Dune (Film) Post-release thread (open spoilers from film)

He also had his shield on. Which begs the question…are they airtight? How long can you fight with the shield on?

Overall I liked it. I wouldn’t say I loved it. It fell a bit “flat” for me. A lot of quiet, subtle performances by actors taking place in cavernous, brutalist spaces, with lots of massive monolithic machines, all in a big desert.

I watched it on my 65" 4k TV and that felt too small.

I agree with one review that said the film “could have used some of the mind-bending strangeness of the David Lynch version”.

To be honest, I feel like to be done properly, Dune needs to be given the Game of Thrones treatment. Different POVs taking place at the same time over the course of 8 to 10 hours. I feel that’s the only way to flesh out all the players with sufficient detail. If I hadn’t read the book and seen previous versions already, I’d have no idea why Yuri, the Mentats, and some other key characters were important.

You know who I think would make a good Feyd-Rautha? Robert Pattinson. He was wonderfully unhinged in The King (also with Chalemet) as well as The Lighthouse.

Some pluses:

  • No “weirding modules”
  • The ornithopters were cool AF (although I have no idea why they exist).
  • No lengthy exposition by Princess Irulan reading from her stupid books.

I’m re reading Dune now. It mentions that air has trouble getting into a shield, which can lead to light headedness

A non-book reader I was watching the movie with also remarked on the similarity with Luke Skywalker, and thought it was a bit dated, but guessed that Dune pre-dated Star Wars.

One of the things I like about Dune’s take on the One is that is not a typical Messiah story. There was a few offhand remarks in the film itself about this, but it wasn’t made very clear like in the books, so I’ll spoiler box for potential book spoilers that might come to play more in part 2.

Paul isn’t the One because he was chosen by the Universe or Fate, but a Messiah manufactured by the Bene Gesserit as a result of thousands of years of genetic breeding. If he fails, they’ll just breed another one, and they might not even want him to succeed because they don’t have him fully under their thumb. SImilarly the Fremen prophecies don’t exist just because of Destiny, but were planted by the Bene Gesserit in order to control their society, and the prophecies are used to create a personal army for the Kwisatz Haderach.

Saw it tonight in the theater. Hardly anyone else in the theater (maybe 8 people) on a DFX screening at 10:30 on a friday, so that doesn’t bode well for its popularity, but that’s a sample size of 1 and I don’t even know if blockbuster movies draw crowds in the COVID era. This is the first one I’ve gone to in a long time. I’ve never actually read Dune - I’ve picked up on some of the mythology through cultural osmosis.

It’s definitely a Denis Villanueve film. Slow burn, long shots, beautiful, kind of cold and expansive, somewhat obscure. I thought the actual filmmaking was very good - we’ve moved too far in the direction of constant stimulation and change to keep audience attention and I enjoy his slower style of visual storytelling.

That said, I’m surprised they gave him a blockbuster budget. Dune would have to be a kind of difficult film that’s not very well set up for mass consumption. It seems destined to be like Blade Runner 2049 - beautiful, loved by many, a cult classic, but probably a popular flop and box office dissapointment. A guy like that is made for low-medium budget films that are out of the ordinary and strongly appeal to film buffs, not trying to create a blockbuster epic.

It’s pretty obscure and it’s very slow - which is not good for capturing modern audiences. I had a hard time keeping up at times, and would’ve had a harder time had I not known a lot of the background/mythology of the world from other sources. There were also times where the dialogue was kind of mumbly and, combined with using foreign made up words, left me wonder what was said a few times.

The way the story is structured, it seems to me like it’s a really bad story to break up into two movies. There’s no real satisfying middle point that serves as a good ending to the first film. So the first film ends up being mostly set up for the payoff of the second film - but the second film may not even be made. It really seems like you’d have to go in planning to film them both at once for this structure to have been a good idea.

I liked the visuals, the editing, the direction, the cinematography. Hard to judge the casting as someone who hasn’t read the books. I think I’m going to need to have the conclusion made and see that to really have an opinion on the whole story, so hopefully that happens. It was enjoyable as spectacle and as good filmmaking.

I thought the style of knife and sword fighting given the shield technology was pretty cool - but one thing I wish they’d have emphasized more was sort of the strategy/deception involved in scoring a slow kill. There were a few scenes that emphasized that to penetrate the shield the blade had to be travelling slow, but then in later action scenes it just looked like people were landing fast strikes and some of them were randomly connecting (red) and some were randomly bouncing (blue). It ended up being too generically “sword ninja kills a lot of people” when the film should’ve had a very distinctive and unique fighting style.

It would’ve been cooler, I think, to show the fights as a slower game of deception and strategy and manuevering than typical action swordfighting. Think of the horror and visual impact of someone distracting someone with quick attacks up front while they slowly sank an unseen dagger behind their necks.

I thought it was great. The best big budget spectacle I’ve seen in a while. I don’t have too many thoughts yet. My only regret is not seeing it on the big screen, but I’ll rectify that this week.

I recently re-read the book, so the differences were apparent to me, but i thought they all worked and made for a better movie than a straightforward interpretation would have.

I liked Stellan Skarsgård channeling Brando as Colonel Kurtz for his Baron.

Loved it. Unlike a lot of the posters here I thought Ferguson was great as Jessica. I haven’t read the books for over twenty years, though, so that may color my perception. But overall I thought it was a triumph.

