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Sci-Fi Channel Making Dune Miniseries 127

devphil writes "Variety is reporting that the Sci-Fi channel is producing a six-hour, three-part Dune miniseries to air next October. The Yahoo article is here." Mmmmm. Sure hope it's better than the Dune movie was.
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Sci-Fi Channel Making Dune Miniseries

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  • I saw the film in the theater way back when it was released (Imperial Six, T.O.), and on video and T.V. a few times. One time though I remember seeing a longer version on WUTV in Buffalo. Does anyone have any info on the extended version?

    ...setting my mind in motion,

  • Yeah there is an extended director's cut which is 3+ hours, I think. Not sure, but the Sci Fi channel usually shows it once or twice per year. I hear you can get it on laser disk, but it was a few hunderd dollars. If someone has seen it cheaper a little side email would be swell.

  • The version of Dune released in theaters was approximately two hours long. However, later they released a 3 hour version of the film which is called the "Alan Smithee" version because director David Lynch disassociated himself with it (Alan Smithee is sort of like "John Doe" or "Anonymous" for directors). I believe the miniseries uses the same footage as the 3 hour version of the movie.
  • HEY !! no hold on here a minute .
    DUNE , the movie was a fine film .
    It was ( in my opinion ) very true to the story and the feel of Herberts universe .

    Bash it again and feel my Gom Jabbar , buddy .
    (The four hour was better for people that hadn't read the book )
    Your Squire
  • Important Science fiction ( such as anything written by Herbert or Penrose ) that focuses on sociology and how people's interactions are modified by technology or the lack of it is very important to a large number of nerds .

    How can we discount ( as unworthy of discussion ) the effects our working medium has on other people?

    Your Squire
  • ...which is hard to admit, seeing as everybody else says they hated it.

    I barely tolerated it at first, but seeing the longer cut a couple of times on TV gave me more appreciation for it vis-a-vis the book (which I love and have read many times).

    Can't remember the original version so well anymore, but it seemed as though some of my favorite scenes from the book weren't in it, but were in the long version.

    The long version also gave me much more appreciation for Kyle MacLachlan (sp?) in the lead role -- who I thought was a lousy choice at first.

    I even have the soundtrack, and enjoy most of that (despite not having heard anything else by Toto I thought was worth buying).

    So while a new series on Sci-Fi might be a great thing, I don't feel it'll automatically be better than the movie, especially given some of the other great aspects of the movie (e.g. some of the "lesser" roles -- gotta admit, it's a bit strange watching Patrick Stewart in Dune now compared to before his doing ST:TNG).

    Wish 'em all well, though, and might even tune in, since I can get Sci-Fi (though with some hassle, as it's scrambled, requiring me to actually use my cable box to tune it in instead of my VCR/TV setup...thank goodness for the convenient A/B switch I finally installed, mainly to watch MST3K).

  • In true geek fashion, several years ago, I was looking at the boob-tube, trying to find something to watch on a Sunday Afternoon.

    The main attraction was the Super-Bowl. I surfed the other channels, and I saw the opening of Dune.

    The only thing... It wasn't the live picture of Princess Irulan, but a male voice and book illustrations.

    I then watched the full 3+ hour, commercial-free show. (Who's going to buy ad time against the Super Bowl?) It was great.

    I was watching the Sci-Fi channel last month and stumbled into the beginning of the same cut. I threw in a tape and figured I'd just catch what I could. Then it re-ran, so I have the entire show. Hot damn.

    At Media Play I looked at the DVD package, but it's running time was the same as the short version video tape.

    I hear that the original cut was 6+ hours, and was shown at a couple of SF conventions. I haven't any proof, though.

    Also, a new book was just written by Frank's son, based on his father's notes. Don't know yet if it's a good read or not.

    My 2 liters
  • "it's a bit strange watching Patrick Stewart in Dune now compared to before his doing ST:TNG)."

    Actually, it's a bit strange hearing anyone say "Young pup!!", especially Patrick Stewart.

  • The seventh book in the Dune series is out in case anyone hadn't heard .

    It is called 'House Atreides' and is written by Brian Herbert ( Franks son ) and *mumblemumble* Anderson .

    It is a lighter read and is wonderful in that it shows some of the more prominent 'races' in their less developed stages . Bene Gesserit are still more or less Human in this prequel etc ...

    Highly recomended . Also there is a note in side the book that Dune7 will follow ( that is the title that Frank Herbert held for the sequel to Chapterhouse )
    Your Squire
  • The main weakness of the the theatrical adaptation was its attempt to sum up as many of the books in the series as it could in three hours. Unless the Sci-Fi version paces its miniseries to cover more depth in its storytelling, it will be nothing more than an adaptation twice as long as its predecessor, yet with the same abridged plotline.
  • When David Lynch made DUNE, it was too long. The Final cut was a brutal one and the movie sucked as a result (so much so that Lynch had his name removed from it). I would like to see the whole thing but probally never will. It would have been great to get in Lynch and have him cut up his origional into 6 pieces for the attention challanged. but alas... Frank Herbert who worked on the film with Lynch encapsulates the problem with this quote: "Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo) spent a couple of million dollars in pre-production of his version. He even hired Salvador Dali as his production designer. Nothing ever happened. I'm not quite sure why it fizzled. Without exaggeration, his script would have made an eleven-or-twelve-hour movie. It was the size of a phonebook. It was pretty anti-Catholic, too." Frank Herbert
  • There are two versions of the DUNE movie. Well, really there are more, but just two important ones. There is a "short" one, like 2 and half hours, which was shown in theaters and is out on tape, and it credits David Lynch as director. There is a 3 hour version, which came out on TV and was reshown by the sci-fi channel recently, that has David Lynch's name removed and credits Alan Smithee.

