Dune 1984: why is it so bad?

Just watched this for the first time as an adult having only seen the high quality box art for VHS and some of the imagery for the two games. I believe the two moons landscape was used for an add or poster of the Cryo game.

For something made in 1984, why is the acting so un-naturalistic and the cinematography feel so claustrophobic and lighting so dim? Why is the over acting reminiscent of high school play/stage plays? I understand it’s Kyle Mclachlan’s first acting credit but…

Having grown up with other sci fi fantasy movies from the 70s-80s, Conan, Star Wars etc didn’t feel so bad and badly lit. The camera work from the internal cockpit of the ship flying out to the spice fields was just static and bad—like an upholstered interior apartment.

Everyone is noticeably so white, including the fremen.

I’m not sure, but I tried to rewatch Dune 84 recently and I barely made it 10 minutes in before I gave up. Just awful.

I don’t know if it was good in it’s time, but if so it hasn’t aged well.

A: expletive deleted, no it’s not, it’s good, why are you so bad?

There are lots of things that are really cool about the movie, but better the movie is pretty bad. David Lynch didn’t even want his name attached to it.

This is the correct answer, please close the thread.

It’s pretty much the canonical “good-bad” movie for me. It was utterly hilarious when it was trying to be dead serious, which is a decent rule-of-thumb definition for creative failure, I guess.

Still, Lynch is a goddamn genius in my estimation, and there are some really cool and bonkers scenes in the film, which makes it worth a watch just to soak in the the Lynchian-ness of the piece.

Indeed, there so far to this day, no better Dune movie.

TLDR: because it was made by a weird, art-house director (David Lynch) and a hacky, meddling producer (Dino De Laurentiis.)

Longer version: Lynch doesn’t care about “naturalism” or Hollywood conventions, instead preferring his work to appear stagier (or more accurately, like an early movie: Lynch is a great fan of the early days of cinema.)

Regarding the dimness, part of that’s an artistic choice. Part of it, though, is the special effects technology of the time. There’s a lot of optical printing and mattes, etc. in the movie. Due to the limitations of the time, that often resulted in a dimmer image unless great care was used. De Laurentiis wasn’t willing to spring for state-or-the-art for the movie (leading special effects producer John Dykstra to leave.) It shows. And Lynch likely didn’t care. Given his aesthetic, he was probably fine with the special effects looking clearly artificial.

Re: Lynch not wanting his name on it. That’s not actually true - what he didn’t want his name on is the extended version, released on TV in 1988 without his input or approval (which I just learned while looking on Wikipedia for how to spell “De Laurentiis.”)

Lynch was not happy with Dune, and he’s notoriously tight-lipped about nearly everything, but that unhappiness seems to stem mainly from two things: he didn’t have final cut on the film, which at the time he didn’t feel able to really hold out for but which has been a condition of his ever since, and (possibly in his mind as a result of that, and of De Laurentiis being a tightwad with production) it was a commercial failure, something that matters to him, perhaps because making money means (or meant anyway) being able to make more movies.

The problem is that Lynch wants to make arthouse weird movies while the studio and De Laurentiis wanted their version of Star Wars. Right off the bat, that’s an issue. Dune is not Star Wars, and there’s no real way to make that round peg of a story fit in that square hole. Add a bunch of production issues, budget fights, and sketchy casting and you get a cult classic.

Team “it’s great actually” here.

I’ve not seen the new one, and I’ve been somewhat disturbed by watching one of the promos because Timothee and Zendaya are really quite American…

The character casting in Lynch’s Dune was just unfathomably amazing!

(I watched an extended fan cut on YouTube recently. Highly recommended seeing if it’s still about and not been taken down…)

It would be so great to get a re-cut of Dune, assuming any of that footage still exists somewhere. Reportedly, Lynch is not interested, though. Maybe when he dies someone can work off of notes.

There’s a pretty good summation of why Lynch even took Dune on The Ringer, btw.

edit: also, for anyone who hasn’t seen the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, it’s fascinating. What might have been…

Here we go, still up amazingly

I think one of the failings of 84 dune, which carries into the new movie, is that there is a ton of stuff that you kind of need to have read the book to understand.

If you’ve read the book, then lots of stuff stands on it’s own, but if you haven’t, you are left wondering “WTF just happened?”

De Laurentis had his hands in a lot of movies over the years, many of them regarded as masterpieces of cinema. Including Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Conan, mentioned in the OP as a good movie in contrast with Dune.

But the basic idea is right: Dune is a bunch of poorly made action scenes and stilted, overly long expository monologues laying on top of weird and imaginative images and sounds and characters. They made an abstract, surreal fantasy and then shoveled the plot over it. And the story is pretty simple, it just feels convoluted because of the constant explanation and made-up nonsense words.

+1 …2345

Dune '84 is pure shit. But it’s classic shit that clearly shaped and influenced a bunch of us Reagan babies here.

That, and there is some amazing cinematography and visual concepts. But the acting, the screenplay, the pacing, the dialogue… it’s shite innit

Well, at least Toto did the score. That’s decent

I thoroughly enjoy it. I guess that says something about me. Whatever.

It tells me The Sleeper Has Awakened!