DUNE Movie: Thoughts, Opinions, and Impressions

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I saw all 3 lord of the rings movies in the theater when they came out, and had to wait for years to see the story completed. After Fellowship, it wasn't immediately guaranteed that the other two movies would follow. Same with the Star Wars prequels. I've honestly never had a problem with it.
Same with the original Star Wars Trilogy. I had to wait for Empire Strikes Back. Then a million SW fans cried out 'How could it end like this?' It was a very dark period for fans. 🙃
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
....and the sound. Oh, the sound. I listened to it with my system cranked up, and the music, the ambient sound, the mix, was so good. So ... immersive. Absolutely spot on for me.

So, a comment - watching at home, without a super-awesome sound system...

This, like many movies, had a an audio balance problem for lower-end speakers - much of the dialog was quiet and intimate, but the explosions were not. Cranking up the volume to hear the speech led to it being VERY LOUD much of the rest of the time.

The not so good.
...
For example, the Sarduakar. The introduction was so cool. But then they were a big "So what?" I have the vague recollections from reading the books why they were such a big deal, but other than a stray bit of dialogue when they were introduced (which was an incredibly cool introduction) and a little bit later (you know when you've encountered them), you have no idea that they're special- worse, there is nothing in the movie to indicate that they are special- it's an example where there was a "tell, don't show" that didn't even "tell" very well, and certainly didn't show! This is emblematic of the choice that get made when reducing a rich text to a movie (or even reducing half of a rich text to a movie) .

Yeah, this is a thing that we can get in books that doesn't translate well into shorter formats, and leads to The Worf Effect. In shorter forms, we often don't get to establish how badass various people are independently.

So, we get Duncan Idaho positioned as a badass, but the main thing he gets used for is to show that, yeah, he's badass, but the Sardaukar, as a unit, are moreso.

Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck both have a bit of this problem - their stints on the show are short enough to question the use of such high-profile actors.[/color]
 

Stalker0

Legend
I saw all 3 lord of the rings movies in the theater when they came out, and had to wait for years to see the story completed. After Fellowship, it wasn't immediately guaranteed that the other two movies would follow. Same with the Star Wars prequels. I've honestly never had a problem with it.
Well considering that all 3 movies were shot together, the first movie would have had to really bomb for the others to not come out :)
 

Stalker0

Legend
I dont think Dune is unfilmable. I think the format of film is inferior to that of a series. Warner Brothers made that call (again) and they missed having another Game of Thrones on their hands. Of course, we likely wouldn't get the awesome visuals and sound ambiance that DV created for us, but I guess there are always going to be trade offs.
In the new world of remakes and shifts into various media, do you really think another dune miniseries is off the table if the movies do well?
 

Janx

Hero
Meh.

I hadn't read the books, but I'd seen snippets of the original movie over the years to vaguely know what "Mua Dib" means.

The visuals and sound were nice. But we got sold an incomplete story with no assurance there'd be more.

Bautista has been learning to act (in real life, he talks about it). This character did not feel like Drax dressed up. Good.

The characters were likable enough, but they all got axed too soon for me to care. Like "oh no, Mr. Awesome's dead. Moving on."

The climax of the film was crap. A storm where nobody did anything. And some running from a worm. Oh wait, no the climax was that dude calling out his boss for a fight, right after they got the newcomers sorted, for no actual good reason. Honor my arse. It was bad timing and a waste of water.

And that was it. a quick fight so Paul can prove himself kind of. then let's go, the credits are rolling.

Meh.
 

JThursby

Adventurer
The sad truth is that Dune...is a landmark work of science fiction that is so dependent on lore and internal dialogue that it is unfilmable.
So, having watched Dune (2021), I'm not overly impressed with the writing or the acting. As pertains to the writing, enormous liberties were taken with the script. It's, at least in my opinion, a very dumbed-down version of Dune.
Did we watch the same movie? This film was an absolute masterpiece and one of the best adaptations I've ever seen, possibly the best (up there with Amazon's Good Omens). The characters, setting and themes are translated to the silver screen with such elegance that this movie could functionally replace the book when combined with the inevitable Part Two.

If what people wanted was a remake of David Lynch's Dune movie then I can see why they would come away disappointed, since this movie is almost it's opposite: it's slow, deliberate, subtle and self serious, while the David Lynch version is campy, self aware shlock. This movie is not nostalgic for the original adaptation or that era of hollywood science fiction.

