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Jan 24 2014

Every movie is improved by kazoos and cardboard

Those weirdos in the Twin Cities have remade David Lynch’s Dune. It’s a vast improvement on the original, but the bar was set very low.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    Lars

    Dissing Dune? I am offens. :O (Well, as long as you leave the books in peace, I suppose I’ll overcome. Some day.)

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    The first book is excellent. All the others fell off a cliff into the abyss of hackery.

    This video is a sweded version of the movie. Not the book.

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    That was magnificent!
    The props, special effects and sound effects brought tears to my eyes.
    7/8 tentacles.

  4. 4
    Crimson Clupeidae

    PZ, did you read the entire series? I have been told that books 2-? of the series are a real slog, but worth it for the last (God Emperor?). I haven’t managed yet, although some of the books written by his son/coauthored by someone else were not terrible. (High praise, I know.)

  5. 5
    Eamon Knight

    I’m pretty sure I read God Emperor, years ago. I don’t recall it making any more sense than any of the prequels. (Like PZ, #1 was good, after that I just lost track of what was going on, and why, and why I should care about the protagonists).

  6. 6
    Rob Grigjanis

    I loved the look of Lynch’s film, but the ending was a horrible joke. I put it down to deadline/funding problems.

    The TV series was OK. On a par with the BBC adaptation of Gormenghast.

  7. 7
    chigau (違う)

    I hated every minute of Lynch’s movie.
    I liked the TV series.

    I also liked the bookDune Messiah.
    After that it was all shark-jumping.

  8. 8
    Great American Satan

    In case anybody didn’t get the “sent the rains down in africa” thing at the end, the Dune soundtrack is Toto’s fault. I knew a guy who was into electronic music and the movie who actually bought the soundtrack in the early nineties. Seems a little weird now.

    I thought, Irulan looks pretty adorbs there and looked her up. Here’s her doing Mario Bro cosplay.

  9. 9
    peterh

    Many who post/lurk here might enjoy the book series or the Artisan production (available on DVD) rather than the David Lynch version (which he reportedly withdrew his name from). It’s on one level an excellent look at the built-in tendency for failure of revealed religions.

  10. 10
    whiskytangofoxtrot

    You mean the later Dune books were even worse than the original? Considering that the first book is just a bunch of paper-thin characters spouting hackneyed fortune-cookie wisdom (no, destroying a thing is not controlling a thing; I don’t care how many times you repeat that line) it’s difficult to believe that things manage to go downhill from that.

  11. 11
    A momentary lapse...

    You mean the later Dune books were even worse than the original?

    Yes, and then when you think it can’t get any worse, Kevin J Anderson.

  12. 12
    Al Dente

    Frank Herbert was a science fiction writer who wrote one good book, Dune. After that he kept writing sequels to his one successful novel. After he died, his son Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson wrote prequels, sequels and interquels (books taking place during the spaces between the original series books). Neither Herbert Jr nor Anderson are particularly good writers.

  13. 13
    Moggie

    I stopped reading the series partway through God Awful of, sorry, God Emperor of Dune, which I think I may have even hurled across the room. Nothing I’ve heard since has convinced me to retry.

  14. 14
    Al Dente

    Italics failure in my post 12.

  15. 15
    Rob Grigjanis

    Like chigau, I thought Dune Messiah was alright, and he wrote some decent short stories. Whatevs. Good for hurling across rooms? Everything written by Robert Heinlein.

  16. 16
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Al Dente:
    Interquels? Hmmm never heard of that one.

    I know this is a subjective question but, in your (as in YOU or anyone who feels like chiming in) opinion, why were the subsequent writers not good? Or, really, what makes a writer good or bad in your eyes? I have not read Dune, so I’m curious more from a technical standpoint. I’ve meant to ask this of others in the past. Various commenters in the Lounge occasionally talk about books they’ve read and enjoyed/disliked. I find the WHY of that interesting.

  17. 17
    chigau (違う)

    Tony!
    Dune was actually new and unique.
    It, like LotR, spawned a genre.
    If you read (present tense) it now, after having read (past tense) the spawn, it can seem hackneyed.
    but
    after the first few books, it was milked to death.

  18. 18
    NelC

    I read all of the (Frank Herbert) Dune books in my mis-spent youth, and I thought the series picked up with the two after God-Emperor. I have never touched the Anderson/Herbert books; I think I remember picking up one of the first in the bookshop, and then putting it down after trying to read a paragraph of killing words. Say what you like about Frank, his son can’t write at all.

    For its time, I think Dune had some interesting things to say about religion, not to mention America’s relationship with the Middle-East.

    Lynch’s movie was good in parts. There were some good performances (Sting’s was not one), some great sets, memorable scenes, and some… idiosyncratic model work (those ornithopters, just bad). But it probably failed to jel into a coherent whole. I think these guys like it better than PZ does.

  19. 19
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I still find ThaIron Man to be impermissibly hilariously.

    This should carry a warning sign for those with asthma or COPD.

