Written by Old Bluffer 20th Feb 2007
Please read the death of Duke Leto before reading this death.
Poor old Sting barely gets any screen time in this confused screen version of Frank Herbert's classic novel.
Indeed, all he really gets a chance to do is grease up his torso and sneer cockily, which he does capably well.
At the very end of the film (some three hours if you have the "extended" TV version), Paul Atreides has come fully into his powers as the Kwisatz Haderach (which can be translated as the Messiah, Chosen One etc - all that is really important to know is that a prophecy predicted he would one day totally kick arse, and he did).
He therefore takes control of Arrakis, humbles the emperor, treats the Spacing Guild with contempt (they really hate that) and wipes out House Harkonnen, thus finishing his dead father's work (Duke Leto and Baron Harkonnen were at war).
Things aren't quite finished though, as Paul spots Sting's insufferably smug grin in the crowd and immediately challenges him to a knife fight.
This is all very well, but even at the start of the film we saw that Paul was given the very best of training with hand to hand weapons, and since then he's been on the Spice Melange version of the Atkins Diet (Spice grants all sorts of super powers in the Dune universe). This, coupled with the fact that he is also the Kwisatz Haderach, means that we're not really in too much doubt over who is going to win.
This matters not a jot to Feyd (pronounced "Fade") though. He has spent all 3 minutes of his screen time being utterly arrogant, and he's not about to stop now that he's been asked to do a climactic knife fight.
After a brief bit of bloodless grappling, Paul judo-throws his opponent onto the floor, ramming his knife up through his chin and into his brain at the same time. Then, just to show what a complete stud he is, he bellows a Word of Power which smashes not only the Harkonnen corpse but the very stone tiles beneath him.
The watching Fremen warriors are not slow to appreciate the significance of this. They use sonic weapons to amplify their shouts, but Paul has just demonstrated that he doesn't need mere technology - he can destroy people with just his voice.
Now that he has the awe of everyone in the palace, Paul wraps up the film by using his powers to conjure up a mighty rain storm. Arrakis' mean rainfall over the past several million years is approximately 0mm, so this is yet another feat that impresses the locals.
Old Bluffer's Thoughts on the Film "Dune"
The Dune novels are some of the greatest sci-fi works ever written, but I wouldn't want to inflict this film on anyone who isn't familiar with at least the first book. The story is just too clumsily condensed for the big screen to make sense.
However, for fans of the book, the film manages to become something of a cult classic. Particular highlights for me were Patrick Stewart's Shakesperian interpretation of the Troubadour "Gurney", and the over the top electrical guitar score by "Toto".
The special effects are admittedly dreadful, key plot elements have been changed or omitted, and the Herbert universe is explained in painfully clunky fashion (even resorting to "as you know..." dialogue at one point). I have the TV edit too, which opts for the narrative device of badly drawn crayon sketches with a weak narrator to try and explain about a hundred pages of the novel. This goes on for so long you will think you are watching a surreal version of "Jackanory".
BUT - it's still a classic sci-fi tale, and until someone extremely brave steps up I think David Lynch's effort will be the best screen version we've got.