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Dune returns to the (small) screen

By DigitalRover in Media
Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 08:42:31 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

The SciFi Channel is bringing back Dune to the screen. Judging by some of the previews it looks to be an excellent showing.


I'm sure the extended time they're able to work with will allow a better, more thorough retelling than David Lynch's 1984 version. It seems that they've endevoured to closely follow the book's storyline and accurately recreate Frank Herbert's futuristic Imperium. The special effects look top-notch, and what little bit of the soundtrack that I've heard sounds wonderful. Now, some of the costuming looks a little over the top, but who's to say what fashion will be like in the far future?

But what do the geeks out there think of this? I, for one, am thoroughly excited. Ever since I picked up that book as a youngster, the Universe that Frank Herbert created has fascinated me. It ranks right up there with Known Space in my book.

Finally, what makes or breaks this re-telling? Thanks to modern computing power the special effects have the potential for a beautiful movie, but that's only one piece of the puzzle. The storyline must closely follow the book, but so much of the narrative took place in the characters' minds that there must be digressions to retell everything thoroughly enough that a non-fanatic can follow it. Well, all we can do now is speculate, I guess we'll know the answer December 3.

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Dune returns to the (small) screen | 21 comments (21 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Dune rox, hope they dont botch it (none / 0) (#1)
by zephc on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 03:33:02 AM EST

I'm reading "House Atreides" by Herbert's son Brian, and Kevin J. Anderson... quite an excellent book so far! evidently they found some old notes for more of the story line and have reconstructed a book (well two actually, there's "House Harkonnen" by the same two authors) that seems quite well written and lush in detail and plot. I have yet to read any of Frank's sequels to Dune, but i will in due time.

As far as the movie, they will either really screw it up, or get it really right. I think they have learned from the mistakes of the past and we will be in for quite a feast next month :)

One of the worst books I've ever read (none / 0) (#3)
by Ummon on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 04:56:08 AM EST

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. House Atreides is total crap. The book lacks any hint of originality and it reads like fan fiction, bad fan fiction. And by reading this before reading any of the other Dune books will pretty much spoil the rest of the series for you. Stop now before its too late.
Now what would be really cool would be some books set during the Butlerian/Pre-imperium era.

[ Parent ]
The BJ word (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by adric on Wed Nov 15, 2000 at 05:48:28 PM EST

Ahem.

Given what most of us here do for money, and the fact that this site is run on a web serving computer, I would appreciate it if you wouldn't bring up the B-------- J----. I'd just as soon that that meme be kept from the science fiction illiterate public as long as possible.

It's sort of a sore point amongst techies, simillar to how witches feel about the the Burning Times.

Thanks much,

adric (not a mentat) may have to move in with someone who has DSS next month.



[ Parent ]
Brian over Frank?! (none / 0) (#5)
by pretzelgod on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 06:18:53 AM EST

You're reading these lame sequels before reading Frank Herbert's original serires? Why on earth would you do that?

-- 
Ever heard of the School of the Americas?


[ Parent ]
UGH (none / 0) (#12)
by semiriot on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 12:12:28 PM EST

I read House Atriedes. The first thing I thought of while I was reading that piece of offal was 'this reads like a star trek/star wars novel'. Wouldn't you know it, the co-author writes star wars novels. Shocking, huh? Bad bad bad book.
I have no .sig and I must scream.
[ Parent ]
no brian for me (1.00 / 1) (#13)
by mirimoo on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 12:48:21 PM EST

I think this whole thing with the dune books is an excuse for Brian, a middling sci-fi author at best, to capitalize on his father's brilliance. It's nice that they had FH's notes and things but i would have been much more interested if they hadnt written a book around it. I mean, order and edit the notes so they make sense and publish those. But no of course not, doing that wouldnt pull BRian Herbert's career out of the one hit wonder gutter of literature.

I am being a bit mean esp since i refuse to even lay hands on thos nasty Dune Prequels. But i read one book that brian and frank co-wrote and it was the worst book by FH i have ever read. I'm a bit of a fantic and i've read almost every book and/or short story written by FH (thast i can find), so I have a pretty good idea of the caliber and style of his writing. And Man of Two Worlds (co-written with Brian) was just not FH's usual stuff.

If you really love these Brian Herbert/star-wars-esk prequels, you probably wont like the rest of the DUNE series too much as they are just too damn good. If you really want to give the rest of the series a chance I join the others who beg you to stop reading the prequels before it is too late.

so, in closing i reiterate the first paragraph, that what i think of Brian H. sorry... :P


____________
No two snowflakes are exactly alike,
but every fucking snowflake is pretty much the same
-- McGrath
[ Parent ]

What comes next.. (none / 0) (#19)
by Chiron on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:20:16 AM EST

I've read House Atreides, and I'm about to start in on Harkonnen.. I'm curious to see what these two will come up with once they run out of background notes from dear old dad..

