Dune is a sci-fi classic, and a weird one at that. Based on Frank Herbert's novel, Dune attempts to bring to life what is left to our imagination in the book. The results are somewhat mixed, but are mostly positive.

Dune (Arrakis) is a planet that is the center of the universe: it is only here that the spice Melange is available. The spice allows Navigators (humans that have imbibed too much spice and have been mutated by it) and their Guild to "fold" space and time and travel from location to location without physical movement of their bodies. The spice is what makes travel and trade possible between distant star systems and whoever controls Dune controls the Universe.

Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (Jose Ferrer), the ruler of the known universe, feels threatened by the rise in popularity of Duke Leto Atreides, and orchestrates a plan to eliminate him. The plan involves pitting the Atreides House against the house of his bitter enemy Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Kenneth McMillan), by asking him to take control of the spice mining operations on Dune.

As the Harkonnen's vendetta against the duke leads to his death, his son, Paul Atredies and his mother escape from their captors as they are about to become fodder for the giant sand worms that live on Dune. They soon run into the inhabitants of Dune, the Freemen and Paul (or Muad'dib, as he is known to Fremen) trains them the "weirding way" which involves the use of sound in battle. The Fremen then began to wage a war against the Harkonnens under the leadership of Paul which leads to an ultimate confrontation between the Fremen and House Harkonnen and the Emperor. Paul Muad'dib then fulfills an ancient prophecy and Arrakis is never the same again.

The film is pretty weird and it is hard to describe, which is what makes it appealing in my mind. The acting by the primary protagonists isn't too great and that detracts from a decent (but compressed) story line. The villains, including Sting (Gordon Sumner) as the cool but psychotic Feyd Rautha, fare much better. Dune is definitely worth renting and seeing again and again for its complex story line and the mythology it builds.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org