The Cinematic Flowering of Dune

Dune afficionados: What’s wrong with this picture? Besides Sting in a metal diaper? Composite created by the New York Post.

Denis Villenueve may have finally reached the mountain top. Solved the mysterious Poincaré conjecture, created the Philosopher’s Stone, discovered the ruins of Atlantis. That is, as a movie director, he may have finally made a version of Dune that doesn’t need to be remade.

Fourth time’s the charm? Or maybe it’s twelve, if you count all the games, sequels and such–there are apparently fourteen books. (I read five, back in college). Let’s stick just the cinematic versions here: the Bad one, the New one, the Forgettable one, and the Psychedelic one. My fellow Frank Herbert dorks, I promised a review in my last blog (about the Roots of Dune). Links will be attached. Shade will be thrown. Sleeves are being rolled. Let’s compare Dunes.

Whose Idea Was THAT? The Bad, the Forgettable, and the Psychedelic

Why did Dune need so many remakes? Well, there was this one:

Lynch’s 1984 Dune. So much promise. So much wasted.

Patrick Stewart has always been one of the greatest actors on the planet… (see I, Claudius, Episodes 5 & 6). But Gurney Halleck wielding a 20th century rifle, carrying a pug into interstellar battle? Just say no.

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The Roots of Dune

Dune, 1990 edition, cover art by Frank Herbert

I give you fair warning: I am a Dune Dork.

I read all the books when I was a kid, i.e. in college. I had a poster for the upcoming 1984 Ridley Scott movie on my dorm room wall, facing my roommate’s life-sized photo of Spock. I owned the Avalon Hill game of Dune, which I regretfully gave away years ago because I thought it was too dorky to own and too complicated to play.

Dune is coming–a fourth movie version–yes! there are four. That’s how dorky I am, that I know about the Jodorowsky version. If you aren’t quite so enamored, I do understand. Some people prefer Xena or Ernest Hemingway. But Dune was a landmark in science fiction history, so I am excited. I will tell you more about Dune, the movie history, in a later blog. And I will review the movie after I see it on October 26th at the 2:40 pm show in seat B9, hoping not to be as disappointed as I was on December 17, 1984 when I saw it at the big dome at the Century Theater in Sacramento.

But wait, there’s more! Because we were out a wanderin’ and came upon the Dune Peninsula. (!!!?!?!!)

The Dune Peninsula

Imagine, if you are a Xena dork, coming upon the location where they filmed the Xena’s death scene–the first one. Or, if you like Ernest Hemingway (for some reason I can’t fathom, but to each his own), his favorite tobacconist in Paris. I own a second edition paperback of The Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones). During a tour of an ancestral home in Scotland, where our tour guide happened to be the Earl of Something, he casually mentioned that they had filmed a scene from Season 3 of the show out on his estate, near the folly. Squeee!

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Logo-philia

Def: Noun
1. a love of words

Large open book with magnifying glass
My 25 lb OED requires a magnifying glass to see the citations. Photo by kajmeister.

I was trying to understand the roots of the words gymnastics, which came from the Greek gymnasium. Was it a word about activity? A place where you do activity, or with the body, perhaps? I was given another word gymnanthous which was defined further as achlamydeous, and I vented that this was the problem with dictionaries. You look up a word, and it hyper-links to another word you don’t know and so on. (Achlamydeous=having neither calyx nor corolla). Like googling websites, you link and link, and suddenly it was a rabbit hole that ate up a half hour of your day.

Yet, it was glorious, wasn’t it?

Apparently, I’m not alone. When I put this on social media, I found that I know many people who get starry-eyed at the thought of dictionaries, many who used to thumb through them at leisure, and some who own them. My People! (They also are quite fond of buttered toast, but who isn’t?)

dictionary close-up
Through the magnifying glass of my OED. Photo by kajmeister.
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