[ Parent ]
What comes next.. (none / 0) (#20)
by Chiron on Wed Nov 22, 2000 at 11:26:10 AM EST

I've read House Atreides, and I'm about to start in on Harkonnen.. I'm curious to see what these two will come up with once they run out of background notes from dear old dad..

[ Parent ]
Hope they don't ruin it... (4.00 / 2) (#2)
by farl on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 04:42:32 AM EST

The movie that exists already is probably the best piece of book to movie conversion there ever has been. It mirrors the book so well that it creates a masterpiece of theater from a masterpiece of a book.

Lets hope they don't destoy that in their effort to bring fancy effects to the screen. I sure know I will be watching to find out though!

Farl
farl@sketchwork.com


Farl
k5@sketchwork.com
www.sketchwork.com
Did we watch the same movie? (3.00 / 1) (#4)
by Burb on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:50:41 AM EST

The crucial difference between the book and the movie is that the book makes reasonable sense (within the usual sci-fi parameters) on its own but the film is incomprehensible without the book.

The book relies heavily on interior monologue (all those italics!) to reveal character motivation, and it's hard to translate that to film. A lot of book detail had to be cut to get the screenplay down to a reasonable length; I'm sure I read a fan webpage detailing all that was omitted.

Just my opinion of course; your mileage may vary.

[ Parent ]

Studios botchced it (none / 0) (#7)
by maynard on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 08:10:10 AM EST

Dune would have been a very good film if the studios had let David Lynch complete his 5 1/2 to 6 hour vision instead of cutting it to pieces and cramming it into a little over two hours; though it may not have made as much money in the theatures, it would have been a real cult classic and continued to generate revenue over the long haul. This is why the film is incomprehensible. Since I assume everyone here has read Dune (which I honestly thought was a pretty mediocre book, but I digress), you all know that cramming all that political intrigue and characterization into two hours was simply impossible.

Dune was a cinematographically beautiful film. I've seen certain re-releases of about four hours which were better, but I'd really like to see the full directors cut. David Lynch is one of my favorite directors with releases such as "Eraserhead," "The Elephant Man," "Blue Velvet," (Best Hollywood film of the '80s IMO), and "Wild at Heart." I don't quite know what's happened to him in the '90s after releasing that horrible "Lost Highway" piece of trash. Maybe he's on drugs now. Or, possible he was on drugs during the '80s and sobered up over the last decade. Whatever... he's producing crap now and needs a wakeup call. :-(

Cheers,
Maynard

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

straight (1.00 / 1) (#10)
by fantastic-cat on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 10:40:37 AM EST

the straight story sees Lynch back on fine form after the dissapointing lost highway.

[ Parent ]
4hour version (none / 0) (#11)
by fantastic-cat on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 10:44:43 AM EST

The longest cut I know of is 190 minute special edition released in the US, I'd be interested to know where you saw the 4 hour version as I've only ever heard rumours about longer versions (some claim up to 8 which seems a little excessive as you'd need to allocate a whole day to sitting in a darkened room). t.

[ Parent ]
I think there might be a longer cut... (none / 0) (#8)
by stx23 on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 08:10:29 AM EST

IIRC, there is supposedly a Japanese version of the movie that comes in at 6 hours, or am I perhaps confusing it with Twin Peaks: FWWM?
The revolution will not be webcast.
[ Parent ]
...sort of. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by inpHilltr8r on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 07:21:05 PM EST

From the rec.arts.sf.movies FAQ:

16. I was told that the director's cut of DUNE was seven hours long, and did a much better job of portraying the novel. Where can I find it?

As Jerry Boyajian explains (hopefully for the last time [but of course it wasn't]):

There is *no* "director's cut" of DUNE of *any* length. The existence of one is a complete myth. Perhaps when Lynch was cutting the film originally, there existed such a cut, but if it isn't long gone by now, it's most likely an untimed work print and not in any sort of releasable
form.

*IF* David Lynch were inclined, and *IF* Dino DeLaurentiis were inclined (and *IF* his organization wasn't bankrupt), and *IF* the scrap footage is sitting in a vault somewhere, Lynch could probably reconstruct his original cut, but all three (or four) of those are mighty big "ifs".

No such cut exists on video, no such cut exists in any final film print. [There is also no truth to the rumor that there was a European version that was 4 hours long.]

There exists only one version of the film that's longer than the original theatrical release, and that was the expanded version made for television syndication, and it's maybe 50 minutes longer than the original. But it certainly can't be claimed to be a "director's cut" because not only did Lynch not get involved in cutting it, he disapproved of it so thoroughly that he had his name removed as both writer and director.

