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Dune - Denis Villeneuve to direct!


womblingfree
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It’s a film that is easy to admire, but hard to love. The costumes, set design, effects are all wonderful but it’s such a cold film with a few exceptions. Paul’s mother and father’s love for their son does manage to sneak out from beneath the cloak of pomp and circumstance - but the story is a string of defeats which make for a rather somber ride. It also failed to capture the feeling of political paranoia that I remember from the book (though it’s been a good 20 years since I read it). The doctor’s betrayal would have benefited from it, instead it seemed like the worst plan ever by a smart man that seemed to come a little out of nowhere.

 

I think I’ll re-read the book and give this a rewatch at some point to properly evaluate how successful it is as an adaptation. I’m in for part two, hopefully some of the underused characters will be back too.

 

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11 hours ago, boomeh said:

I don’t think I’d watch it again.

 

Just so folk know where I’m coming from, I’m someone who’s seen the Lynch version probably half a dozen or so times and loved it enough to seek out fan edits of more complete versions which in turn was what finally pushed me into reading and adoring the book. 

 

To sum it up in a sentence, I don’t think the story is very well suited for an action forward approach. Imagine the sci-fi version of game of thrones writ large on an imax screen, but where there might have been scenes of careful political manoeuvring, cloak and dagger palace intrigue and perhaps a few plain old quiet moments of thoughtful introspection, in its place is now the all mighty and near overwhelming pomp and bombast of a modern blockbusters expectations. Perhaps this was always going to be the case, it being a movie as expensive and as risky but this was an exhausting movie to sit through. It felt like it hardly ever let up in its pace, just to give me a moment to breathe or to simply enjoy and get properly invested in what ever was going on at any one time. As soon as one story beat had started it’s over and we’re on to the next thing and it got to the point where I honesty started to get quite bored about half way through. By jamming more of the book into its running time than ever before, I felt it’s eyes were too big for its stomach because it ultimately lacked what it needed for these moments to feel anyway significant to the developing story. It’s a failing of the screenplay ultimately because as much as the movie is beautiful, both visually and audibly engrossing, the plotting is very much from the school of “and then, and then, and then” way of story telling. Sitting there watching characters I’ve known and loved in multiple iterations from both the book and the previous 1984 movie, whose motivations, inner thoughts, fears and desires are now all either removed or heavily cut down and mentioned in a brief moment before all hell breaks loose again, it was hugely disappointing.

 

Id say also that as the depth of all the characters are reduced down to make way for the action to take centre stage, despite how much death, havoc and destruction is brought down on everyone the whole experience still felt anaemic to me. It also wasn’t helped that the main cast (minus Jason Mamoa - who felt like he was in a different movie) were all wet blankets. The actor who plays Paul is mostly just there in his scenes. There is very little for him to do here, mostly a passive observer to the movies great juggernaut of machinery to find time to act like a human and emote a little. Say what you want about the lynch movie but he really nailed the brief and touching moments of humanity in his characters. Paul greats his friends with a warmth and humanity that feels completely natural and charismatic. The scene where Thurfir Hawat, the Atreides master of spies meets Paul before they leave for Arakis there is palpable warmth to their interaction, they share friendly banter and while the main reason they need to talk is a serious one, it never escapes your attention that these two characters see one another as their close and dear friend. I really missed this closeness of characters in this movie which I think was the movies main reason why it failed for me. They were nearly entirely lacking in personality. Also no offence to Stephen McKinley but he’s no Freddie Jones. 
 

I also couldn’t shake the fact that the soundtrack got pretty generic as the movie marched relentlessly on and while it sounded better in the movie than in the trailers it’s used in, the all too familiar ethnic moans and yells felt like they were on a loop for most of it, it just rubbed me the wrong way.
 

Sorry for the dump

 

I think this is Villeneuves weakest film to date and while I’ve not seen Incendies yet it would have to do a hell of a lot of things wrong to outshine this for the top position.

 

I think you've a bad case of double adaptation-itus.  🙂

 

There's far more of the novel's character and politics here than you got out of the film. It follows its own rhythm and specific beats fall by the wayside. That the cost of more naturalistic story telling and characters.  

 

I can see why you bounced off it.  I had to relax to "oh they're not doing that bit..." a couple of times.  

 

Spoiler

They skipped the who's the traitor in our midst plot line.  But then we get bits like the BG loyalty issue between the Duke and Jessica. 

 

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I saw in the email newsletter for my local indie cinema that it was coming here for a couple of days in November.  Figured I'd go and see it.  Then my missus pointed out that it was the David Lynch film that was coming to our cinema.  Now I'm definitely going seeing it!

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Watched this today - haven’t read the book/haven’t seen the Lynch film. Did play a lot of Dune 2.

 

I thought this was excellent - loved it and echoing thoughts above it needs to be seen on biggest screen possible and I’d happily have sat through part 2 straight afterwards.

 

Im up to preemptively crowd funding dump trucks of sand to be emptied out in front of Warner Brothers to ensure part 2 goes into production right now.