    The Sweded Dune is okay, too.

  20. 20
    chigau (違う)

    Crip Dyke
    I ♥♥♥ those Thai guys.
    Can you imagine what it’s like living in their neighbourhood?
    Every other night there’s people in their underwear, painted various colours, with styrofoam glued to them, running around the alleys in the middle of the night.

  21. 21
    ChasCPeterson

    Dune was one of the very few SF novels of its time to deal with ecology. Plus those worms were badass.

  22. 22
    chigau (違う)

    Chas
    re: Dune and ecology.
    Were there any others?

  23. 23
    mildlymagnificent

    Others? Well Little Fuzzy and Fuzzy Sapiens were more about politics, but part of that politics was rapacious exploitation of planets and destruction of their environments as a not-very-subtle parallel to colonisation and exploitation by the empires and global corporations we’re more familiar with on the “home planet”.

    As for Dune itself. I did enjoy the first book, and that carried me for the second. The third was terrible but I was prepared to forgive that as an aberration – until I glanced inside the covers of the next. I doubt I read more than a paragraph.

  24. 24
    NelC

    Tony! @16, I think you know this already, but there isn’t an easy way to answer that question. There’s a myriad of ways to write well, and an even bigger myriad of ways to write badly. It’s not something that can be reduced solely to a set of rules, despite what ‘How to Write’ books may tell you.

    In the end, I think it comes down to, Is what you write interesting? Though ‘interesting’ has to include the journeyman qualities of coherence and clarity (where the latter is desired), and a willingness to keep to rules of grammar and good taste most of the time. But there are few rules you shouldn’t be willing to ignore when it comes to write what you want to write.

    See? You can’t write a short, coherent answer that covers all the bases. Or at least, I can’t.

  25. 25
    Al Dente

    Tony! @16

    I know this is a subjective question but, in your (as in YOU or anyone who feels like chiming in) opinion, why were the subsequent writers not good? Or, really, what makes a writer good or bad in your eyes?

    Of course good and bad writing is purely subjective.

    I stopped reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books because after the third book I realized I didn’t care what happened to the characters. Jordan failed to describe his characters motivations well enough for me to give a damn about them.

    I don’t like Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant books for several reasons, one major one being that Donaldson shows his disrespect for readers by writing down at them. Another problem I had was Covenant started off being a thoroughly unpleasant character. In the first ten pages he raped a woman “because he’s a leper.” Fine, Covenant, if you hate yourself that much then I’ll hate you too. I read the first book and Covenant had not redeemed himself at all. I can appreciate anti-heroes and even villains with intriguing motivations (in the Star Wars prequels Palpatine is the only interesting character because he has a goal which he sets about achieving in an intelligent way). Covenant was as self-loathing at the end of the book as he was in the beginning. So I stopped reading the series.

    In a similar way, Glen Cook’s book Darkwar is about how someone becomes an evil overlord. Cook makes me feel sympathetic to her and also to the “good guys” trying to stop her from evil overlording the world.

    Many people like David Eddings’ Belgariad series. I don’t. There’s the young boy who’s really the King but hidden from the Evil Overlord. Our hero sets out with the Magnificent Seven Samurai (warning: TV Tropes link) to get the Magic Whatzit from the Evil Overlord. Eddings’ characters are one dimensional tropes acting in stereotypical ways. The world building is mediocre (the various cultures have remained completely static for thousands of years) with several cultures being impractical (a medieval culture is ruled by idiots and that’s not hyperbole, they are unintelligent). Eddings’ only redeeming feature is he can write dialog. His unrealistic characters talk in real ways.

    I do like Joe Abercrombie’s books. They’re character driven rather than plot driven and I cared about the characters. Abercrombie lampshades many boilerplate fantasy situations. For instance, a party led by the First Mage (official title) takes a perilous journey to retrieve the Magic Whatzit. They get to the right place and it isn’t there. So they have an equally perilous return journey empty handed.

    I look for fantasy and science fiction to have interesting characters acting in reasonable ways. I want to care about what happens to the characters. I want the world building to appear rational and practical. If the writing isn’t technically proficient then I stop reading (I cannot read Terry Goodkind because he does not write the English good). Lastly I want to be entertained.

  26. 26
    Rob Grigjanis

    “Seed Stock” is a Herbert ecology-themed short story which made a powerful impression on me when I first read it, maybe 40 years ago. It’s online, but I hesitate to link because copyright (?).

  27. 27
    =8)-DX

    Dune was good (sand dune ecology? Desert survival? Religion just being a method to inculcate the proles with primers for a future support of political and genetic manipulation? YAY!)

    The rest were crap (the jihad happened) and the prequels were worse than crap. They were carp. “CARP” Combined Arms Rectal Profusion.

    The only post Dune, Dune-related franchise that was good, was the PC game Dune 2, which was a precursor (or participant in) to future real time strategy games such as Warcraft and Starcraft.

    Nuff said. The rest is just cosplay and fan-fiction.

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