    Several years before the David Lynch Dune, there was a plan to make a Dune movie. This is the one that had HR Giger and Salvador Dali for artwork and Pink Floyd for music. After Jodorowsky spent several million and had nothing to show for it, Hollywood canned it.
  • I've seen the movie (2h-version) a couple of times and thinks it's quite good actually. The movie is strange, somewhat confusing and the characters are weird, just the way I like it.

    Maybe not too faithful to the book but this is still one of the best SF-movies out there.
  • I saw the twenty-seven hour version that was only released in Burkino Faso. It was good, but there were a few things I didn't remember from the book, like the dwarf^H^H^H^H^H short person telling Stilgar in a dream that Paul was the One.

    I wouldn't mind seeing the miniseries; the first book was incredibly awesome, two could have been better and longer, and the rest... well, I didn't rush out to buy the latest sequel.
    It looks like Herbert Jr. is going to do a Christopher Tolkien; I look forward over the next decade to reading the secret writing of the Bene Gesserit Volume 8 : The origin of the Kwisatz Haderach myths.
  • *GASP* you didn't like the movie?!? I watched that thing like four times! Dune rules and Sci Fi is gettintg better... They used to only play crappy rerun shows but now they gots da goods... Farscape is one of the finest shows I've seen in awhile. I still have to kick their asses for cancelling MST3K though.

    If you think you know what the hell is really going on you're probably full of shit.
  • ok, so there are a ton of things that go missing from the book to the movie. but. think of this. the only reason i read the book and all the subsequent books was because i saw the movie. I also happen to have the three issue comic version. Of course if i could get my hands on the full blown movie i would go apesh*t. Now we can knock the movie sure but that could potentially turn others away from herbert altogether. And lastly (thought i would go on forever didn't you) without the movie some people would never get an idea of Herbert. They might just go on thinking that the only sci-fi in the world revolves around the Enterprise and is fought with light sabers. Frankly (no pun intended) I'd take a bad Dune movie over a good Star Wars flick any day (especially the new ones) Star wars is good for the kiddies but gimmes a break.
  • When the re-released the film on video, a year or two ago, I heard that there were no plans of making the "extended" version available again.

    (Which I think is too bad, as the version they released is painfully lacking in some areas, and I have never had an oportunity to see the longer version.)

  • Dune was the first Adult SF novel I read, way back when wheels were square. It was and still is my favorite book. Frankly, the movie had some good bits, but I just about puked when I saw them training soldiers how to use the, ah, um, (God, am I getting senile...) sonic thing. I don't remember any such device in the novel. What i ~do~ remember is wanting to get my hands on some "spice", mainly to see if it was as good as LSD...

  • The long version of Dune is a great fucking movie to code to - especially if comes on around midnight and ends around three am something.

    Todd Stewart
  • by Wayfarer ( 10793 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @01:46AM (#1517089) Homepage

    I hope the series gives out more background information than the movie. The greatest failing of the movie, in mine honest opinion, was that it attempted to achieve its atmosphere through whiz-bang special effects instead of through good storytelling. I found myself wondering "What's in the box?" and "Who exactly is Captain Picard/Sting playing again?" throughout the feature.

    Once I actually read the book, the movie was much more enjoyable, as I could finally sit back and watch it without wondering what everything meant. Here's hoping I won't need the book for the series!

    On an almost unrelated note, I've got this annoying feeling that our good friend Iain from "Star Wars" should be playing the Emperor instead of this Giannini guy--and not just because of the title! As Palpatine, he had almost exactly the character I'd expect for this role. 8)

  • I have heard of this version... Yet all other information I have seen has only indicated the ~2 hour video release, and the three hour television release. Do you have any furthur information on the 27 hour version you mentioned?

    I have only seen the video version, and I always thought it's greatest weakness was attemption to summarize Paul's time with the Freman in what seemed like five minutes. I believe they would have done much better, for a two hour movie, to completely eliminate that part, and simply have Paul disapearing into the desert as a child (my other complaint about the movie... Why the same actor??? Paul shouldn't be 27 when he sticks his hand in the box...), and then skipping to the end of the movie, with Paul older, leaving what happened in the time he was gone left to the book. If it was done right, I think this could have been a really nice, reasonably lengthed film.

    When I saw the movie, I thought they did a great job on the end, and I probably would have liked the beginning better if I hadn't been mad at Paul being far, far too old.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out The third comment points out that the 6 hour version does not exist, since only about 5 hours of film was shot anyway, this is apparently confirmed by Frank Herbert himself in his intro to the book Eye.
  • Give me a break. The movie sucked.

    The stillsuits looked like Batman and Robin rubber-fetish gear, and they had to tie the whole incoherent mess together with Irulan narrating the story.

    The stupidest thing of all, it *rained* at the end.

    This story is *always* going to suck if you try to cram it into two hours. A six-hour miniseries *might* do it justice.

  • I always thought that was a pretty good movie.

    "I WILL kill you" - Sting


  • I purchased the long version from Revok in Canada. (

    Unfortunately, I cannot judge my version verses the US theatrical release, as it's been SOOO long since I've seen the short one.