My wife was really annoyed when she realized the movie was only going to tell half the story but she liked it too.

FWIW my theater was almost sold out at a 2p show time. Even the handicapped seats were filled with handicap people (mostly older people with walkers in those seats). Audience was quite a mix of people though. I’d say it leaned older though. Probably people who read the book in the 70s. Some young people though (21 and over only showing so everyone was at least 21).

It was a very big screen theater with Dolby Atmos and reclining seats.

Just my sample size of one though.

Each house has its own secret language (as well as sign language which you see Jessica use a few times). So, sometimes you were meant to hear someone speaking and have no clue what they were saying. Of course, the movie never explains that so you just hear some mumbo-jumbo.

I love Ferguson (personally, I think she is one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood today and a very good actress). I think she did a good job. I just don’t think her character was given the proper direction. We see Ferguson’s character kinda losing her composure at moments. Book Jessica held it together a lot better I think and was aggressive when facing various dangers.

Not a huge complaint of mine though. Just nitpicking.

Jessica was grief stricken in the book. Her love for Leto was so deep she betrayed the Bene Gesserit to bear him a son.

Yeah. In the movie Leto asks Jessica if she will protect Paul and she says she will with her life. Leto then says he is not asking Paul’s mother but the Bene Gesserit part of her (and she never directly answers that one but she’s come this far so I don’t think anyone would believe she’d bail on Paul ever).

This is also why I am mystified there is no Feyd-Rautha. Feyd was supposed to marry Jessica’s daughter and that union would produce the Kwisatz Haderach. When Jessica produced a son instead that scuttled that plan for the Bene Gesserit and pretty much sealed the deal that Feyd and Paul were on a collision course.

I’m curious what the non-book reader thought of the movie. I enjoyed it, but I did think it would be pretty confusing without having read the book.

I agree with those who thought Jessica in the movie was more vulnerable than Jessica in the book; they seem like very different characters.

I loved the movie. I thought it was gorgeous and it was very faithful to the book. I thought, “This is what Dune is supposed to look like.” The acting overall was pretty good, not great, but good enough.

The one thing I kept thinking though was that if a person wasn’t a fan of Dune (the book or previous adaptations) they were going to be lost. I’m a fan and I know the significance of things like the Crys knife, and I know what Mentats are, and the Orange Catholic Bible, and lots of other things. And I got what was going on with the visions and everything. It all made sense to me but I feel like a person going into this cold would be lost and frustrated.

The one thing I appreciated the most which seems ironic is that there were no surprises. Which sounds boring but I know Dune pretty well so I wouldn’t expect a “proper” adaptation to surprise me much. The deviations from the original story seemed minor and didn’t detract from anything, like Liet Kynes being female.

As a Dune fan I liked this film and hope we do get to see the conclusion.

He didn’t think the movie was confusing at all, and thought the plot was quite straightforward to follow even though not all of the background details about the setting were revealed. I think in this case having zero knowledge might have made it less confusing than having a little knowledge, since you don’t know which aspects of the original book plot are missing from the movie.

He didn’t think much of the whole Chosen One plot as regard to Paul, though. The original Dune isn’t exactly your classic take on the Messiah/Chosen One Trope, but for a first time viewer of the movie it could definitely seem that way since there’s only a few offhand sentences about it from the Reverend Mother in the movie.

I thought this was interesting (17.5 minutes). A peek at what the director was thinking when making the Gom Jabbar scene:

I’ve never read the book*, and I liked the film a lot. It’s the first thing that’s made me consider reading the book. I didn’t feel like I was having trouble following what was going on. I didn’t feel like any important information was missing.

I’m really looking forward to part 2, now.

  • I have seen the Lynch movie, but that was a cool looking mess as far as I can recall.

If you like reading sci-fi “Dune” is pretty great. Highly recommend it.

If I could only give someone three sci-fi books to read this would be one of them.

SF is about the only fiction I read nowadays, I read non-fiction exclusively for many years. I’m not into reading fantasy though, and Dune seemed to me like it might be more Fantasy than SF. Plus I tend to stick to more contemporary stuff, I read a lot of classic Heinlein, Clarke etc when I was a lad.

What are the other two? The Book of the New Sun?

That would be one of my three.

I had that thought as well. They make a point of showing how only a slow attack is effective against the shields, but yet the fighting style is still very much “Kahl Drago”, slashing and bashing. I would have expected more trying to pin opponents so you can push the blade past their shield.

I watched it again and still really liked it though. I do hope the second part gets made. My wife also watched it and she enjoyed it even though she only has a vague familiarity through seeing bits and pieces of the David Lynch film. I basically explained it to her as "it’s Game of Thrones in space. Harkonans are the Lannisters. Atraides are the Starks. Fremen are the Wildlings.

I also enjoyed Skarsgard’s more understated and less pedophilic portrayal of the Baron.

Liked the scenes of Paul referencing the Encyclopedia Galactica or Hitchhikers Guide or whatever online book they use for research in the Dune universe.

Also thought Rebecca Ferguson was well cast as Lady Jessica.

In the book, Jessica felt fear, uncertainty, and vulnerability, but she used her training to hide it. Still, there was an internal struggle.

That kind of thing is difficult to show in a movie, so I’d guess they took the approach of having her more outwardly vulnerable. I don’t see it as that radical a departure from the book.