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:: Making a Better Dune ::

A new Dune, eh?

I don't read a whole lot of books. Save for my ever growing collection of comics and graphic novels, my book collection is limited to a select few of science fiction and esoteric novels. My most cherished of these is Frank Herbert's groundbreaking epic, Dune. Published in 1965, it would go on to win many literary awards and spawn a series of books considered by many to be The Lord of the Rings of science fiction.

Dune is also no stranger to Hollywood. First adapted to the big screen by director David Lynch in 1984, it was most recently re-imagined as a critically acclaimed miniseries on the Sci Fi Channel. But studio execs aren't finished yet. Recently announced is a new theatrical production of Dune helmed by The Kingdom director, Peter Berg, for an anticipated 2010 release.

As a concerned fan, I present to you now 5 ways to make a better Dune movie...

1. Keep it visual

David Lynch's 1984 Dune is easily one of the most dazzling and visually impressive films I have ever seen. Everything from the golden sheen of the Imperial Palace to the grime of the Baron's chambers on Giedi Prime, it has a unique style and flair matched perhaps only by Blade Runner. Moreover, the costumes are an eclectic mix of outlandish pomp and abstract design that give the characters an almost mystic quality. And who could forget the imagery of the blue-on-blue eyes of the desert-dwelling Freman?

To be certain, one of the Dune's most defining aspects is how vividly Frank Herbert described the universe he created. Should the creators of this new Dune film decide to take a more subdued, minimalist approach in set and costume design, they would be missing out on a major aspect of the story. A darker, perhaps more gritty look than Lynch's Dune would be acceptable, but it must be dark in an over the top, fantastical way.

2. Keep it mature

The recent Lord of the Rings trilogy proved that fantasy can be marketed to a mature audience with both critical and financial success. Certainly an epic science fiction tale can be made without it being a Star Wars wannabe or Will Smith action flick. Dune is a complicated story ripe with political intrigue, a large cast of multifaceted characters, and religious overtones. Should these be dumbed down for the lowest denomination of movie-goer, the final product would be slumped in mediocrity.

Look to the Sci Fi Channel's outstandingly good re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica for an example of how to do this right. Despite its corny 70s source material, BSG is easily one of the darkest drama series to hit basic cable.

3. Keep it timeless

This is one aspect of Battlestar Galactica that may prevent it from becoming a future classic is its headline-ripping tendencies to make social commentary. Will BSG be as powerful to future generations? Maybe. But so much of its impact is dependent on post-9/11 paranoia and fear.

Regarding Dune, it would be very easy to turn it into a criticism on the war in Iraq and the Bush administration. All one would need to do is replace Freman with Iraqi, spice with oil, and Sardaukar with US soldiers and they'd have a biting social commentary that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of Dune's true message. I can just imagine the Baron Harkonnen played by a Bush lookalike.

Tell the story Herbert imagined, not what will give you brownie points with liberal critics.

4. Keep out the trash

I swear, if the role of Paul is played by Hayden Christensen, Shia Labeouf, or Justin 'Mac guy' Long, I will have no other choice but to boycott this film. Both Kyle MacLachlan and Alex Newman portrayed the lead character wonderfully despite being relatively unknown actors at the time. A suitable newcomer would only feel right in the new Dune. I would also accept an odd cameo or two...something on par with Sting as Feyd in Dune '84.

5. Don't fear the trilogy

Finally, my last hope is that the filmmakers don't feel the need to tell the massive story of Dune in a single outing. Heck, even in TV miniseries form, nearly 5 hours wasn't enough to tell the story without omission. Broken up properly, Dune has every chance of becoming the next big Hollywood trilogy.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I think it's about time sci-fi made a comeback at the box office--and Dune is just the vessel to do it.

:: Dead End ::

Well, that's all for this week. I trust you enjoyed your trip into this shadowy nether-realm known only as the K-Files.

For the latest updates on the world of Khyron, bookmark http://www.khyron.net/. With content updated regularly, you're sure to find your fix for all things entertaining and paranormal. As always, feel free to send any questions/comments/suggestions to KFiles@khyron.net.

Keep your eyes peeled for the next  K-Files, arriving sometime next week. Later.

~Khyron, 2007.


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