I've seen lots of accusations by critics that this movie has no characterization and no acting in it, and that the top shelf cinematography and effects were put there as a distraction from this supposed lack of substance. To those critics, I would ask them what the hell did they think Paul and Jessica were doing the whole movie? This movie has their emotional conflicts as the center of the movie's pathos.
Jessica has to continually battle with her two conflicting priorities between a member of the Bene Gesserit and Paul's mother, and the way Rebecca Furgeson shows all the little ways these two responsibilities pull at her emotional state is Oscar worthy. As for Paul, he experiences an emotional arc that serves as the three act structure of this movie. In the beginning of the movie there is deliberate contrast shown between the promise of incredible future power to Paul (political, martial, and "supernatural") and the fact that Paul has no say in being bestowed this power. The Act 2 crisis is the extermination of house Atreties, with Paul knowing there's nothing he could have done to prevent any of it. He even has a breakdown as he realizes the horrible harm he will cause in the future; in that moment, he isn't the most powerful man in the universe, his power of prescience only convinces him that the universe is deterministic and preordained, that he isn't capable of making real decisions, that he's doomed to simply be a tool of fate. As he journeys in the Desert in the third act he comes to realize that much of his visions aren't literal, that there is room for interpretation in them and that he needs to examine them thoughtfully to discover the actual future. Pauls' emotional arc in the movie concludes with him realizing that despite being gifted with every possible advantage and power the human race could ever dream up, it's in his human fallibility that he finds the most comfort, because it means he has the ability to either succeed or fail and have real agency. Paul is more complete and happy as a man than he is a God, and it sets up the character's eventual downfall when people do treat him as a God, which is ironically a diminishment. Since the movie only got to cover the first half of the book, using Paul's character progression to frame the movie was a savvy move, as the movie would have to work as both a singular film and the first part of a larger saga. I found the way the movie portrayed Paul's inner dialogue and emotional journey both masterfully done and incredibly faithful to the book. The director and Paul's actor Timothee Chalamet did a great job translating all of this to film, and I find calling the acting in this movie bad/wooden/nonexistent is a bad take and a disservice to the artistry on display.
 
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payn

Legend
In the new world of remakes and shifts into various media, do you really think another dune miniseries is off the table if the movies do well?
I dont, but I think starting with a film isnt the best way to jumpstart a franchise. I mean, you are using up the best material right away. I dont know anybody who cares about the upcoming Game of Thrones spinoff. Only the really invested fans want to see that deep into the world. Will people show up for a Dune series that doesnt include Maud 'dib? Especially, after the film all but wrote off the empire as just background stuff?
 

Stalker0

Legend
For those who care, dune got a 40 million domestic weekend opener (which puts it at 220 million total from previous international releases). It’s a solid opener and the movie is maintaining good hype…but considering it’s budget AND the marketing expenses that went into it…there’s no guarantee yet of a sequel.

the next few weeks (and the HBO max numbers) will determine if the movie has the legs to justify another big investment
 
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payn

Legend
I've seen lots of accusations by critics that this movie has no characterization and no acting in it, and that the top shelf cinematography and effects were put there as a distraction from this supposed lack of substance. To those critics, I would ask them what the hell did they think Paul and Jessica were doing the whole movie to them? This movie has their emotional conflicts as the center of the movie's pathos.
This has become a meme for Denis Villeneuve films. You can scrub out Dune and put in Arrival or BR2049 and match critical reviews perfectly.
 

payn

Legend
For those who care, dune got a 40 million domestic weekend opener. It’s a solid opener and the movie is maintaining good hype…but considering it’s budget AND the marketing expenses that went into it…there’s no guarantee yet of a sequel.

the next few weeks (and the HBO max numbers) will determine if the movie has the legs to justify another big investment
Yeah the WB execs are real cagey about the streaming numbers. Apparently, streaming has a big impact on future decisions, but nobody know how those impact the decisions. I mean, with box office you know how a film performs but the streamasphere is a mystery for now.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Yeah the WB execs are real cagey about the streaming numbers. Apparently, streaming has a big impact on future decisions, but nobody know how those impact the decisions. I mean, with box office you know how a film performs but the streamasphere is a mystery for now.
Yeah the billion dollar questions as the “streaming wars” continue:

1) how much product value do you need on the shelf to grow customers?

