FT Top 100 Films
35: DUNE

I’ve never really “got” David Lynch. Possibly because I saw his a few of his films before I could “get” them. I saw Blue Velvet as a sixteen year old, and was a bit bored. A fourteen year old me saw The Elephant Man and just associated it with David Lean and/or teatime Dickens adaptations. And the first David Lynch film I ever saw was Dune. And I really did not get that.

It was on video, which probably harms its panoramic scale, and was my choice at the video store. Of course it was. I was twelve, and it was science fiction. Problem is, when something is your choice, everyone else in the family blames you if it is rubbish. We all made the straight to video errors of the early video years (Combat Academy – please…) but this had been a proper, cinema film. It had Sting in it*. And it was an epic shmumble schmumble….

I was not allowed to pick the family video for about six months after Dune. I think my Mum got up to wash some curtains after ten minutes. My sister drifted off, she may have even fallen asleep. And my Dad, who had read the first Dune book, said that it wasn’t as good as the book. And then he said “and the book was rubbish too”. He is right of course. The book is rubbish, which means it is a bit of a mugs game basing a film on it. It is even more of a mugs game basing a film on a book that is six hundred pages long. It was a mistake Hollywood keeps making, cf Bonfire Of The Vanities and the stupendously poor Clan Of The Cave Bear. Good beach reading = poor film. (Stephen King is a genre to himself in this catagory.)

Did this prime me to not understand David Lynch, or is it just that there isn’t much to understand. His last few films I have actually really enjoyed, but even he would admit that Dune was a mistake. Too many gingers, too many fat people, giant worms and (say it in hushed tones) “The Spice”. At age twelve I did not like spicy food. Spicy movies lost me all credibility in my family, were dull and left me bored.

*Yes yes, but we didn’t know that in 1985.