It is the poetic story of a young man's rise to greatness in a galactic empire more than 900 years in the future.
Frank Herbert's 1965 book Dune has enraptured generations of science fiction fans and inspired films including Star Wars and Alien.
This year's film adaption, which premiered in London on Monday and hits cinemas in the UK tomorrow, has been well-received by critics.
But, in stark contrast, the £40million 1984 cinematic attempt was panned by viewers and critics alike, who branded it a 'turkey' and a 'real mess'.
Despite having an all-star cast which included Patrick Stewart, Max von Sydow and the musician Sting, the film suffered from a complicated plot, unconvincing special effects and ridiculous costumes.
Its director and screenwriter, David Lynch had seemed a safe pair of hands after delivering Oscar-nominated The Elephant Man.
He unsuccessfully attempted to transfer Herbert's complex interwoven plots to the screen - telling the story of the desert planet Dune (also called Arrakis), where the mind-altering drug spice fuelled space travel and hero Paul Atreides battled giant sandworms.
Atreides was portrayed by debut star Kyle MacLachan, whilst his enemies – the revolting Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and his nephews Glossu 'The Beast' Rabban and Feyd-Rautha – were played by Kenneth McMillan, Paul Smith and Sting respectively.
Scantily-clad Sting's appearance was especially vilified, with the Daily Mail's critic saying he appeared to be wearing a 'nappy'.
By all accounts, this year's film – directed by Dune super-fan Dennis Villeneuve – is much better, with Timothee Chalamet in the starring role as the heir to House Atreides.
He appeared on the red carpet in Leicester Square alongside co-stars Zendaya and Jason Momoa.
It is the poetic story of a young man's rise to greatness in a galactic empire more than 900 years in the future. Frank Herbert's 1965 book Dune has enraptured generations of science fiction fans and inspired films including Star Wars and Alien. But, in stark contrast, the £40million 1984 film adaptation was panned by viewers and critics alike, who branded it a 'turkey' and a 'real mess'. Pictured: The musician Sting, who starred as the evil Feyd-Rautha, was pilloried for his 'nappy' costume; the film's poster
Herbert's book – the first in a saga – is set in the year 10191, where spice – also named melange – is the most valuable substance in the universe.
Its only source is on the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards the planet to Duke Leto Atreides (Paul's father) and ousts the Harkonnens.
But when the Harkonnens refuse to give up their fiefdom, Paul is sent to lead the Fremen – Arrakis's natives – in a battle to regain control of the planet and the precious drug.
The book was so successful that it was cited as the world's best-selling science fiction novel in 2003. It is considered by some to be the best novel ever written in the genre, with critics at the time calling it as one of the 'landmarks of modern fiction'.
However, attempts to turn the story into a film have proved far less successful. The firs try, in 1971, ultimately never came to fruition.
Cult director Alejandro Jodorosky approached Mick Jagger, Orson Welles and even the painter Salvador Dali to star in a 14-hour epic which he wrote a phone book-size script for.
Villain baron Vladimir Harkonnen (left) was portrayed by Kenneth McMillan in the 1984 film. In the new version, he is a rather more sinister figure - played by Stellan Skarsgård
Critic Roger Ebert said Dune's sandworms appeared to 'come out of the same factory that produced Kermit the Frog'. Above: The warms are seen on set during filming
This year's film adaption, which premiered in London on Monday and hits cinemas in the UK tomorrow, has been well-received by critics
After two and a half years of development, the project was scrapped – after millions of dollars had already been spent.
Other attempts – by Ridley Scott and Arthur P Jacobs – also failed to get off the ground.
When Lynch was signed up for the version that did succeed in being made, there were high hopes.
With the novice Maclachan signed to play the lead role, Francesca Annis came on board to play his mother Lady Jessica.
Patrick Stewart – who was at that point best known for his critically-acclaimed roles in TV and theatre – played the warrior Gurney Halleck.
However, the film was ultimately a box office bomb and grossed less than $31million – meaning it lost money.
After its release, Lynch disowned the film and claimed that he had been denied full artistic control and final cut privilege.