    The best place for information about the long version is above. (However, I'd be glad to add to it, if anyone has any questions).

    I recommend Revok quite well, however DO realize that most of what they sell are vid transfers of things that are not available in the states by US distributors. (For further information about this, read their FAQ).

    I'm just stating this because sometimes the picture quality can get a bit weak in some of their products. The transfer of Dune is quite good, though.
  • The theatrical adaptation only had plot from the first novel.

    However, I think you might be confusing the fact that at one point the film version was possibly going to be a trilogy....for the first book.
  • by XaOsGoth ( 103156 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @03:05AM (#1517097)
    There is a lot of talk about various lengths/versions of Dune, and I thought I'd clear the fog a bit. Here's what IMDB has to say about the various versions:
    Theatrical version is 140-minutes long; network TV version, disowned by director David Lynch, is 190 minutes long and features outtakes and additional footage. The TV print credits "Allen Smithee" as director. The theatrical release features a brief introductory narration spoken by the "princess". The TV version has a longer spoken introduction by a narrator, with still paintings and drawings used to bring the viewer up to speed on the story. The TV version (available on Japanese Laserdisc) lacks the blue color in the Fremen's eyes, indicating that the scenes were cut before special f/x were added. A third version of "Dune", seen on KTVU in San Francisco in 1992, is the only one that edits together footage from both the theatrical and TV versions, putting back the violent scenes (such as the "heart sucking sequence") and theatrical versions of some scenes (such as Paul and Jessica running from a thumper). Also, Lynch's name is restored at the end (watch for the "Assistant to Mr. Lynch" credit). Contrary to popular rumors, no 6-hours long director's cut, ever existed. The only "director's cut" of the film was the one shown theatrically; Lynch never had a hand in any other version of Dune. Lynch's original intention was for Dune to have been about 3+ hours long. To that end, about 5 hours was shot. This is also confirmed by author 'Frank Herbert' (qv) wrote in the introduction to the book "Eye". It would be impossible for a 6-hour version to exist and even a 5-hour Dune would mean the inclusion of many scenes never intended for the final version (for reasons of redundancy, etc.). It is only necessary to read any of the final scripts for the film to realize that there was never any intention of making Dune more than 4 hours in length at the very most: the script for anything more just was never there. There are two theatrical versions available in Europe, the only two differences between being the short scene in which the Navigator can be seen "at work" folding space; and a very short clip showing the cheek of Duke Leto torn open.
    This information may be found at I own a copy of one of these versions, and based on the description and my memory, it is version 2 above. (There are some scenes missing in my version from the theatrical version, but it includes a narrator and still paintings as illustrations for an intro).
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @04:05AM (#1517100) Homepage Journal
    I found the Dune books to be much like a rollercoaster: It started out up, and was pretty much downhill from there.

    The problem that I have with the Dune series is that Frank Herbert didn't fully follow the implications of his world. He wanted a feudalistic society, but with modern "stuff".
    • He wanted knife fights, so he has to develop shields. But shields prevent seige engines from attacking your castles, so he had to come up with the lasegun/shield interaction to prevent shields from being used to protect large emplacements. But then he had to make the lasegun explode too, or else you could cap your enemy from a distance.
    • A feudalistic society cannot exists with a modern information processing infrastructure, so he creates the Mentats and outlaws computers. However, a computer has so many advantages over a Mentat that somebody is going to break the rules to get the advantage.
    • He wanted witches, so he creates the Bene Geserit. However, if they can develop the mental powers they have, so could anyone else.
    • If everybody had access to space, you could just drop large rocks on your enemies. So, he places space travel in the hands of the Guild. However, if the guild is not held in check, they rule. So, the spice dependancy. Question: if spice is needed for space travel, how did we get to Arakis in the first place?

    Unlike guys like Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Heinlein, et. al. who come up with a world, then go back an make sure it hangs together, Frank Herbert makes these hodge-podge worlds that would fall apart at the slightest disruption.

    Sorry, I'm not inpressed.
  • I devoured the book in twenty-four hours, with ten minutes to spare before my lift left to the film.

    In this context, the movie is great! Princess Irulan's prolog sums up things perfickly, and off we go into the wild blue-tinted yonder.

    On the other hand, if you've never seen the book, then film-only "literacy" bites you on the ass at this flick.

  • Can anyone find a transcript of what Thufir Hawat is saying into the mike when the attack is brewing ? It sounds way cool, very much like he's a stand-in for computers after the Butlerian Jihad. I just wish I knew what the heck he was saying.
  • Well, to begin with we have the original Lynch production that was shown in the theaters (as a side note, Lynch was offered to direct Return of the Jedi, but passed in order to do Dune), and was released as both letterbox and regular cuts. This is the version that is narrated by Princess Irulan. There are two more versions, one that started as a director's cut, but which Lynch disavowed all influence with, and the intro is with paintings and a male narrator. The third version is one that you will probably won't be able to find, as a station in Cal. pieced together segments of the two previous versions into one movie. This is not available commercially. A good url to use to find specifics about these is hope this helps, padan
  • oh come on. I bought the book, and really didn't know what to expect. I had read some of that...guy...Anderson's SW books, and hadn't been too terribly dissapointed, but as this book being a prequel to the Dune legacy, I was just saddened. It really was not at all up to par, and I don't consider it part of the Dune series at all. padan
  • I really liked the orginal movie. Sure it's not exactly accurate to the book, but when making a book of that maganatude into a movie you tend to lose something in the translation.

