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Author Topic: Dune (1984) is the film Steampunk ?  (Read 1534 times)
Patron Zero
United States United States

« on: March 29, 2015, 07:26:16 am »

Mind if we step back from the Spacers Guild and said travel, the feel of the 1984 film, Dune has a very steampunk flavor in my opinion.

The technology, wardrobe and various set designs simply cry Victorian albeit if gazed through such tinted goggles.

Arguably the various Houses might have varying 'internal' affections of dress and all but the Imperial Court with it's uniforms and great ladies attire have a feel of London about them.

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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 07:55:19 am »

Was there ever any question?  David Lynch's movie markedly differes from the Frank Herbert novel in the style and presentation of the characters.  The uniforms of the House Atreides being so militaristic - the so steamy "diagnostic bed" of the traitor Dr. Wellington Yueh, and the presentation of Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV.  Reminds me of the pomp of middle 19th. C European fashions. The Harkonnens remind me of the the dirty days of the Industrial Revolution and unchecked greed.

In contrast, an if I remember correctly, the (2000-2003 mini series?) re-make and sequels gave Arrakis a "neo-Judea" atmosphere with the Harkonnens being more akin to Romans in Biblical times, so the Steampunk element vanished.

I find it interesting that movie critics poo-pooed the 1984 movie like no other:
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Rogue Ætherlord
United Kingdom United Kingdom

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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 04:03:41 pm »

I always thought the original novel(s) had more of a Middle Eastern/Arabic flavour. They were/are some of my favourite books.

But I also liked the look of the 1984 movie which definitely had some Imperial aspects. And, despite the changes and rushed ending, it remains one of my favourite movies. Especially the 3-hour extended cut.

I also liked the two TV versions of 'Dune' and 'Children Of Dune'. I was sorry that they didn't continue to adapt the rest of the series. I would have loved to see the stories featuring the Duncan Idaho 'ghola'.

I await the long-gestating new version (announced in 2007 and STILL in pre-production!) and hope it's successful enough to warrant a number of sequels.

Anything's better than yet another Star Wars reboot...  Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 08:02:47 pm »

I would say that it isn't overall Steampunk, but has some beautiful Steampunk props and general atmosphere.

But yeah - absolutely incredible cast, wonderful cinematography, great sets and locations and props and costumes - and DiLaurentis still made a shambles of a truly great story.  I saw it the first night it came out, shortly after I had re-read the book, and was threatening to track down and physically punish DiLaurentis.



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Siliconous Skumins
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Rogue Ætherlord
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 07:45:13 am »

I think the thing with David Lynch's movie was that it was an attempt to convey the fact that artificial intelligence and advanced computers are prohibited - something that is difficult to do visually without actually spelling it out....  But if you dress the set in a way that makes you think of an old fashioned Victorian style, then generally your own brain says "no computers". It's a simple but effective mind trick, and it's a common ploy used in films (an example is the 'old and rusty' Tower Bridge set in the second Sherlock Holmes movie, DESPITE the fact it was clearly being CONSTRUCTED and therefore would be new and shiny!...The audience needed to think history means old, therefore old = dirty.)

BUT I did read Dune, and I have to say, I did think some of the descriptions were somewhat steampunk-like, such as the description of the hover lights etc. Mind you, I had seen the movie first as a child, so the aesthetic style was pretty firmly set in my mind...  Grin

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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 05:57:10 am »

Have read the book, and saw that be honest, I don't think it's aged all that well (but for cheese, that's actually a good thing...Wink When I first saw it, it was state-of-the-art, but actually, I liked the Sci-Fi channel miniseries better, but ask me again about that in twenty years...Wink

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