I have a large number of film reference books, both genre-specific and general. I follow a number of film and video magazines, and so forth. I've heard and read detailed descriptions of different cuts of various films including BLADE RUNNER, BRAZIL, LEGEND, HIGHLANDER, et alia. I've read and heard first-hand descriptions by people I know of such longer versions, or I've seen listings for them as import laserdiscs. But I've
never heard nor read of any definite, substantiated, unquestionable existence of a version of DUNE, either in commercial release or floating around in collectors' hands, that is longer than the 190-minute TV
version.

As a matter of fact, the *only* place I've even heard *rumors* of such a cut of DUNE has been here on Usenet. [One says his rumor is of a 4-hour cut.] I've heard other rumors (via people asking about it, as did the person who started this thread) of 5-hour versions, 7-hour versions, 9-hour versions, and in one case, someone reported hearing about a 15-hour version! [Herbert did apparently mention in an interview that the first draft of the screenplay ran about 14 hours, so that may be the source of this mis-information.]

They are mythical. And until their existence is documented, and not just a rumor that's floating around the net, I will stand by that statement.
[-jmb]

...

Additionally, the 190 minute tv version was available in an exorbitantly expensive japanese laserdisk box set (with subtitles in japanese), and as a bootleg video from your local disreputable trader. It's also rumoured to be up for release on DVD 'soon'.

I saw it about four years ago, and it doesn't add much to the original film. The introduction is replaced with some ropey stills and a new narration, and they didn't bother to add the 'blue within blue' effect on the fremen's eyes in the 'restored' scenes. Interesting, but not essential viewing IMHO.


[ Parent ]
I wish Lynch hadn't made the movie (none / 0) (#15)
by Biff Cool on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 02:27:09 PM EST

I watched the movie right after reading the book, as a comparison.  When I first saw it I really liked it, I thought it did a decent job of doing the story in two hours.  But the more I think about the movie the more I really hate the things Lynch added in.  The whole "weirding device" thing seemed to be solely to get to use the line "My name has become a killing word.", and making the Harkonnens some kind of circus freak family was only slightly in the vien of the story.  The sole saving grace of the movie was Sting as Feyd Rautha.


My ass. It's code, with pictures of fish attached. Get over it. --trhurler


[ Parent ]
Mirrors or Summarizes? (none / 0) (#6)
by acestus on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 08:05:04 AM EST

I don't know if I'd say that Lynch's Dune really mirrors the book. There's quite a lot of detail left out, and even a fair amount of plot. Certainly, it is fine movie, and it mirrors the theme of Herbert's book, but... as soon as I read the book (and I did so after seeing the movie many times) I wanted them to make a version on film that more closely followed the book. I wouldn't mind a movie of Dune Messiah either...

Acestus
This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
Dune (none / 0) (#9)
by shirobara on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 09:14:31 AM EST

December 3, that's my birthday. What a present ^_^

I remember watching the 1984 version with my mom a couple years back - she had seen it twice when it was out in theaters, once in the first couple of days and once a couple weeks afterwards. The second time she saw it, she said, the theater employees were passing out little fliers summarizing the story to everyone. As amusing a thought as that is, to have people so confused that they must have complained in some way, I do hope it won't be as necessary for this version...



Don't forget Herbert's other books (4.75 / 4) (#14)
by fluffy grue on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 12:52:56 PM EST

This is kinda OT, but for anyone who hasn't read Herbert's non-Dune books (especially his short stories), they're really missing out. Dune is on the mediocre end of the spectrum of his writing; I highly recommend that you read "Eye," a collection of his short stories, which is where he really excells. His novels are much more interesting in the context of the universal history he builds up in the short stories (and IMO, Dune is part of that shared universal history).

Oh, and if you haven't read past the first book of the Dune series... um... don't bother. Lots of out-of-the-ass pulling of franchise-cashing-in books. Dune Messiah is passable, Children of Dune I have very few memories of, and God Emperor of Dune was also passable, but Heretics and Chapterhouse left me wondering why I even bothered to read them (Chapterhouse especially, given how shitty Heretics was - maybe I thought it couldn't get any worse). If you must read as much of the Dune series, stop at God Emperor.

Anyway. Although Herbert's writing isn't the best in the world, he has written better stuff than Dune. His writing and Niven's are very similar in that the novels are only passable, whereas the short stories are the true epics.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

As a total Dune geek... (none / 0) (#16)
by Rand Race on Mon Nov 13, 2000 at 05:10:28 PM EST

... I must say that I am very excited about this. However, even in the trailers I can spot flaws. The House colors seem to be all wrong, the genotypes are wrong, and the ornithopters don't flap their wings (at least they move some in this version).

None of this is major, just nitpicky stuff. And if they make the story flow well it won't matter. Here's hoping it lives up to it's source.


"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson

I had a dream about this. (none / 0) (#21)
by malikcoates on Mon Nov 27, 2000 at 12:57:53 PM EST

I just remembered the fact the I was dreaming about a dune show. I remember thinking "Wow! they really got it right this time!!" in my dream.

Dune returns to the (small) screen | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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