  • dude, you got the totally wrong idea. Personally, I think that the Herbert series is the best SF series of all time, because of the intricat issues that it deals with. As far as his making hodge-podge worlds, the same could be said of any of the popular authors that you mentioned, especially Pournelle and Niven (Mote in God's Eye, specifically). I personally think that Herbert made an incredibly detailed and working model of the future. But, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. padan
  • Dude, this came out WAY before the Gulf War. And later books in the Dune series explain the obvious Arabic connection more clearly.
  • by CrosseyedPainless ( 27978 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @05:01AM (#1517108) Homepage
    Knife fights/shields/lasguns: There are ways around all the pseudotechnological difficulties he throws up. I think he was just adding a little flavor. Nothing to get bent about.

    Mentants v computers: mentants have advantages over computers, too. And, the Ixians are forever breaking the rules and getting slapped for it.

    Bene Gesserit witches: It's expressly stated that the Bene Gesserit "powers" are the results of training and psychoactive drugs. Sure, anyone could develop those powers; anyone who wanted to duplicate Bene Gesserit training. Man, that objection is really dumb. That's like saying karate blackbelts are unlikely, because, like, anyone could learn to do that stuff.

    And finally, Answer: I don't have the books handy for quotechecks, but it goes something like this: "There are other poisions Guild Navigators can use to work their tricks, but once they use melange, there's no turning back."
  • Yep. It's about 3 hours long. It is *not* the director's cut, but rather an alternative version for television. David Lynch does not sign the movie, he uses a pseudonym instead (can't remeber the name now). There are not many scenes added to the movie, but a rather lengthy introduction which makes the movie easier to understand for those who have not read the novel. It is curious to see the difference in the texture and the color of the footage added.

    The movie is divided into episodes for television. It is available in very few video clubs. The only one I know in my area that rents it is Vulcan Video in Austin TX (in case you live nearby or visit the area)

  • As far as Space travel & spice were concerned, Dune mentioesn somewhere that other methods of space travel existed, but that this was the only safe one. Again other drugs were used to give Guild Navigtors prescience, but again Spice is much more effective [as well as bing addictive and fatal if you don't keep taking it].

    Shields *did* protect large emplacements [specifically the ducal palace], and AFAIK didn't necessarily kill the laser gunner - but the action of a laser hitting a shield causes a nuclear explosion, which was not good for anyone in the vicinity. However large emplacements were still vulnerable to infantry attack, and since most defensive weapons would also be stopped by shields, the benefit of large fortifications would perhaps be reduced.

  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @05:49AM (#1517112)
    One thing that is good is that the miniseries format is far more suitable for a novel of this scope than is a film. There have been several miniseries based on novels that have worked out very well, the ones that immediately stick in my mind are 'I, Claudius', based on the novels by Robert Graves, and of course the magnificent 'Smiley's People' starring Sir Alec Guiness, based on the John LeCarre novel of the same name.

    I know it is a bit much to expect that Dune will be done at the same level (I think that these two miniseries are the best things ever shown on television) - I am especially concerned that three two hour segments is not enough. But it could easily be better than the movie.

    By the way, I first read Dune in the original form published in the old large format Analog magazine when I was in my late teens. The Dune illustrations [] in Analog by John Schoenherr are still by far the best IMHO. Analog of that era was generally awesome, too.

  • Actually, it's a bit strange hearing anyone say "Young pup!!", especially Patrick Stewart.

    Yeah! Come to think of it, what other kind of pup is there? Aren't they all young? ;-)

  • The army using sound was mentioned in the book. They never used the actual wierding modules, but as I recall, when Paul and Jessica meet Stilgar for the first time, the same agreement is made in the book regarding teaching the Fremen to use it. I think the movie put far more significance (SP) on it than the book did, but it was mentioned. Other than that the movie was pretty good, turning a serveral hundred page book into a two hour movie means that a lot of things are going to get cut out or done poorly. Several other things that I thought were important were left out also. For instance, Paul being trained as a mentat, and the fact the Thufir Hawat was not only a mentat but also the Master of Asassins. One of the lines that sticks out in my mind from the book is by The Lady Jessica, "Where Thufirs Hawat goes, Death and destruction follow." Anyway, the book is at near the top of my list and the movie was not too bad, though I would give almost anything to see the original 6 hour version.
  • hope the series gives out more background information than the movie.

    You just need to watch the 3 1/2 hour version of the movie. Most of what happens in the book is what goes on inside each characters head. This is extremely difficult to capture in movie form. The long version of the movie featured a lot of these internal thoughts (done as reverbed voice-overs), whereas they were the first things to go when making the movie shorter. Unfortunately the only DVD version I've found so far is the short version.

    Personally, I thought the books were excellent. The first 2 or 3 hundred pages of the book is mostly setup and background information, kind of like setting up a chain of dominoes) and tends to read rather slowly. However, once I made it to the point where the dominoes start knocking each other over, I couldn't put it down. The same goes for most of the rest of the series, lots of setup, followed by intense action.

    Should be interesting to see how the new interpretation compares to David Lynch's interpretation.

