Pressed inside an old book of mine is a gray sheet of paper, folded in uneven quarters, titled “Dune Terminology.” On it, there are thirty-seven words and phrases, including a baffling array of place names (Giedi Prime, pronounced “Gee-dee”), machinery (ornithopter, a “small aircraft capable of sustained wing-beat flight in the manner of birds”), and rituals (kanly, a “formal feud or vendetta under the rules of the Great Convention”).
Moviegoers with tickets to David Lynch’s “Dune,” which premièred December 14, 1984—I saw it on opening weekend at a mall, in suburban Buffalo—would have picked up the glossary from a stack as they entered the theatre, though the guide was unreadable in the dark, and it contained more than a few spoilers. To the novice, it must have looked like homework. It must have looked like no fun at all.
Dune | In Theaters and HBO Max on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021
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