) and special effect eye-candy (e.g. blue on blue eyes) that some friends and I purchased tickets to see it having not yet read the book(s). After watching the film, the story was compelling (and confusing) enough that it warranted a read. Not sure if I would have read it as soon (or at all) had it not been made into a film. I was well versed in Tolkien and even Isaac Asimov, but Dune wasn’t yet on the radar.

If there was a major fault of Lynch’s Dune I think it was trying to cram the entire book into one film and still stay mostly true to the book. There is a lot of content with multiple storylines and that’s hard to portray in a limited amount of run time. That and it was clear that Lynch had a few scenes he really wanted to visualize (e.g. Guild Navigators) that were clearly shoehorned into the script.


I remember watching the movie and it was hard to follow. Then I read the books and the story came alive with all the wonderful imagery from the movie playing out in my mind. The movies are good iff you already know the story. If you haven’t read the book you’ll have no idea what’s going on but it’s intriguing and you can tell it’s big.

That movie was in every video store for decades and everyone who liked renting got around to it eventually or got sucked by the amazing visuals when it would be playing on cable somewhere. Many of those people no doubt saw the book somewhere and got curious enough to pick it up and get sucked in.


Were they now? I’ve always read comics and I have absolutely no interest in Spiderman or Marvel (or superman or whatever) at all.

I don’t think they are driving the medium into mature, adult areas.


I had the opposite experience, I had read Dune and several of the sequels, and was hoping the movie would be as good. It felt rushed and referenced features of the book but didn’t really capture it, so felt it was a let down.


That’s ok, but they are widely seen by adults. Maybe most of the adults referenced are immature. • Viewership of Marvel superhero movies by age group in the U.S. 2018 | Statista.

That’s movies, not comics.

Some adults may continue reading their childhood comics but they are not driving the medium into mature adult areas as I said. That already happened, elsewhere, and it had nothing to do with Marvel in particular. Polar opposite of Marvel.


If you just want to read DC, that’s up to you./s
So what do you like to read?


I think this is more a reflection of what you personally consider “mature, adult areas”. I’m guessing you’re more a Christopher Nolan Batman kind of thinker, maybe? There’s a school of thought that life can’t be any fun or weird without being juvenile… I’m hoping that’s not the case here.

And you also have to take into consideration how this material has been historically handled in cinema, as a medium. It’s never going to be Doctor Zhivago because that’s not what it’s for–but the MCU has also moved their content well beyond pure popcorn. They ask their audience to see events from multiple perspectives, make unspoken connections, track repercussions from one film to another, and take some relatively high-concept story leaps in stride. The attention to character development is so far beyond what early “comic book” movies were attempting.

It may still be fantasy, but it’s advanced the level of sophistication.

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I recently read the book for the first time, and watched the Lynch movie again for the first time since seeing it in the theater when it came out. I was surprised by how faithful Lynch’s movie was, especially the first half of it. The second half seemed VERY rushed, but still fine. It is a LOT of book to fit into 2 hours of movie. It’ll be interesting to see how the pacing and conceptualization of the new one compares.