  • They've GOT to cast Patrick Stewart back. I mean, he hasn't been in anyting GOOD lately. I think it would bolster his position in the Sci-Fi realm - show that he can play OTHER Sci-Fi roles other than my fav - Cpatin Picard. Ok, the Christmas Carol stuff was good, and so was the Tempest, but I think it'd be great to see hime reprise some older roles.
  • Well, I totally dig the movie.
    It's a unique vision of a sci-fi classic. I saw the movie long before I read the book, so I was happy to see more detail in the books. I expected that a LOT was left out of the book, because the thing's like ca. 600 pages long.
    However, having read the whole series, I was totally bored by #4, Oy that was some BAD writing!
    However, ChapterHouse Dune more than made up for it.
    There's actually a two-part chronicle of the different versions in "Video Watchdog" which I highly recommend of you're totally into tracking the different versions and why.
    Personallu, I'll take the original theatrical release.

  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @07:30AM (#1517123)
    You are missing the bigger picture here. The first few _Dune_ books are set in a world which is deliberately static to prevent a return to a period of human enslavement by machines. (The latter books show the consequences of the God Emperor and subsequent scattering.) Anyone who attempts to get an edge based on technology will be universally resented (Ix), with the people who manipulate the body (Bene T.) and mind (Bene Gesserit) not far behind. Such a society *will* reach a point where force and response are exactly matched.

    As for some of your specific points, the Guild controls interstellar travel but each major house is fully capable of "dropping rocks" on its enemy. Remember that the Atreides family nukes were stored on one of the moons. If they drop rocks, it was because of the same social pressures not to use nukes against a population.

    Also, I recall seeing nothing that said that a "lasgun" had any correlation to lasers. In fact, _Chapterhouse Dune_ has some comments from Idaho which clearly stated that lasguns and shields are both products of Hoffman's equation and that the "feedback" described in the first book falls out of these equations. No doubt you would immediately object that Idaho admits that nobody really understands those equations and hence it's inconsistent to claim that they're understood well enough to produce lasguns and shields. :-)
  • I love him with all my heart and soul, but keep him away from this baby. I'm still glad he never directed RotJ.
    my name is a killing word indeed.
  • W/o the stupid weirding modules and 80's induced editing of most of the drug references and implications (amazing that you can watch the whole film and never be hit in the head that this is a DRUG movie) this film would have worked - also minus the lame voice over. What I would have done (unheard of in the 80's) would be to make a 45 minute pre movie or long trailer explaining the background and hyping the movie at the same time. This could have avoided a hell of a lot of plot mangling and lame dialog. Visually the film was 80% on target except largely for the comical and totally laughable Harkonnens...more faults come to mind, maybe the movie did suck... I fully expect the SCIFI network to make an even worse film, their track record is low budget cheesy space opera crap...this is a book (like Cronenberg's lamentable adaptations - hey maybe HE should have stepped in for Lynch in '83!) that is never going to make a successful filmic translation. It should be left alone, truely excellent science fiction (and there's not much of it on the level of 'Dune' - Delaney is one of the few others who transcend genre to such a degree...) is far to intelelctually rich to escape Hollywood's inevitable Buck-Rogerization/Lucasification (Star Wars - what utter excrement!)
  • DUNE as you may or may not know is not only a movie, and a book, but a six book series that Frank Herbert wrote. The series is absolutely fantastic. Yeah, books 3 and 4 are kinda slow but 1,2,5 & 6 make up for it.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is Herbert wrote an awesome world and a fantastic story around the planet Dune. I understand Dune the movie got a lot of complaints from movie goers, but that is probably because they couldn't appreciate the wonderful world Herbert had created.

    It is a clear case of one of those movies - to really convey the wonder of the story - would have to be 4-5 hours long. But audiences don't sit for that long so Lynch had to do the best he could in the limited screen time. If I had never read the book I would probably think it sucked too.

    As it is, I read the book, and I think the movie is a fantastic visualization of the main parts of one of the most fantastic epic Sci-Fi stories ever written.

    -- Long live the fighters!

    BTW: Anybody realize that my pseudonym is a Dune reference? (Just not book 1).
  • The only ones who *ever* copied the BG powers was Paul, Alia, and Leto.

    Essentially the BG had developed an advanced yoga/chi physiological training for the human body, as well as tapping into 'spiritual' psychological threads of the human psyche.

    They had tremendous control over themselves, and because they knew the human body and psyche so well, had tremendous control over others.

    With the help of spice, they also had prescient powers.

    The Honored Matres, if I recall correctly, had, by and large, some degree of physical control over their own bodies, but without access to the spice, had no prescience and did not have the true ability of controlling others through Voice.

    They did have drugs, of course, but they had little in the way of powers compared to the BG or any of the KHs.

