THP Supplemental: Dune (1984)

13 May


Dune month continues here at STK! The Hugo Project is making an extended stop on Arrakis for the merry month of May as we explore 1966’s Dune and the works it inspired. A movie was made in 1984 (which is a really bad way to begin any story…). In the grand tradition of this disaster, I have watched the movie…with similar results. The rambling is a little more coherent, but the degree of fuckery is no smaller.


This movie did at least get some of the visuals right; the needlessly baroque decor favored by the Emperor and the Atreides, for example, and the Bene Gesserit robes. The stillsuits are believable as compression/water-reclamation suits, and the worms are actually pretty awesome for 1980s movie magic.

Then again, many of the artistic choices made Absolutely No Sense Whatsoever. Why do the Mentats look like hairy Oompa-Loompas? Who dressed Lady Jessica, and can I recommend capital punishment for their crimes against fashion? What in the name of all that is holy is going on with Geidi Prime? How did the seat of House Harkonnen become an industrial-dystopic grunge planet inhabited entirely by redheads?

(Oddly, a lot of the decor/costuming/makeup/etc. reminded me strongly of decor/costuming/makeup/etc. from Babylon 5…JMS, I am so on to you.)

The directorial team got so hung up on their wackadoodle artistic choices that they forgot they were supposed to make a movie with a coherent storyline. Watching this film is like looking at a storyboard. It’s a series of vignettes that preserve the letter of the book but not the spirit of it. For all the effort that clearly went into the sets and costumes and such, the world is not compelling enough to pull the viewer in. The story just falls flat.

Finally, before we get into the rambling: Lady Jessica. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO LADY JESSICA? In the book, she’s a remarkably strong and capable (if still stereotypical) female character, especially for something written in 1966. So why, in a movie made in 1984 – the same year that brought us Terminator and the awesome Sarah Connor – is Jessica reduced to nothing more than a 1950s damsel in distress, incapable of anything beyond a lot of overly-dramatic wailing and shrieking? MYRIAD DOES NOT APPROVE.

Okay, on to the rambling and gratuitous pictures of Sting!


Princess Irulan is pretty.

Overly dramatic music? ….check.

Why do the guild people wobble? Couldn’t anybody put vents in their long robe-coat-things?

The guildsmen are super yucky and gross.

Although I do want my own trolly car with a phalanx of garbage-bag wearing street-sweepers.

Oh man 1980s graphics


Oh. My. Wallabies. The shields…

Everybody says what they should think and thinks what they should say.

Wait…Yueh, Guerney, and Thufir all come to train Paul at once? Don’t they have anything better to do than sit around watching him?

Sting, where you at? I’m bored…

Oh gods, Jessica’s hair…

Shouldn’t the Voice be appealing?

Okay, I love the Reverend Mother’s gloves. And the Gom Jabar.


Why are there no lights on planet Geidi?

Piter is an Oompa-Loompa…

Oh Sting, you so fine.

Also…holy codpiece, Batwoman!

Does everybody on this planet have red hair?

Why does Duke Harkonnen have pustules? That the doctor appears to be trying to seduce? Also his suspensors are just wacky and –


What’s with the dog?

Graphics not shiny, but clever

Jessica, honey, what are you wearing?

No, really, what is with this dog?

Why yes, I am wearing nothing but a metal bikini and excessive amounts of body oil. You’re welcome.

Jessica please stop being useless.

Damn these people are pale for desrt folk.

[Then the cat jumped up for nap time and Myriad zoned out and we lost the transcript for the next 45 minutes. From what we have been able to reconstruct, it was mostly sand anyway.]

And for no apparent reason, Sting is in a metal loincloth.

(and he still looks damn fine)

Dear Sting: Why have you duct taped a rat to a cat?

For the love of all that is holy, Guerney, CUT YOUR HAIR.

“I see a great hand…” JMS, I’m on to you.

Hey look I found a black guy! That only took 2 hours…

Yes all right battle chaos explosions we get it already

And Alia is scary blah blah blah

Sting, y u no act better?

Not Sting’s groin.

…or fight better? Feyd is supposed to be good at this…

On the bright side, we do get lots of gratuitous crotch/ass shots. The camera loves Sting’s groin.

Uh oh Sting dieded.


The closing music is realy not appropriate.

This movie is full of fail.


Somehow I managed to get through this whole thing without mentioning or picturing Paul. Unsurprising – frankly, he was much more boring than the rest of this nonsense, even if he is supposed to be the protagonist. And anyway – Sting. I likes me some Sting.

Next week we turn the WTF? down a few notches and return to the literary world with another supplemental edition on Dune Messiah and Children of Dune. No pictures of mostly-naked Sting, I’m afraid, but please do stick around – you never know what will happen next in Dune month…

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Posted by on 13.5.2013 in Books, Geekery


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