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David Lynch wades through dark waters in his adaptation of Frank Herbert's cult science fiction novel. In condensing Herbert's rambling and complex book by eliminating characters and compacting events, Lynch succeeds in rendering the story incomprehensible to those unfamiliar with the novel and making the film look like a sketchy greatest hits collection of the book for Herbert fans. The story takes place in the year 10,191. The universe is governed through a system of feudal rule, presided over by Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (José Ferrer), who appears to take his marching orders from… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 55%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Most sci-fi movies offer escape, a holiday from homework, but Dune is as difficult as a final exam. You have to cram for it."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Lynch's third feature may have been a commercial disaster, but it gets under your skin and is marked by unforgettable images and an extraordinary soundtrack."
‑ , Time Out
"Underrated, especially for devotees of the book. An impressively faithful if necessarily streamlined adaptation, though heavy on industrial-looking art direction and grotesque makeup effects."
‑ Fr. Chris Carpenter, Movie Dearest
"There's not a shred of humor in it, and it's a bleak look at humanity's future. But I was swept into the fantastic world."
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"It's not for everyone, but if you don't mind the brain-bending confusion of the plot and occasional feeling of '80s high camp, this isn't as bad as its detractors would have it."
‑ Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine
"The problem is that the imagery isn't rooted in any story impulse, and so its power dissipates quickly."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"This movie is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"An incoherent, strange, plotless, poorly structured mess that has to be seen to really be believed."
‑ Christopher Runyon, Movie Mezzanine
"What we get, at best, are enthralling shots. At worst, most scenes seem out of a stilted chamber-drama, with backstory-burdened dialogue and stiff lines. A soporific languor often takes hold. Certain moments just come off as kitschy."
‑ Brian Gibson, Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
"Mammoth, unwieldy and completely ahead of its time."
‑ , Film4
"Dune is a huge, hollow, imaginative and cold sci-fi epic."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Several of the characters in Dune are psychic, which puts them in the unique position of being able to understand what goes on in the movie."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Critics at the time labeled it "confusing"; I don't see how, considering that you hear what everyone is thinking, all the time, and they repeat their key thoughts constantly so that their actual acting never has to do the job of telling the story."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, Topless Robot
"Misconceived, incomprehensible, and only decently executed, Dune is arguably Lynch's weakest film in an otherwise brilliant output."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Visually delightful but choppy, confusing, and overloaded with exposition."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Dune on Rotten Tomatoes

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