2) how much product value do you to need to maintain customers?

streaming is such a different beast from movies…movies give you a direct basis for success, either people pay movie to see your movie or they don’t see it.

with streaming there is the first obvious question: how many people watched X…but that doesn’t actually mean anything in financial terms. It’s “did people join my service to see dune” or “did people stay on my service to watch dune” or “people are joining hbomax and the principal reason is the simultaneous releases” etc etc
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
This, like many movies, had a an audio balance problem for lower-end speakers
You can blame technological "improvements" for that.

Flat-panel screens prioritize thinness. The trade-off is in the speakers.

For starters, the speakers have to be able to fit in the panel, meaning that they are going to be fairly weak to begin with. Then, the speakers have to fit in the unit's geometry, resulting in them either being pointed downward or towards the rear.

The only solution is to go with an external sound solution - either surround or soundbar.
 

JThursby

Adventurer
This has become a meme for Denis Villeneuve films. You can scrub out Dune and put in Arrival or BR2049 and match critical reviews perfectly.
I know, and it makes me sad and confused. Being this divergant from the critical concensious makes me feel like I'm an idiot for overlooking something, but I genuinely think critics have been poo-pooing this man's work for the wrong reasons. I hope studios keep Denis Villeneuve working despite critics largely labeling him as a style over substance director because he's made nothing but quality. I want him to be a success story of a director instead of another tragic tale of overlooked talent.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I know, and it makes me sad and confused. Being this divergant from the critical concensious makes me feel like I'm an idiot for overlooking something, but I genuinely think critics have been poo-pooing this man's work for the wrong reasons. I hope studios keep Denis Villeneuve working despite critics largely labeling him as a style over substance director because he's made nothing but quality. I want him to be a success story of a director instead of another tragic tale of overlooked talent.
If it's any consolation I have a university degree in Cinema and Film Making. I don't agree with these 'critics' of style over substances. It's like saying Kurosawa and Mastroianni have no substance. Just disregard them.

Villeneuve is a great visionary and cinematographer in a similar way that John Ford filmed his Westerns. Long atmospheric shots of scenery with 2/3 of sky, wide horizons and minuscule characters. His movies have substance and style. It's the best of both.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The only solution is to go with an external sound solution - either surround or soundbar.

Yeah, I'm aware of the design issues.

Lots of external solutions exist - but I haven't found one that plays well with multiple sources (like, a Roku, a DVR, and an XBox, and a PC all connected to the same TV). Unless you shell out for an amp to handle them all, you have to play the game of "which speakers do I use for this one"?
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
“I’m smiling,” Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein said on Sunday morning. “Exhibitors are thrilled. The best part is, fans are loving what they’re seeing. They’re loving the big-screen experience. It’s been a winner of a weekend for movie-lovers.”

In an interview with Variety this week, WarnerMedia chair Ann Sarnoff said plans for the sequel will be based on “the entirety of what ‘Dune’ can do for the company, including HBO Max.” She added, “The story in itself sets up for a sequel. The production is so amazing and the storytelling is so compelling that it’s not going to be judged on box office alone.”

Source: ‘Dune’ Opens to $40 Million at the Box Office. Strong Enough for a Sequel?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
There is actually a scene in which we learn the Sarduakar are the best of the best on the Emperors planet. The Harkonnens need them to go against the elite trained by Duncan. Considering they completely destroy the Atreides family during the invasion I would say they are shown to be total bad ass. It's very much 'shown'.
Not really, seeing that scene I just thought “okay Dune stormtroopers” there was nothing to say they were any more ‘elite‘ than Duncan Idaho and the other Atreides fighters
 

payn

Legend
Sounds like no sequel announced yet because Legendary owns the cinematic rights. Legendry folks not happy about WB dual releasing films in 2021. My guess is they are working out the contract for the future at the moment.
 

Herschel

Adventurer
I would argue that’s more to do with the horrific last season that tanked the enthusiasm of the fanbase. If they had nailed the landing i think people would be screaming for that sequel

Meh, they were always going to have issues ending it because all the whiny maggot fandumb factions who weren't going to be happy unless their fanfic ending was the show's. It became fashionable to pile on and while a couple of things may have felt rushed, it made sense in a Martin-esque way.
 

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