 

Ideally it would be coming out a year from now as I now want to read t books, but also don’t.

 

 

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I think that they have really nailed the book - everything was pretty much exactly as I would have expected it to be, with a couple of exceptions.

 

The lack of trust for Jessica within the Atreides ranks, and Leto’s absolute trust in her was completely missing, along with Duncan Idaho’s drunken ranting (left him looking like a guy with no flaws whatsoever). The whole matter of ‘who is going to betray us’ is a huge part of the book and wasn’t even touched on here. It still worked itself out in the end but it’s a bit of a shame we didn’t go there. Dune basically did what GoT did (but first obviously) so they could have capitalized on that a bit.

 

Liet Kynes didn’t talk at all about planetary reformation, which was his (her) entire raison d’etre? Makes me think they have no intention of ever going beyond the first two books. 

 

And we got a nice long look into the mouth of a sandworm, and there was no sign of heat or flames - but I think the more detailed information about them didn’t come until later books so maybe that’s why.

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Saw this last night and absolutely loved it. Proper Sci-if. Can’t wait to see it again. 
 

On a side note what is it with cinemas these days and seemingly not being able to calibrate theirs screens? The movie looked amazing but there were times where I’d be fairly confident in saying it would have looked better on my oled at home. 

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Projectors simply can't match the dynamic range of an OLED.  Higher effective resolution though when running off film - even a 35mm film has an effective resolution of 5-6K (let alone 70mm, IMAX etc.).  Ofc so many movies are projected digitally these days anyway.

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Also saw this last night, I'm a big Villeneuve fan and I think it's sitting at 7/10 for me. If I had my way every film would be able to take it's time and find a tone like his films, and this feels a little like trying to make his style a little bit more palatable to people who just want a blockbuster.

 

Spoiler

The big problem with Dune is how laden the opening is with exposition, the 1993 one goes on for 25 minutes with setup, and none of it actually matters for the story itself, Pilots and mentats and  the Butlerian Jihad and Ixian machines never appear, so this does the smart thing and ditches it all.

 

And Paul is already a bit of a Mary Sue the moment the book opens, what with his centuries of eugenics making him into the perfect being, as well as knowing the secret techniques of a bunch of important factions, etc. Timothy Chalemet brings some relatability to him, making him seem like a regular rich kid who wants to bunk off from his role. So, smart choices with the script.

 

The visuals though, there's some nice production design here, but if I were to sum up it's look it'd be austere. The ships and architecture are abstract and featureless. There's no golden hour shots of the desert looking lovely with it's multicoloured sands, it's all very bleached out and harsh - the colour tone of the movie almost all the way through is a solid frame of beige.

 

But yes, the big problem is it doesn't have an ending, I'm a bit puzzled at the claims that "they found a nice place to end it" because they run around in the desert a bit, have a badly choreographed fight sequence and then cut to credits with nothing having been achieved. And it's amazing how that just kind of deflates things - it doesn't make any of what you saw bad, but it makes it harder to recommend, you know?

 

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It's fucking dumb considering part 2 hasn't been green lit yet. I'd be happy to change my opinion to "don't waste your time" if that does happen to be the case as time goes on. 

 

It's half a story. It does end,it's not a stupid cliff hanger like a TV show, but it ends in the same way back to the future does. 

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7 hours ago, RubberJohnny said:

Also saw this last night, I'm a big Villeneuve fan and I think it's sitting at 7/10 for me. If I had my way every film would be able to take it's time and find a tone like his films, and this feels a little like trying to make his style a little bit more palatable to people who just want a blockbuster.

 

  Hide contents

The big problem with Dune is how laden the opening is with exposition, the 1993 one goes on for 25 minutes with setup, and none of it actually matters for the story itself, Pilots and mentats and  the Butlerian Jihad and Ixian machines never appear, so this does the smart thing and ditches it all.

 

And Paul is already a bit of a Mary Sue the moment the book opens, what with his centuries of eugenics making him into the perfect being, as well as knowing the secret techniques of a bunch of important factions, etc. Timothy Chalemet brings some relatability to him, making him seem like a regular rich kid who wants to bunk off from his role. So, smart choices with the script.

 

The visuals though, there's some nice production design here, but if I were to sum up it's look it'd be austere. The ships and architecture are abstract and featureless. There's no golden hour shots of the desert looking lovely with it's multicoloured sands, it's all very bleached out and harsh - the colour tone of the movie almost all the way through is a solid frame of beige.

 

But yes, the big problem is it doesn't have an ending, I'm a bit puzzled at the claims that "they found a nice place to end it" because they run around in the desert a bit, have a badly choreographed fight sequence and then cut to credits with nothing having been achieved. And it's amazing how that just kind of deflates things - it doesn't make any of what you saw bad, but it makes it harder to recommend, you know?

 

 

I kinda of take umbrage with moaning about the colour pallet. It's set on a desert planet, deserts are pretty beige coloured. The planet is bleak and harsh, not an oasis. 