  • I'm afraid I don't really expect much out of a visual representation of the series. The problem is that Dune is a very internalized, very intellectual series. It's been a while since I've seen the movie (I watched it once and hated it), but I believe that it failed because it's very difficult to visualize the thoughts going through a character's head. They could try adding voiceovers to add that component in, but again, so much of it happens that every scene would take forever as each character individually voices his or her thoughts. Not only that, it would probably begin to grate on the nerves after a while. Despite all the above, I'll still probably watch the miniseries just on the off chance that it does succeed. Dune has to rate as the most extraordinary piece of science fiction I've ever read, and a well done TV movie version, even if it doesn't match up to the book, would still be a treat.
  • I don't remember any "sound" module stuff in the books. I think that you must be confused. The Weirding Way was the Bene Gesserit method of fighting. It involved having very finely tuned reflexes and staying at the edge of readiness.
  • It seems that there would be a market for the long version on DVD. I've seen several people mention it and I know that I would buy it myself. I wonder if there's someplace we can write to tell them that it really would sell.
  • You can read about Jodorowsky's Dune here: There is some fascinating concept art from HR Giger, as well as an incoherent ramble by Jodorowski. If I remember correctly, Herbert and Jodorowski had serious disagreements over the script... I think Jodorowsky wanted Duke Leto to be castrated onscreen, or some such nonsense. Ridley Scott (see Alien, Bladerunner) was also considered for the director's chair, and would have likely been the best choice for it, considering the alternatives.
  • It is by will alone I set my mind in motion, it is by the juice of sapho the thoughts aquire speed, the lips aquire stains, the stains become a warning, it is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
  • My bad, previous is wrong quote, I don't have my Dune DVD right now to check either. Sorry.
  • OK - 1 by 1

    Yes, the series was fantastic, with 2 book exceptions. I agree with 3 being terrible, but I much preferred God Emperor (#4) to the 2nd book. #3 was definately the worst. There is a 7th book now however - House Atreides by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson was released several weeks ago - it's a prequel and I liked it very much - we even get to find out how the Baron got so fat

    As for the movies...well, I am a huge David Lynch fan and was very disappointed with the results. Dune is, however, the only film I know of where the 'directors' cut is shorter than the extended release. Lynch had to petition the guild to have his name taken off of that horror which is now attributed to the psuedonym Alan Smithee

    The sci-fi channel has actually been talking about doing this for several years now - I keep hearing rumors that they will do it 'real soon now' but nothing ever comes to light. Remember, the film was originally going to be shot by a few different production companies before DeLaurentis finally did it - and if you liked the visualization that Lynch introduced, it was originally supposed to be doing, if I recall, by HR Giger

    But I babble - need more coffee. Bashar, by the way, is a reference to a military rank, equal to about that of a colonel or general, in the Dune universe. Though you may be thinking of the later books and Miles Teg et al, Bashars to surface earler on. I believe Dune mentions Sardaukar Bashar's...

    "Once more the drama begins"

  • by H3lldr0p ( 40304 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @09:09AM (#1517138) Homepage
    You're missing the whole point to what Herbert was talking about in the first place. Dune was never meant IMHO to be the Sci-Fi people believe it to be. For any careful reader it is more of an analysis of what Government really is and where Governments have room to move in.
    I ended up reading all 6 books in one 3 month streach a few years ago, and for the most part I never once was aware of Herbert trying to push any technological view of anything. He really goes out of his way to keep technology as far out of the turning points of his stories as one could possibly write. Hence, I believe the problems you have with the stories themselves. These are stories that are suppose to be about ruling a large population, and the reactions that people ruling have.
    If you have the time and paitence, re-read the books, but do so with a different mindset. Read them instead in the same way as you would read The Prince. Read it in the same way as you would watch Citizen Kane. This is what the stories are really about. Not Sci-Fi.
  • I may be getting senile as well ... however, I believe that the sound projectors were developed to get around the laz-gun_shield mutual dislike for one another. These were mentioned in the first book and pivotal for the "conventional" rise of House Atreids.

    btw, IMHO, movie sucked ... but how could it not?
  • I only saw the three hour version but I thought it was quite good. In fact, I saw it before I read the book. I admit, the book was better when I did read it, but, standing by itself, the movie was definetly one of the better ones out there.

    Every time it is on the SciFi I still watch it.

  • Yep... the gunner gets it also in the
    lasgun/shield interaction.
  • The greatest failing of the movie, in mine honest opinion, was that it attempted to achieve its atmosphere through whiz-bang special effects instead of through good storytelling.

    Two words: Weirding Modules

    I guess it was inconceivable that the Fremen were such good warriors on their own, so they needed those weird things. Unfortunately, I saw the movie first and was very much confused reading the books till I figured out those weren't in there.
  • I've seen the extended version of Dune on VHS at Sam Goody.
  • by TeknoDragon ( 17295 ) on Saturday November 20, 1999 @10:45AM (#1517146) Journal
    If everybody had access to space, you could just drop large rocks on your enemies. So, he places space travel in the hands of the Guild. However, if the guild is not held in check, they rule. So, the spice dependancy. Question: if spice is needed for space travel, how did we get to Arakis in the first place?

    well, I really liked the books (say 1,2,5,6 -- 3 was a snooze and 4 was halfway to a romance novel)

    but I believe the answer to your question is in the "Dune Encyclopedia" (wish I had one)... apparently there is some alternative to guild navigator travel, performed by computers/robots (i think) the only problem is the machine revolution and something about the computers/robots not doing exactly what they were supposed to (going too fast i think?)

    of course it's been a long time since I read this... so you should go check it out yourself

    I think that they should make more dune movies... someone should get Lynch on the phone (did I mention his nephew goes to WSU -- CE major and a good friend -- ahh bask bask bask)

    condense 2 and 3, leave out 4 -- taking a few years break, and do and release 5 and 6 within a few months of each other... I'd go! damn, I'd buy the DVD...
  • I'd definitely be interested in purchasing the long version (if not the rumoured 6+ hour version) on DVD. If it adds the introspective elements that others say it does, it'd be quite welcome in my home. :)
  • Seems to me the real question isn't whether Dune was a good movie; but, can the Sci-Fi channel make a decent mini/series. I'm sorry; but, their recent attempts at new series have just sucked. I'm a huge science fiction fan who will go see pretty much any sci-fi movie without much compunction and I have to say Farscape, First Wave, and Poltergeist are basically unwatchable.
  • had 15-20 minute introduction? I remember seeing a version that set the scene for the movie by explaining the background for Dune. There were a few artist renderings (evil machines enslaving humans, humans overthrowing them, etc.) that really put the movie in context.

