David Lynch’s 1982 Dune wasn’t well-received at the time, but over the years has become a cult classic—perhaps even a good film. With a few nods to the lavish sets and striking set-pieces, Emily Asher-Perrin takes a weirding module to the latter claim: David Lynch’s Dune is What You Get When You Build a Science Fictional World With No Interest in Science Fiction.
Any attempt at cohesion on a more granular level, which is where worldbuilding is most essential in science fiction, is shrugged off in favor of another inexplicable style choice that brings a bit of form and zero function. With the exceptions of military collars and crests, there is nothing that communicates how these things and people connect—some have tried to christen it “noir-baroque” which is a cute thought, but it’s hard to believe that any detailed reasons for the aesthetics were considered beyond “this looks cool.”
Dune wants to be phantasmagorical and it wants to be offensive to your senses, and those things can work in cinema, as Lynch’s career communicates incredibly well. But this film does not carry off that off-kilter creepiness as anything more than a parlor trick. It fails to be authentic because these cues are not entrenched in the universe projected on screen. They are there to shock the viewer, to disgust them, but they don’t mean anything. The Guild member floating in its chamber of gas is strange and otherworldly and grotesque, but communicates nothing besides that. It is not integrated into its setting, its surroundings. It exists to be gawked at, to unsettle us, and then it disappears from view and we go back to the part of the narrative that needs to hold our attention.
Dune (1982) is a Lawrence of Arabia pastiche with a mad bucket of half-baked science fiction tropes bolted onto it. It includes so much extraneous, confusing detail from the novel’s world, but when you think of all the things it omits you really get a good sense of why Lynch (or anyone?) could not form it in 2 or 3-hours.
I think there are two things that could be done to fix it. Firstly, remove all the speaking and turn the whole thing into a hallucinatory Lynchean nightmare, perhaps to be accompanied by Brian Eno’s mythic 45-minute album of Dune music. (The first scene of the movie thus improved, by me, is embedded at the top of the post.)
Secondly, use Lynch’s movie as the basis for a full-length animated TV miniseries by rotoscoping it and bringing back the original actors for several hours or so of newly-animated scenes.
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The deceptively simple Collatz Conjecture is one of mathematics’ most difficult puzzles. Alex Bellos shows off a cool rendering by Edmund Harris that looks like a beautiful life form from the sea.
As makeup wearers know, achieving a perfect (and even) winged eyeliner is a monumental feat. So beauty guru and YouTuber Safiya Nygaard tests out three products that claim to make the winged eye-liner application process easier: The Vamp Stamp, The Liner Designer, and Eye Candy Stencils.
Before the internet, even before desktop publishing, gang members who wanted calling cards headed to a printer with their idea. The results are collected in Brandon Johnson’s Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s.
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We understand that even reading a book instead of watching Netflix after work can be difficult, so taking online coding courses is definitely going to be a stretch, but hear us out. Learning to code can be a major asset to pushing your career to the next level, or to help you build a side […]
The Rebel is the newest offering from the popular vaporizer brand Hippie, and, contrary to the Attorney General’s belief, smoking dry herb with it does not necessarily preclude you from being a good person. Rather, the Rebel will make you feel like a very good, smart person. The new design offers two immediate advantages over […]
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An interesting read via Boing Boing