August 17, 2016
Kyle MacLachlan writes, at long last, a Dune we can follow
by Ian Dreiblatt
Recently, Twitter user @lifeofkeira asked actor Kyle MacLachlan a fairly reasonable question:
@Kyle_MacLachlan can you explain Dune to me please
— kirr (@lifeofkeira) August 16, 2016
By “explain Dune to me,” she of course meant, “tell me wtf is going on in Dune, David Lynch’s legendarily disavowed and too-complicated 1984 screen adaptation (starring a young MacLachlan) of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic, which won the first-ever Hugo for best novel.” MacLachlan’s answer was, as they used to say on the internet, flawless:
🌏💧✋🕋🗡🚀🏜☀️🌡🌶💯🚱⏳🌅🌑😡💉😱😈💀💥🌛🌙🐭💥🚶🏻〰🐛️⌛️👳🙏💥😴🛌😳💥🐛💥👊⚔👑 #dune https://t.co/bXwpdYC8jz — Kyle MacLachlan (@Kyle_MacLachlan) August 16, 2016
Actually, while general consensus regards the film as an incoherent wrap of familiar elements hacked up and soaked in cheez on par with the Whopperito, a vocal (and correct) minority have praised it (Andrew Stimpson, for instance, wrote at The Quietus a few years ago that “despite [its] shortcomings, Dune still manages to scale brilliant heights”). More recently, the collective hipster imagination was set ablaze by Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary about cult filmmaker (and prodigious author) Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doomed attempt to adapt the novel, before Lynch took over:
It is worth noting that Lynch was at one point being considered to direct Return of the Jedi, which invites us to picture scenes where, say, Jabba the Hutt awakens with no memory in a suburban diner and must reconstruct his past from stolen data tapes, or the Emperor unzips his skull to reveal a demitasse of kerosine and spaghetti that sounds like Buddy Holly. Alas, though, even as the world readies for another (particularly significant) Stars Wars Reads Day, these are but vain imaginings.
Here in reality, MacLachlan’s tweet will certainly take its rightful place among the great two-dimensional sci-fi adaptations of our time. As for the alternate universe in which Jodorowsky made his Dune and David Lynch directed Jedi: it is a richer place.
Ian Dreiblatt is the director of digital media at Melville House.