    I had actually read the book a year or two before seeing the movie, and the prolog gave me information that I'd somehow missed in the books.
  • Dune was a fine film??? I liked it so much I haven't watched a Dino de Laurentis film since! I'm looking forward to the mini-series in the hope that it's no worse than the big screen version. In the mean time I think I'll just dig up the books again...
  • I agree. Dune was a great movie, what made it so special was the hand of David Lynch, who created a very intense athmosphere. I bought it on VHS and gave it to my girfriend. She saw it about 200 times..
    I also like the soundtrack, although I normally do not like Toto. There are some weak scenes in the movie, but in general, the athmosphere is great, especially with the harkonnens.
  • I always thought that was a pretty good movie.

    "I WILL kill you" - Sting

    yeah, I agree, anything in which Sting dies is worth seeing!

    On a more serious note, the navigator was awesome and Frank Herbert thought David Lynch did some very imaginative stuff (e.g. Italian Renaissance styling of the Emperor's court). It's all in his book ("Eye" I think).

    i would like to see a rendering of some of the later stuff e.g. Emperor Leto II and also Teg moving at superhuman speeds. Dune just rules.

    Chris Morgan

  • I'm not really looking forward to the TV miniseries version for the simple reason that it is bound to look cheap compared to Lynch's faithful adaptation which, let's face it, looked great on screen.

    The people who criticised the movie generally weren't those who'd read (and understood) the book. It has to be realised that because of the intospective nature of the story, without a constant stream of voiceover narration the movie would never be able to explain itself. To a large extent the novel was quite self-consciously about what people think but don't say out loud, and parts of it were even more abstract. Consequently any un-narrated movie adaptation had to be less directly representational and rather more interpretational or else it would simply fail to capture any of the flavour of the original. In that sense I feel Lynch certainly succeeded. The movie is clearly the child of the book in a way that most screenplays fail to be.

    For those who would maintain that this "art-house" style of production is pretentious or irrelevant, I'd like to remind them of Kubrick's wonderful 2001: A Space Odyssey whch also employed imagery rather than dialogue to build atmosphere and convey abstract ideas. Lynch is hardly less skilled than Kubrick in the use of imagery.

    Finally: You mentioned the weirding modules...actually the weirding modules were present in the original novel but occupied such a small amount of the text that they are easy to forget. Since most of the text was lost in transposing to the screen, the few bits of technology that appear tend to stand out in the film.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Absolutely...

    But the Irulan narration, I thought, was an attempt to bring across the feel of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. (as many of them were from histories Irulan wrote after the fact)

    I stopped watching the movie, though, once Paul started training the Fremen to use those "weirding modules".
  • The long version also gave me much more appreciation for Kyle MacLachlan (sp?) in the lead role -- who I thought was a lousy choice at first.

    I agree (and still do). MacLachlan was physically too tall and broad for the role. Paul was supposed to be of slight build, somewhat nerdish in appearance by todays standards. This was important in order to emphasize the intensity of the transformations he later underwent in becoming a man, a warrior, and a political leader.

    However I've read that MacLachlan was a fairly rabid Dune fan and it was he who convinced Lynch to do the film in the first place. I'd guess he intended to play Paul from the very start.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I have heard of this version... Yet all other information I have seen has only indicated the ~2 hour video release, and the three hour television release. Do you have any furthur information on the 27 hour version you mentioned?

    He's kidding, you dope. There's no such version.

    27 hours, my ass...

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Don't get me wrong. I didn't dislike the movie. I thought it was good, but I question a lot of the choices made, mostly the weirding modules one. I don't question the voice-over decision. I don't see how you could make the film without those. But the weirding modules, even if they were a small part of the book, did not need to be such a big deal in the movie. In the book, the Fremen are amazing warriors and fight basically hand-to-hand. But presumably the script-writer did not feel that this was believable, and so the weirding modules became the major catalyst of victory for the Fremen. This was understandably confusing for me reading the book later.

    Do you happen to know where the weirding modules were mentioned? I know they mentioned "the weirding way" quite often, since that was how they were all such great warriors. But I don't remember anything about sonic weapons in the book.
  • Yes , I remember Brussar and Miles Teg being Bashars . Heretics and Chapterhouse . Your Squire Squireson
  • I have to say I like book three 'Children of Dune'

    It is a wild ride watching Leto II make the choice.

    Maybe it is disliked as it is tragedy and does not have a happy or heroic ending.

    As a wholesale Dune Nut I am looking forward to any thing Dune'ish. Even bad TV Mini-S is something.

    PS: Watch me(The Fremen) get trashed by the Great Houses in a PBEM game here []

  • How did they get to Dune in the first place? Not too difficult, while humans required melange to see paths through space, later in the series it is revealed that there are mechanical alternatives (I don't remember these since its been a while) but they later use machines which can see through fold space. It can be assumed that these existed before the revolution. --I could be totaly wrong, but I believe it was something along those lines
  • I was at a science fiction convention a few months before DUNE (the Lynch movie) premiered. Frank Herbert was one of the speakers. He said, "It begins the same as the book, and it ends the same as the book, and I think that's about all an author can ask for."

