DUNE is an odd film. After having watched it several times over the years, I'm not afraid to call it a very flawed classic. That sounds strange, but it fits for this movie. Lynch got so many things right, but in the end the shortcomings of trying to squeeze an epic story into a little over 2 hours was simply too daunting a challenge. Besides, I'm sure many went into the theatre expecting a film in the vein of STAR WARS.
DUNE is not a story with which one can delve into brainless. It does require thought, for it's inaccurate to portray it as anything less than a thinking person's story. It's not space battles, laser-gun shootouts, funny aliens, etc. There's nothing wrong with those things, it's just not what DUNE is about. It touches on everything from politics, religion, ecology, the true power of the human mind and will when fully realized, God, etc. Some heady stuff.
So imagine trying to fit all that in a movie.
Lynch got the feel, the imagery down, but wasn't able to cohesively bring the story around w/o really making it a Cliff Notes version of the story. You get the main gist, but don't get the "full story", the themes, etc. So in the end it does disappoint because you're left wondering what may have been had the movie conventions of that time allowed for a 2 or even 3 movie epic. Oh wait, STAR WARS did that. I guess DUNE wasn't viewed as bankable enough to make such an investment.
Anyway, I still like the film a lot. The visual realization by Lynch makes it a classic in my book, too bad it couldn't be matched by an equally strong script. I wonder if Peter Jackson would be willing to tackle another 3 film epic? Hmmmmmm.....