A Seriously Nerdy Discussion Of ‘Dune’ (Between Two Siblings)
So, this summer I went to Manomet, MA on vacation with my siblings. (See Anne’s “Roll it in Jimmies”, parts I and II.) We spent many of our evenings on the ocean-side deck outside of our hotel room engaged in scintillating conversations peppered with the occasional, inventive name-calling. On our last night, the topic turned , as it so often does with us ; to movies and my brother spent the better part of the hour telling us about a science fiction/fantasy film that he loved. During his vigorous re-telling, he made mention of warring wealthy families (Altreides and Harkonnen, specifically), betrayal, assassination, super human breeding programs, imaginative weaponry, sandworms, urine drinking, manipulation of the space/time continuum, mélange…it sounded fantastic. Though I needed no further encouragement after he uttered the phrase, “a suit that recycles urine – you drink your own pee,” he whipped out his laptop and produced an amusing photo of Sting, who is in the film. I immediately snatched his computer and updated my Netflix queue.
The film of which he spoke is none other than David Lynch’s Dune, a movie that I had managed not to see until recently, when I watched it for the first time last week. The following is the subsequent conversation which transpired between my brother and I, via the internets:
Iago Valentine: Hello, f**k face!
Janey Pancake: So, per your enthusiastic suggestion, I watched Dune. I wanted to love it…
JP: And I didn’t.
IV: Perhaps, it was too awesome for you to understand. That can happen.
IV: Why don’t you tell me what you didn’t understand (like) about it…
JP: The Baron of the Harkonnen house was too repulsive for me to look at and I had to watch half of the movie with my hands over my face while I stifled my gag reflex.
(Thanks a lot, David Lynch, you almost made me puke.)
IV: Good point! They did too good of a job on that.
IV: But, we can’t detract for doing something too well.
JP: The names…I know that it is part of the sci-fi/fantasy stock and trade to be inventive with the names, but Kyle Maclachlans’s character – Paul Atreides (Muad’Dib, Moule frites, Quiznos Ballsack) had a thousand of them, roughly.
IV: I think the problem is you cannot see yourself as a cosmic super being.
JP: No, I don’t think that’s it. Also? The inner monologues….I just found them off-putting. So….I found myself finding the whole thing very silly – what is it that you love about Dune?
IV: Kwisatz Haderach. First of all, everything! The idea that I could be a genetic super being without knowing it is cool.
Second, that I could get stuck on the super harsh planet (Dune) where the only people that can live there are mega badasses is also cool.
JP: But what if your name ends up being a Killing Word and you accidentally massacre all of your friends when you introduce yourself?
IV: That’s even better! I love the scene when they find out that Paul’s name is a killing word! It’s all part of the cosmic chosen one fantasy.
JP: So, why did Paul need all the names?
IV: You know a big part of this comes down to whether you started having sex in high school or not.
JP: Hmmmmm. So, you’re saying that a person who didn’t have sex in high school would find this movie to be awesome?
IV: If you did, this probably isn’t that interesting, if you didn’t the idea of being a secretly special super awesome guy that is going to come back one day and everyone is gonna be like “wow he’s so awesome now!” “I wish I had had sex with him in high school.” This formula also applies to dragons and wizards…
IV: At it’s heart it is a revenge movie.
JP: Sure – but I didn’t feel like the relationships were remotely passionate – Paul didn’t seem too arsed about his father’s death…
IV: Aha! See, that’s because he has such good control of his emotions, he is the Kwisatz Haderach.
JP: His reaction was all, “I know. I’m making a flan for dinner. With Melaaaaaaaaaaange.” He played it more like he had no emotions to repress/control.
IV: See everyone totally thinks paul is a fancy lad rich boy and they count him out and then boom he shows up and is like, “hey assholes, I just rode a giant sandworm, so get ready to suck it!” I may have ruined it for you with my story telling powers.
JP: I believe you may have done.
IV: It also helps to be doing something while you are watching it, like making a costume.
JP: Or 200 light sabers? Sabre?
IV: Light saber.
JP: Also, you don’t know my life – maybe I was making a costume when I watched it.
