Stars: Francesca Annis, Leonardo Cimino, Brad Dourif, JosÃ© Ferrer, Linda Hunt
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 137 minutes
It's a mixed blessing, but Frank Herbert's Dune goes a long way toward satisfying science fiction purists who scoffed at David Lynch's previous attempt to adapt Herbert's epic narrative. Ironically, director John Harrison's 288-minute TV miniseries (broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel in December 2000) offers its own share of strengths and weaknesses, which, in retrospect, emphasize the quality of Lynch's film while treating Herbert's novel with more comprehensive authority. Debate will continue as to which film is better; Lynch's extensive use of internal monologue now seems like a challenge well met, and Harrison's more conventional approach is better equipped to convey the epic scope of Herbert's interplanetary political intrigue. This much is certain: this Dune is a sumptuous treat for the eyes, with sets and costumes that were conceived with no apparent limits of budget or creativity. In terms of architecture alone, this is one of the most impressive films in science fiction history. And although the special effects fall short of feature-film quality, writer-director Harrison (who rose from an extensive background in TV) admirably tames the sprawling narrative that pits the opposing houses of Atreides and Harkonnen in a struggle to control the lucrative market for the spice melange. This is as accurate as any Dune adaptation is likely to get (i.e., there's no need for another attempt), and even then, it can be tricky to keep track of who's doing what to whom. Unfortunately, the film's biggest flaws are the casting of a nearly comatose William Hurt as Duke Leto, and a wooden Alec Newman as the messiah-to-be, Paul Atreides. These are regrettable shortcomings, but this Dune remains altogether respectable. That Frank Herbert would be impressed is perhaps the biggest compliment one can pay. --Jeff Shannon
I will have Arrakis back for myself! He who controls the Spice controls the universe and what Piter did not tell you is we have control of someone who is very close, very close, to Duke Leto! This person, this traitor, will be worth more to us than ten legions of Sardaukar!
And who is this, traitor?
I won't tell you who the traitor is, or when we'll attack. However, the Duke will die before these eyes and he'll know, he'll know, that it is I, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who encompasses his doom!
I will tell you how it will be. I will marry your daughter, the Princess Irulan. I will become the new Emperor of the Known Universe.
Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV:
I am House Corrino! Only I sit on the throne!
You and your House shall have a throne on Salusa Secundus, your prison world, and the training ground for your accursed Sardaukar.
... EITHER THAT, OR YOU WILL DIE.
A beginning is a very delicate time. Know then, that is is the year 10191. The known universe is ruled by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam the Fourth, my father. In this time, the most precious substance in the universe is the spice Melange. The spice extends life. The spice expands consciousness. The spice is vital to space travel. The Spacing Guild and its navigators, who the spice has mutated over 4000 years, use the orange spice gas, which gives them the ability to fold space. That is, travel to any part of the universe without moving. Oh, yes. I forgot to tell you. The spice exists on only one planet in the entire universe. A desolate, dry planet with vast deserts. Hidden away within the rocks of these deserts are a people known as the Fremen, who have long held a prophecy that a man would come, a messiah, who would lead them to true freedom. The planet is Arrakis, also known as Dune.