DUNE Movie: Thoughts, Opinions, and Impressions

Wow, you’re right. I think it’s Paul‘s filmbook. Even refers to them as the Eyes of Ibad.

Still, the new film favors showing over telling. Or voice-overing.
Warning: Rant on

"Show rather than tell" is a very Western-centric idea, which excludes writers from non-Western backgrounds who have to tell to explain what a teh tarik is, or why you have to tabik hormat when you visit your in-laws during Hari Raya.

And although the style wasn't created as a CIA plot to expand Western hegemony in English literature, the CIA literally did promote it in some sort of belief that it would oppose Communism. People assume that "show don't tell" is automatically a good thing because that was what was taught by institutions like the Iowa Writer's Workshop.

There are other modes of storytelling drawn from all over the world, which are just as valid as "show don't tell," like oral storytelling cultures and Dickinson's "tell it slant." People raised in the West tend to forget this.


Rant over
 
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Mallus

Legend
And although the style wasn't created as a CIA plot to expand Western hegemony in English literature, the CIA literally did promote it in some sort of belief that it would oppose Communism. People assume that "show don't tell" is automatically a good thing because that was what was taught by institutions like the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
Oh sure. And the CIA played a role in promoting Abstract Expressionism (of all things) because it was important to them that New York be the capital of the art world in the 20th century, not Moscow or a state in the Soviet Bloc.

Cold War competition is a fascinating subject. It’s probably why I like the musical Chess so much!
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
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Rant over

When "show, don't tell" was explained to me when studying literature and creative writing in college, it became quickly clear that it is an aid to understanding cultural elements I'm not familiar with, not a detriment.

Because it is perhaps more accurately, but more clumsily, stated as "give a demonstration, not a lecture".

So, if you have to inform the reader about teh tarik, don't give us a paragraph that can be found in wikipedia, or have one character say, "this is a tea drink made with condensed milk" - make a scene in the work where a character lives through the sensory experience, in its proper social context. Describe the act of its preparation, and the emotions it evokes for your character. "Show, don't tell," is an admonition to have your characters live the thing in question for us, so that we may understand it, rather than have them speak a definition.

Because, if you just give a dry definition of teh tarik, we will have data, but no real understanding. We might gain a glimmer of understanding if you give us a way to live it vicariously through your character, from the character's perspective, rather than our own.

I while back, I read a bit of fantasy built on Turkish and Egyptian forms, rather than European, and the author's example of coffee in the culture was helpful - especially because I don't drink coffee.
 

Mercurius

Legend
There's a major difference.

If, in Dune, we say there's lots of politics, we have some expectation they might be relevant to the story, as the politics are concurrent with the story, and some of the people in the story are technically involved in said politics.

If, in LotR, Gondolin is mentioned, that is a thing that happened on the order of 3500 years prior to Frodo's journey - we expect it to be relevant in much the same way we expect Egypt conquering Nubia to be directly relevant to the events in the next Fast And Furious movie, which is to say, not at all.
A nitpick here, from the little Tolkien nerd in me: The Fall of Gondolin actually happened 6,500 years before Frodo's journey as it was near the end of the First Age and the LoTR occurs at the end of the Third Age.

But I think that is a poor comparison, because the story in the Lord of the Rings is deeply embedded within a larger story, the story of Middle-earth itself and larger war against Morgoth and Sauron.

Not to derail, though.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
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A nitpick here, from the little Tolkien nerd in me: The Fall of Gondolin actually happened 6,500 years before Frodo's journey as it was near the end of the First Age and the LoTR occurs at the end of the Third Age.

It being longer is all the better.

But I think that is a poor comparison, because the story in the Lord of the Rings is deeply embedded within a larger story, the story of Middle-earth itself and larger war against Morgoth and Sauron.

The point is that by the time we get to Frodo, the details of that larger story aren't impactful to the events of the moment. You can read the entire LotR, not even notice a mention of Gondolin, and not have that impact your understanding of current events one bit.
 

Mercurius

Legend
It being longer is all the better.



The point is that by the time we get to Frodo, the details of that larger story aren't impactful to the events of the moment. You can read the entire LotR, not even notice a mention of Gondolin, and not have that impact your understanding of current events one bit.
I understand from the perspective of understanding and enjoying the LotR itself. But the problem is, this bypasses what makes Tolkien stand out: that is, what makes him Tolkien, and singular. The entire story, from the Music of the Ainur to sailing from the Gray Havens, is holistic. Everything "serves" or enhances the entire vision of Tolkien (or of Iluvatar). Or to use his term, everything is part of the Music of the Ainur itself.

This is why I think Tolkien is still an unsurpassed world-builder - the archetype for fantasists, if you will (I use the word unsurpassed deliberately, as I would not even try to rank world-builders, but just to say that--like Bond--nobody does it better). Not only is everything within Middle-earth "Tolkienian," but it embedded within a larger story, the story of Arda itself. There is a sense of no extraneous bits, nothing misplaced.

So it is not that one needs to know about the Fall of Gondolin to understand or enjoy the events of LotR, but that Tolkien's world-building provided depths and layers, and everything was holistically related in a way that Egypt and Fast and Furious are not. And further, it does have some bearing on the details of the current events, in a similar way that a storm or a tsunami is not merely the event of it crashing on the shore, but an entire process of building up. Gondolin is part of that building up, at least in relation to the events of LotR (one could also say that it is its own climax).
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I was bored by Dune in high school—required reading.

i watched the 2021 Dune a few nights ago.

I enjoyed it. I don’t like TV much and relatively few movies but found the world alien and different as intended. Some things were odd—-their tech did not seem 10,000 years newer but whatever.

it was visually cool ans I liked the r acting.

I was pissed to learn part 1 meant what it said. I wanted to see more!

now I think I will go back and read again. Maybe all the way through this time and not under duress.

the concessions made with explaining things did not bother me. To fit this in a somewhat reasonable time and still have the slow panning visuals and time to just behold things required it.

I got enough as a newbie. This dude might be a savior and these people might already know it.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I understand from the perspective of understanding and enjoying the LotR itself. But the problem is, this bypasses what makes Tolkien stand out: that is, what makes him Tolkien, and singular. The entire story, from the Music of the Ainur to sailing from the Gray Havens, is holistic.

Yes and no. In no way was it created as a holistic whole. Indeed, a great deal of it was published posthumously, edited by his son. Tolkien was not like JMS, with the whole arc worked out in most detail before he began.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
finally watched it and got the same impression as I got from the book - Its long and flat, theres no high points but its still interesting enough that I watched it all rather than thinking about what else I could be spending my time on.

Would have like to see more worm but will have to wait for part 2
 

Retreater

Legend
Might wait until (if?) Part 2 actually gets greenlit. From what I've heard this is an incomplete story, not satisfying, etc. Might be like other epics that are never completed (Eragon, John Carter, Golden Compass, etc)
 

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