Hero Paul Atreides was portrayed by debut star Kyle MacLachan in the 1984 film. In the new version, he is played by Timothee Chalamet
English actress Francesca Annis played Lady Jessica - Paul's mother - in David Lynch's 1984 film. In the new version, she is depicted by Rebecca Ferguson
Patrick Stewart – who was in 1984 was best known for his critically-acclaimed roles in TV and theatre – played the warrior Gurney Halleck. Josh Brolin plays Halleck in the 2021 version of Dune
Sean Young played Paul's lover Chani in David Lynch's film. In the upcoming version, she is portrayed by Zendaya
Duke Leto Atreides - Paul's father - was played by Jürgen Prochnow in the original film. The updated version has Osacr Isaac in the role
In his brutal assessment of the film, the Daily Mail's Shaun Usher wrote at the time: 'Should your Christmas concerns include finding the turkey, then worry no more, for I fear that Dune is it.'
He questioned why Sting's 'evil princeling' wore a 'nappy' and also wondered how characters survived bareheaded on a planet which required them to wear 'elaborate protective suits'.
Usher said it was a 'shame' that producer Rafaella De Laurentiis's project had ended up looking as though it 'might have been done 'out of malice by the author and genre's worst enemy'.
He added that none of the film's multiple plot lines were made clear and took aim at Lynch's heavy use of dimness and shadow, saying it made scenes struggle in 'bleary vistas of coal-cellar gloom'.
In his brutal assessment of the film, the Daily Mail's Shaun Usher wrote at the time: 'Should your Christmas concerns include finding the turkey, then worry no more, for I fear that Dune is it'
The then novice star Kyle Machlachan played Paul Atreides. He is shown above besides the knocked-out Glossu 'The Beast' Rabban (Paul Smith)
José Ferrer is seen above as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV. Critic Shaun Usher said it was a 'shame' that producer Rafaella De Laurentiis's project had ended up looking as though it 'might have been done 'out of malice by the author and genre's worst enemy'
Respected critic Roger Ebert said the film was a 'real mess' and an 'incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time'
Lynch directed Dune four years after being lauded for his work on the Oscar-nominated The Elephant Man. The director of the 2021 version is Denis Villeneuve, who loved Herbert's book when he was young
The critic ended his piece by saying that whilst all-star cast 'unavailingly' did its best, the venture would 'irritate fans of the novel by its bungling and leave newcomers bewildered'.
The influential U.S. critic Roger Ebert was even harsher about the film.
He said it was a 'real mess' and an 'incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time.'
Frank Herbert's 1965 book Herbert's book is set in the year 10191
Taking aim at everything from the stars' performances to the special effects, he added: 'Dune' looks like a project that was seriously out of control from the start.
'Sets were constructed, actors were hired; no usable screenplay was ever written; everybody faked it as long as they could.
'Some shabby special effects were thrown into the pot, and the producers crossed their fingers and hoped that everybody who has read the books will want to see the movie. Not if the word gets out, they won't.'
By contrast, Villeneuve's 2021 version has gone down well with critics and is set to do the same with viewers from Friday.
The director first spotted the book when he was a biology-obsessed teenager. Mesmerised by its plot – which also grappled with religious, political and environmental themes – Villeneuve was hooked.
He told the Associated Press that the book 'became an obsession'.
'My movie is not an act of arrogance,' the director added.
'It's an act of humility. My dream was that a hardcore fan of `Dune' would feel that I put a camera in their mind.'
His $165million (£120million) project found its feet when producers Mary Parent and Cale Boyter acquired the rights.
While making the film, Villeneuve kept Herbert's book at his side when on set and encouraged his cast and crew to read it closely.
'I will not say `Dune' is an impossible task. I think it's a difficult one,' he added.
'Creativity is linked with risk. I love to jump in with no safety net. It's part of my nature.'
Rebecca Ferguson portrays Lady Jessica, whilst Oscar Isaac plays Paul's father. The film also stars Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling and Stephen McKinley.