 

As far as the ending goes, it does achieve something, it's the moment 

 

Spoiler

Paul becomes the Muad'Dib. That's why it's a good place to end it. The book then

 

Spoiler

takes a time jump just after this point too, so it makes sense.

 

 

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Anyway, I loved it, thought it perfectly captured the book and bar missing some of the political/traitor storylines it stayed rather faithful to the book too. Obviously some more action was added to pad it out as a Sci fi blockbuster but those moments looked great so that was fine. 

 

I kinda of knew I liked it anyway based on the people that disliked it in here.

 

As a side note, Jason Mamoa should never shave his beard ever again.

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What was going on with that strange creature when The Reverend Mother met the Baron?

 

I wasn't sure if it was a Tleilaxu creation or something the Harkonnans had done themselves

 

Spoiler

I can't remember which way round the scenes played. I think it was before Yeuh meets the Baron?  I wondered about his "pulled her apart and put her back together" line.  Not specifically that his wife was the creature but it made my stomach fall thinking that's how they treat prisoners.

 

Either way, poor Hawat. Not sure I want to see what happens to him in part 2.  It's going to be worse than milking cats.

 

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3 hours ago, Stigweard said:

 

I kinda of take umbrage with moaning about the colour pallet. It's set on a desert planet, deserts are pretty beige coloured. The planet is bleak and harsh, not an oasis. 

 

As far as the ending goes, it does achieve something, it's the moment 

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Paul becomes the Muad'Dib. That's why it's a good place to end it. The book then

 

  Reveal hidden contents

takes a time jump just after this point too, so it makes sense.

 

 

 

I have spent a fair amount of time in various deserts, and the color palette was spot on. The atmosphere, the feel, that too.

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I can kind of agree with what people are saying regards part II - if there isn't a sequel, then this film is no higher than a 7/10... if there is, and if the sequel does as good a job on the bits it covers as this, then it's a 10/10. Right up there with the original Star Wars, 2001, Blade Runner, Terminator, T2, Alien/Aliens as a classic.

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Watched it today. I’ll be watching it again.

 

Overall this a massive win I think! I really got into even knowing the plot inside out.

 

My minor niggles are:

 

Spoiler

1. No emperor or Pricess Irulan. The intro replaced with Chani who I’ve never liked. 

 

2. Less time on Dune pre attack. I really liked the dinner party scene where Paul and Irulan meet

 

3. The eventual plot point of Paul marrying Irulan thrown in during a convo.

 

Made the whole thing feel smaller tbh 

 

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I saw a late showing last night and very much enjoyed it. I was surprised when it wrapped up, it didn't seem long at all. It cost me a ludicrous £13.75, but I haven't been to a cinema since Villeneuve's previous 'must see on a big screen' Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. The audio in there is insane, like huge subwoofers. The Bene Gesserit voice powers and some of the spacecraft sounds were so alien and unsettling. Loved the visuals of the Harkonnen. Very much reminded of Dark City.

 

I was wondering...

Spoiler

The Fremen Paul killed in combat, was that the same guy he had a vision of crouched by a fire saying something like "I will teach you" with a smile? Was the point to tell you his visions weren't reliable, at least not in a 100% literal sense?

 

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1 hour ago, Number 28 said:

I was wondering...

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The Fremen Paul killed in combat, was that the same guy he had a vision of crouched by a fire saying something like "I will teach you" with a smile? Was the point to tell you his visions weren't reliable, at least not in a 100% literal sense?

 

 

The visions are of possible futures. Paul's either trying to navigate towards or away from them.  He doesn't always know the steps and there are reasons not to 'sense' them when he's fully in control of his powers.

 

That particular vision is a nice nod to the funeral scene of a character in the book, which they may skip over.

 

Spoiler

During that, it goes around those present who say "I was a friend of Jamis..." followed by something like "he taught me to ride a bike".

 

In the book Paul has to think of something good to say about a guy he just killed and was a bit of a dick towards him.  What he does say will still work and they've added an extra poignance that scene, if we get it.

 

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I really enjoyed it, and in fact my only negatives were either technical or not really the fault of the film. For decades I've affectionately ripped on the Lynch version, and I can barely remember the book, but I was mostly surprised by how closely this hews to it, to the extent that specific lines kept raising a smile from me. I loved the look of it and the scale, I thought everyone involved did a great job with their roles and I think Chalamet makes a perfect Paul. I felt that it was a satisfying film in its own right, and if I somehow hadn't been aware it was a Part One I wouldn't have felt short-changed at the credits. To that point though, I did find myself consciously distracted during the last hour or so wondering where they were going to bring the curtain down (I never check my watch), which gave it a Return of the King style impatience as it went on, even though I was enjoying it. That's entirely on me though, and of course won't be an issue every time I re-watch it.

 

Not really a fan of the score. More droning noise from the Zimmer factory, and I don't know if this is a screen-by-screen thing, but whispered dialogue was essentially impossible to make out. The scene with Jessica and Paul in the tent was completely lost on me.

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