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Why David Lynch Failed to Capture the Greatness of Dune

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In writing about the greatness of Frank Herbert’s 1965 epic sci-fi novel Dune in the latest issue of National Review in advance of the release of Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming film version, I alluded to “a misbegotten prior adaptation.” By that, I meant director David Lynch’s 1984 attempt to bring Herbert’s vision to screen. Lynch, then fresh off The Elephant Man (and having turned down the opportunity to direct Return of the Jedi), is now probably best known for the exquisite weirdness of his work, particularly as manifested in the TV series Twin Peaks. Yet he largely considers Dune a disaster, a product of his inexperience with large-scale film production and of over-interference by the studio.

Writing for Tor.com, however, Lincoln Michel finds something to admire in Lynch’s Dune: It is quite appropriately weird:

It’s not that the criticisms of the film are all wrong. The awkward pacing, the confusing plot, the big exposition dumps in dialogue. It’s a mess. But it’s a beautiful mess that’s far more memorable than the average aesthetic-free, polished-to-dullness blockbuster SFF films of today. So while we all wait for Denis Villeneuve’s version of Dune—one I have some hopes for, I should say—to be released and........

© National Review

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