Awful Sci-fi Tech: Dune

Dune Fatman

Many science fiction films portray the future as a beautiful place where sleek chrome ships glide through skies, cybernetic servants cater to our every whim, and war is but a distant memory. In Dune however, the future is apparently the 70s. Drab, puffy-haired men wander around cheap sets in a druggy haze while mumbling vaguely religious threats, everyone wears unflattering jumpsuits, and seemingly, only three colors of paint exist: brown, green, and burnt orange. But most importantly, Dune takes place in a future where humans have seemingly disregarded all previous technological advancements in favor of a bunch of crappy stuff they found in junkyard somewhere.


Poisoned Blade Suit


Blade Suit

At the end of the film the main character engages in hand-to-hand combat with peripheral character Sting (does it really matter why?). The first problem with this: Why exactly is an unknown character who's abeen in the movie for approximately 18 seconds taking part in a final battle with the hero? I don't even know who he's supposed to be. An evil warlord? Somebody's troublesome nephew? A saintly old peasant who delivers gifts to the tiny sand children? It's shockingly vague. Secondly: Sting cheats horribly with this ridiculous blade weapon, and nobody seems to care in the least.

Dune Blade Suit

At one point the two are grappling and the blade suddenly shoots out from Sting’s side (see, up there ^). Well, I think it’s his side, I couldn’t really tell due to the poor editing. Anyway, I guess cheating with hidden weapons in an honor battle is allowed in the world of Dune, because nobody in the crowd seems to show even the slightest hint of concern (or interest for that matter). Well here, check them out:

Onlooker 2
"What is that smell..."
Onlookers 1
"I'm comprised of sturdy plastic!"
Onlooker 3
"Ooh! Someone just goosed me!"

Honestly I can’t even imagine any case where a side-knife would be remotely useful anyway. In fact, it seems more than a little dangerous. Imagine if you fell on the thing the wrong way, or if you were giving your wife a hug and it came sliding out and cut open her stomach lining, or even if you were pushing through a crowd at the state fair and it sliced open some kid’s throat and he fell limply to the ground gushing blood, opening and closing his mouth like a suffocating fish. Boy would your face be red.



Voice Activated Gun Things


Voice Activated Gun

Yes this is exactly what it sounds like. See, the people in the distant future thought guns would be easier to use if you had to attach a goofy dog collar to your neck and yell a bunch of gibberish into a microphone to make guns fire. It's much easier than taking a split second to squeeze a trigger. How come we don't create guns like this!? Oh, that’s right, because it’s really, really stupid and utterly absurd. That’s probably it.

There's also the issue of safety. It’s hard enough for me to adjust the mic sensitivity on a computer, I’m not sure I would trust myself to do it correctly on a deadly firearm. Just imagine the gruesome accidents that would occur because of ambient noise if you had the gun calibrated improperly. If you're cleaning the thing and the doorbell rings, your brains are probably gonna get spattered all over the wall. What a bunch of garbage.

Voice Activated Gun 2
Idiot.



Sandworm Gill Prying Shovel


Sandworm Shovel

This is by far the dullest invention in Dune: A spiny bent shovel. And what overly-specific and pointless task is it used for you ask? Why climbing onto the back of a giant sandworm so you can ride it of course! The fuzzy main character guy jams it into a the thing’s sandgills, hangs off of a while for kicks, and then throws a rope over its back so he can climb up and ride it to the enemy base for no apparent reason while firing a six shooter in the air and shouting wee-hooo! At least, that's what I dreamt when I fell asleep during this stupid scene.

Sandworm Shovel 2

Just like in the rest of this movie, none of it makes any sense. Why doesn’t the worm just dive under the sand? What good is it bringing it to the enemy base? All it does is sit there. Nobody is afraid of it. The enemy doesn't even seem to notice, and who can blame them, they probably see these worms all the time, they live in the damn desert! And what is with all work they put into getting on top of the thing?! You have flying ships; just have someone fly you up there and jump out if you really want to get there so bad!  Or even better, just fly the ship to the base. AAAAAGGGGGH!



Floating Assassin Needle


Assassin Needle

Unnecessary? Check. Inefficient? Yeap. Overcomplicated? No doubt. Uh huh, sounds like this invention perfectly exemplifies Dune's technology. Technically this needle is supposed to float into someone’s room, use its sensors to detect them, and then fly over and inject them with its mysterious poison. And wouldn't you know it? Just like every invention in this film, it doesn’t really seem to work as advertised.

For one, the damn thing floats around buzzing like a dremel tool, so it isn't going to be taking anyone by surprise unless they're deaf, old, or asleep. I guess they also used some cheap parts for the sensors as well, because they don't actually seem to be able to sense anything. In the movie, it enters a reasonably well-lit room and can’t even spot the doughy hockey-haired protagonist standing directly under a light bulb. Then some cleaning woman blunders in and the thing lunges straight towards the door as it opens. So if I've got it straight, all this supremely advanced piece of technology from the future really does is fly towards anything that moves, which means it would also attack:

  • Pets
  • Television Sets
  • Insects
  • Curtains Blowing in the Breeze
  • Clocks
  • Flickering Lights
  • Spider Webs Near an Air Vent
  • Other People in the Room

Shame on you Dune.


Dune Sting


P.S. If any of the information in this article seems inaccurate to you, it probably is because frankly this entire movie was like one long fever dream to me and I can't remember most of it.