Universal Pictures | Release Date: December 14, 1984 CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION
Mixed or average reviews based on 20 Critic Reviews
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It is a dark, spellbinding dream, full of murmurs and whispers, byzantine plots and messianic fevers. It finds its iconography of the future deep in the past. It's not always easy to follow, but it's even harder to get out of your system. For better and for worse, it takes more artistic chances than any major American movie around. [10 Dec 1984, p.93]
One has the sense before Dune is well under way that it is the kind of film that may reveal itself over several viewings -- and certainly, there seems to be $47 million worth of things to look at. But fidelity to the source can be a trap, and Lynch fell into it; his movie is big and splashy and nearly nonsensical. [14 Dec 1984, p.E1]
The only real heroes in this lumbering, over-inflated epic are the army of special effects coordinators and technicians who create a fantastic, otherworldly environment peopled by creatures more weird and threatening than Jabba The Hut. Freddie Francis' photography is constantly impressive. But technical wizardry alone cannot save Dune from a crash landing. [3 Jan 1985]
The movie is heavy on exposition, and the story isn't dramatized - it's merely acted out (and hurried through), in a series of scenes that are like illustrations. And, despite the care that has gone into the sets and costumes and the staging, the editing rhythms are limp and choppy.
When Dune is not inept, confusing, ridiculous or unpleasant, it's boring. [14 Dec 1984]
David Lynch's disastrous film adaptation of Fank Herbert's science-fiction classic turns epic to myopic. [14 Dec 1984, p.31]