IV: 200 light sabers is ridiculous, Jane. Were you?
JP: Fine, 100 light sabers and don’t pretend like that isn’t a feasible goal. Yes.
IV: What costume?
JP: I want to be Wendy for Halloween (from The Shining).
IV: That’s not… that isn’t a proper costume…that’s a skirt and sweater and a polo mallet.
JP: Are you going as Paul Atreides MOOOOOOOOOules (frites) Shadrach Ballsack?
IV: Kwisatz Haderach. If I had a still suit, yes.
JP: No, it’s a frumpy turtleneck sweater, a plaid shirt, an additional sweater, greasy hair and a knife.
IV: It recycles your pee so you can drink it.
JP: You can drink it.
Have you read the book, Dune?
IV: I have.
JP: How does it compare to the film? Did you read it before or after you watched Dune?
IV: Saw the film first, and I think the movie (Lynch version) is better. He got all the funk…plus! Sting is in it.
JP: Why were people consuming the extracted yuk from the Baron’s pustules?
Just to be disgusting, or did it have a purpose? Sting was hilarious looking in it, I’ll give you that.
IV: Basically, it appeals to people that are probably secretly super beings that are chosen by fate to kick asses. That was just to be freaky gross. But, hey this is David Lynch.
JP: So, not in the book then – Lynch-ian creative license?
IV: Very much Lynch.
JP: Yeah. Fucking gross, is what it was.
IV: Well yeah, but also scary.
JP: Do you know how the film was recieved at the time?
IV: You mentioned that he has a lot of names…
JP: Oh yes! Back on track!
IV: It was met with mixed results. It had a lot of competition though. So, Paul keeps picking these names for himself and they all turn out to be fulfilling prophecies.
JP: 1984 – what other films were released in the sci-fi genre?
And why does he feel the need to pick all these different names? Frequent name-changing usually indicates mental instability.
IV: Repo Man, Terminator, Star Trek: the Search for Spock
2010 for christs sakes! Oh! And Buckaroo Bonzai! Which you’ve never heard of.
JP: Let’s talk about Patrick Stewart for a moment…
JP: Vampire, or Alchemist?
IV: I love Patrick Stewart.
JP: Because he looks the EXACT same in Dune as he does now. I love him too.
IV: I feel it in my pee pee. Yeah, he is an immortal.
JP: I personally think he drinks the Elixer of Life
IV: Like the Highlander.
JP: Yes. What is the name of the movie you watched all the time when you were a kid – with the martial arts and the pommel horse?
IV: the government keeps Patrick Stewart in an underground chamber when he isnt acting
Gymkata and I watched it more like 5 times Jane. You watched The Man from Snowy River all the time.
JP: Whatever. Five times isn’t enough? Also, so what?
IV: So that’s lame as shit.
JP: No, awesome.
IV: Is he a secret super being?
JP: Patrick Stewart?
IV: He wouldn’t last 10 seconds on Dune.
JP: Or The Man from Snowy River?
JP: Bullshit – they breed them as tough as coffin nails in the high country.
IV: Patrick Stewart did last like 10 years on dune! He loved it!
JP: He drank his own pee
IV: He drank his own pee all the time!
JP: Just like you.
IV: Just like m…hey! You better watch it.
JP: So, we have established the following:
Paul Atreides drinks his own pee.
Patrick Stewart is a cosmic super being.
IV: Did you catch in the movie Dune how Paul had been programmed to fulfill all the prophecies and he didn’t even know if he was legit or not?
JP: The Man from Snowy River is awesome.
IV: TMFSR is not awesome.
JP: No, I was too busy making my costume.
IV: Well then.
JP: And covering my eyes. And sleeping.
IV: snort. I don’t think you even watched it jane
JP: I tried….
IV: I think you should get a big glass of pee and watch it again.
IV: And think about all those people in high school that were mean to you.
JP: If only I had had sex with them.
IV: and how your going to explode their heads just by screaming your name at them.
That’s my final thought. Kwisatz Haderach
JP: Thank you, I want to pick the next movie….
IV: You are welcome and ok.