I am revisiting Dune again. In the book series I am reading Frank Herberts God Emperor of Dune once more. The books are awe-inspiring in there scope. I make no apologies for discussing Dune again as I feel they demand deliberation. I have started the books again due to the new Denis Villeneuve movie version of the first book being released. I was reading the fabulous blog that illustrator Ron Miller wrote on the 30th Anniversary of the David Lynch film version. He was the production artist and his wife, Judith, made and designed some of the model ideas. Ron writes with great gusto about the intricate detail that went into the production. How each planet had its own unique identity and how all the artisans teamed up to make the highest quality film possible. They started around 2 years before a shot was set up.
Ron’s concept art is incredibly exciting to see. Ron is supremely talented with his work and you can see the influence in the movie. His paintings and ideas would be a perfect match with people like Tony Masters. Tony was the production designer behind 2001 a space odyssey. What a task they had. While Arthur C Clarkes and Frank Herbert’s come from the same type of scietific background. Frank was an early adopter in protecting the planet and creating sustainable eco systems. His Dune series of 6 books use his beliefs infused with religion, politics, war and mysticism. They are almost a cult in their own right. Many, including me, believe the books are the best series ever written. That is not just Sci-Fi but all catagories. How do you illustrate that? It can’t have been easy but on reading Ron’s blog you get the feeling that the team really enjoyed that challenge.
The pre production art is a thrill. Even at that stage you can see how the film was developing, even in its infancy, having the right crew working on its elements. Once the blueprints were created the sets and models could be built. Now film work is green screen and CGI (and there is nothing wrong with this) but for me the look of real sets and design cannot be beaten. Artisans such as the wonderful Carlo Rambaldi and those stunning ‘illusions’ and creature creations are now influencing the new breed of films that are not just relying on CGI. Instead we see films complimenting each other with practical and CGI working together.
This brings me onto a fan edit of the film. You can find it on the internet to download. The fan that created it is called ‘Spicediver’ and the film is called Dune Alternative Edition Redux. It runs at 178 minutes and the film is the best cut I have seen so far. David Lynch may never re visit the film so we have Spicediver to thank. He did the most superb job of readapting the footage and placing scenes in a more cohesive order. He than added some of the known deleted scenes and colourised them in order to make the film flow. At last we have a version that will hopefully last until David decides to create the film he wanted before the studio got its hands on the edit.