MONDO EXTRAS

Or perhaps Dune 2000

by Aaron December 5, 2000
Dune Part One: Dune

Cut to a ship, leaving the planet's atmosphere and heading to the Heighliner. This is the first of what will be remarkably few instances in which this mini-series surpasses the Lynch film. At least the ships don't look like the bumper of a '57 Chevy anymore. On board the ship, Hawat (who still has not been identified -- in fact, I'm not sure the word Mentat was used even once in this production) tells Paul about the storms and giant worms on Arrakis. "It's not worms I'm worried about," replies Paul. If you keep eating duty for dinner, you should be worried. I'm just saying.

Elsewhere, the Guild Navigator is being brought into the ship. In that interview with the director I read, he gushed about how he had such a different vision for the Navigator than Lynch did. And I see his point. The big locomotive he travels in is now white instead of black. Makes all the difference in the world. Plus, his attendants don't have those slimy nose-plug things. Now they've got black pointy hats. The Navigator is wheeled into a room that looks like it belongs on the Death Star. We should all be eternally grateful that George Lucas decided to become a filmmaker rather than an architect, or else we'd be subjected to countless buildings containing nothing but tiny catwalks which stretch over bottomless pits. Then again -- no Jar Jar, so it might be an even trade. Annoying Loudspeaker Lady becomes Annoying Repetitive Loudspeaker Lady as she tells us twice that the Navigator is being locked down.

Oh. My. God. Now I see what he meant by "different vision," if by "different vision" you mean a bad CGI acid trip rendered on an old Apple IIe. The Navigator emerges from his locomotive. Picture (if you can) the giant Space Baby from 2001, with bat wings and the face from the human/alien hybrid at the end of Alien 4. That is just soooo...awful. And wrong. And awful again. At least they stayed faithful to the book's concept of folding space. Only they used an effect ripped straight out of Supernova. And when you're ripping off a movie as bad as Supernova before the first break, you've got problems. Big ones.

And finally, like a drop of pure, sweet water in the Southern Wastes, we get a commercial.

We come back to see Baron Harkonnen's face superimposed over Arrakis as he describes the feud between the Atreides and the Harkonnen. The superimposition special effect is really bad, by the way. The Baron is being played by Ian McNeice, who was in Ace Ventura 2 and also A Life Less Ordinary. Considering the audience for this movie, however, you guys probably know him best as the fat, germ-phobic traitor from No Escape. The Baron explains his plan. The Atreides will take Arrakis, their Spice production will fall, and the Harkonnens will move in and destroy them, thus saving the day for the Universe. Piter, Rabban, and Feyd look on admiringly. Piter, who may well be the most cunning and devilish character in the book, has been reduced to court jester status here, as he does nothing but play with a little toy while the Baron exposits. Rabban looks like he should. Feyd, on the other hand, looks like a little girl. Plus he's got one of those geisha fans on, only his is a big triangle. Needless to say, I'll be calling him Fey for the rest of the recap (in fact, according to Webster, he matches all three definitions). On the other hand, Ian McNeice is pretty good here. Certainly, the Baron is the best character to play, since he's totally over the top, but McNeice handles the evil/funny dichotomy pretty well. The Baron explains that he has planted a traitor in the Atreides midst. "By the time our traitor is revealed, the Atreides fate will be sealed," he rhymes as they superimpose his face again in the effect so not-nice they used it twice.

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Or perhaps Dune 2000

by Aaron December 5, 2000
Dune Part One: Dune Cut to a ship, leaving the planet's atmosphere and heading to the Heighliner. This is the first of what will be remarkably few instances in which this mini-series surpasses the Lynch film. At least the ships don't look like the bumper of a '57 Chevy anymore. On board the ship, Hawat (who still has not been identified -- in fact, I'm not sure the word Mentat was used even once in this production) tells Paul about the storms and giant worms on Arrakis. "It's not worms I'm worried about," replies Paul. If you keep eating duty for dinner, you should be worried. I'm just saying. Elsewhere, the Guild Navigator is being brought into the ship. In that interview with the director I read, he gushed about how he had such a different vision for the Navigator than Lynch did. And I see his point. The big locomotive he travels in is now white instead of black. Makes all the difference in the world. Plus, his attendants don't have those slimy nose-plug things. Now they've got black pointy hats. The Navigator is wheeled into a room that looks like it belongs on the Death Star. We should all be eternally grateful that George Lucas decided to become a filmmaker rather than an architect, or else we'd be subjected to countless buildings containing nothing but tiny catwalks which stretch over bottomless pits. Then again -- no Jar Jar, so it might be an even trade. Annoying Loudspeaker Lady becomes Annoying Repetitive Loudspeaker Lady as she tells us twice that the Navigator is being locked down. Oh. My. God. Now I see what he meant by "different vision," if by "different vision" you mean a bad CGI acid trip rendered on an old Apple IIe. The Navigator emerges from his locomotive. Picture (if you can) the giant Space Baby from 2001, with bat wings and the face from the human/alien hybrid at the end of Alien 4. That is just soooo...awful. And wrong. And awful again. At least they stayed faithful to the book's concept of folding space. Only they used an effect ripped straight out of Supernova. And when you're ripping off a movie as bad as Supernova before the first break, you've got problems. Big ones. And finally, like a drop of pure, sweet water in the Southern Wastes, we get a commercial. We come back to see Baron Harkonnen's face superimposed over Arrakis as he describes the feud between the Atreides and the Harkonnen. The superimposition special effect is really bad, by the way. The Baron is being played by Ian McNeice, who was in Ace Ventura 2 and also A Life Less Ordinary. Considering the audience for this movie, however, you guys probably know him best as the fat, germ-phobic traitor from No Escape. The Baron explains his plan. The Atreides will take Arrakis, their Spice production will fall, and the Harkonnens will move in and destroy them, thus saving the day for the Universe. Piter, Rabban, and Feyd look on admiringly. Piter, who may well be the most cunning and devilish character in the book, has been reduced to court jester status here, as he does nothing but play with a little toy while the Baron exposits. Rabban looks like he should. Feyd, on the other hand, looks like a little girl. Plus he's got one of those geisha fans on, only his is a big triangle. Needless to say, I'll be calling him Fey for the rest of the recap (in fact, according to Webster, he matches all three definitions). On the other hand, Ian McNeice is pretty good here. Certainly, the Baron is the best character to play, since he's totally over the top, but McNeice handles the evil/funny dichotomy pretty well. The Baron explains that he has planted a traitor in the Atreides midst. "By the time our traitor is revealed, the Atreides fate will be sealed," he rhymes as they superimpose his face again in the effect so not-nice they used it twice.

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