Dune versus Hollywood: why is Frank Herbert's spicy sci-fi saga so hard to film? 


Within three minutes of David Lynch’s infamous adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune, the floating head of actress Virginia Madsen has introduced us to “spice”, a precious substance that can expand consciousness and propel people through the universe, along with a galaxy ruler named Padishah Emperor Shaddam the Fourth, desert people known as the Fremen, a planet called Arrakis, three other planets named Caladan, Giedi Prime and Kaitain, and the dynasties that rule over two of them: House Atreides and House Harkonnen.

Madsen’s explanatory narration was a last-minute addition to assist potentially baffled audience members. Needless to say, it didn’t much help.

There are few films that necessitate…

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