    We in the audience had no idea how desperate Herbert must have been (at the time) to say something nice about the movie.

    My wife summed it up best: Herbert's novel was all about political struggle and environmentalism. Lynch made an action film.

    A friend of mine (Mark Leeper) enjoyed the film for providing illustrations of several scenes from the novel. Another friend of mine had a shorter, harsher review: "Yuchh, blech!"
  • 1. Set up a tripod with a lasgun on it.
    2. Set up a Timer to shoot the gun at the House Sheilds in an hour.
    3. Run.
  • The Honored Matres, if I recall correctly, had, by and large, some degree of physical control over their own bodies

    Some control? They had awesome control over their bodies. The BG's feared the speed of an Honored Matre attack, and the HM's were extremely skilled at sex.

  • Someone liked the Dune movie?! Kull wahad!

    The script appeared to be done by somebody who read the first few pages of the book closely, skimmed the next chapter or so, and talked to someone whose friend had read the book to find out about the rest. The movie was filled with gratuitous gross-out material; they totally botched the notion of the Voice; worst of all, they portrayed Baron Harkonnen as a buffoon.

  • HR Giger doing Dune? Yikes! That would be phearsome! I can't even being to imagine the how beautifully evil the Sardaukar and the sandworms would look. Maybe the stilsuits would look really spiffy and lo-tek in a futuristic way if Giger did the designs... Is it too late to get him to design the look and feel of the mini-series that's still in the works? =)
  • The major point youre missing is that herbert was what is known in academic circles as a soft science fiction writer. Herbert uses the various technologies to advance the story he is trying to tell. Herbert does not care weither they work under analysis or not, because they work for the story he is trying to tell.
  • Question: if spice is needed for space travel, how did we get to Arakis in the first place?

    If you check out the relevant entries in The Dune Encylopedia you will find the answer to your question. Specifically, it is possible to travel as the Guild Navigators do without the spice, but it is very dangerous and requires computers which are not available in the Dune world. Thus, Arrakis and the spice were found by travelling as above, and they haven't gone back since.

  • having read that rant, I am glad the that Jodorowski didn't get to make it.
  • Exactly!!

    Dune is about Government, Environmentalism, Religion, and Sociology, and how those interact when ruling extremely large populations.

    Its also about human evolution and potential (looks at the Duncan Idaho in the last 2 books, who also IMHO is the main character of the entire series, he's the only one in all the books, re-reading the series with that perspective changes things hugely).

    Also, Leto II made his decision to forestall a Berserker (a la Fred Saberhagen) type ending to humanity, at the largest scales the series is about Species Survival, period (the potential for this happening the first time was short-circuited by the Butlerian Jihad, the second by Leto's Peace and the subsequent Scattering).

    Remember, mechanical FTL space travel WAS available pre-Butlerian Jihad, and again in the No-Ships of the last 2 books, the Guild and Spice were just how it was done in the middle periods.

    The Empire was the Empire of a Million Worlds before the Scattering, and this was considered by Leto's visions to be too few baskets for humanities eggs to be in! at least when faced with the threat of Machine Intelligence Beserkers inimical to biological life.

    Well, enough rambling, I could go on all day about this stuff (read all 6 books at least 5 times each over the last 12 years, and they are vastly different each time, like Gurdjieff [sp?] Herbert sometimes reworked sentences to cram in up to seven differnt levels of meaning...I guarantee that whatever you think of Dune, more is lurking under the surface! :-)

  • Ok, lets just not have one of "the Nerds" from ROTN play Paul, especially not Lewis (Robert Carradine). I would NOT be able to stop laughing at the movie, if that hapened.
  • >He wanted witches, so he creates the Bene >Geserit. However, if they can develop the mental >powers they have, so could anyone else.

    and a group does develop them--they are a splinter group of the bene geserit in the last two books.

    >If everybody had access to space, you could just >drop large rocks on your enemies. So, he places >space travel in the hands of the Guild. However, >if the guild is not held in check, they rule. So, >the spice dependancy. Question: if spice is >needed for space travel, how did we get to Arakis >in the first place?

    space travel may have just been really slow until the human race stumbled onto Arrakis
  • I actually tried to read his little rant, but it was way too much. His total deviation of the books destroys the story. In his attempt to remove the man from the myth, he kills what is best about the Dune series which is the details.
    Yes, I'm also glad he didn't get near it. It would have meant an even swifter death. Although he movie was quite bad, it still motivated me to read the series of books. Seeing Jodorowski's crap would have made me flush the books down the toilet.

  • The fact that so many seems not to like it only
    makes me love it even more! *grin*
    It's so wonderfully _weird_!
    I _like_ not understanding what's happening
    until the forth time I watch it... :)

    I think it's about as good a The Matrix...
    Not sure which one of those is my all-time favorite...

    And I haven't read the books! :)

    /Daniel - weird == good
  • it was there... remember... Muad dib is a killing word... it wasn't just in the movie
  • After seeing the movie I re-read the book and I found a small reference to the weapons. I've just looked again but I can't remember where it was.

    I'm not sure the weapons were emphasized in the movies because someone thought hand-to-hand fighting was unlikely. It could have been because some self-important studio exec demanded more special effects (it being a sci-fi move and all).

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky