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Dune Spoiler Thread


polishgenius
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Figured this was worth making what with the gap in releases.



Anyway: excellent. It didn't engage me quite as much as the book, can't put my finger on why, but it's still superb, and visually it's insane. There were some adaptation changes I liked, and some I didn't, but overall it holds together excellently and was worth the wait.

The changes I liked:

The story switch-up that gives Kynes more direct prominence, and a much better death than the original. 'his name is Shai-Hulud' indeed. It didn't just get her more involved, but allowed Duncan Idaho more to do and let him make a meaningful sacrifice, and gave a good rest-beat in the escape sequence.

Removing the detail about the Duke suspecting Jessica. I never loved that in the book, and while it wasn't a bad plot, it wouldn't have added anything to the film and, tbh, just taken unnecessary time away.

Making the reluctance about being a chosen one a bit more clear. This wasn't a change so much as an adaptation necessity, since the audience doesn't have as much time to sit with Paul's thoughts so they had to get it across, but it worked well enough. As long as non-readers can hear what he's saying in that tent sequence, anyway, coz there were places where the soundmix was off to me and that was one of them...



ones I didn't:

Changing Jessica's motivation for having Paul from wanting to give Leto a male heir to thinking she could have the Kwisatz Haderach. Not only does it make their relationship less meaningful and her a meaner, more arrogant character (and she was already plenty arrogant), but it kind of makes no sense since they otherwise minimised the rather sexist 'the Kwisatz Haderach must be male' tone of the original book (I know the sequels did also, but the OG Dune had some questionable ideas on that front).

 

They skipped Paul's naming scene, which was odd- that would have made a good final scene for the movie, since it would have happened about five minutes after where the movie ended anyway. Not only that, but the Fremen are already referring to the potential Messiah as 'the Muad d'ib', so it's not a name Paul chose for himself.

 

A huge part of the symbology of Crysknives is that once drawn, they can't be resheathed till they taste blood. Not only is this not mentioned, but Mapes unsheathes and resheathes the one she gives to Jessica.
Also, honestly, the one bad visual design choice for me in the films was that they just didn't look very good, but that's a matter of taste I suppose.



A mixed one: as I mentioned above, I think removing the male/female thing around the Kwisatz Haderach is a good thing, but I don't think they found a good replacement in the 'can bend space and time' thing, despite that being a fairly literal depiction of his ability, and therefore a fair portion of the strangeness of the position is lost. That may be fixed if part 2 does get made, though.





Also a note on @Arakan's  theory that it ends too soon for the rest to be in just one film. Don't think I agree - I expected it to end at the timeskip, and while it does fall short a few pages in the book, missing their introduction into the Seitch itself, that's more or less what happened. Even if they do decide to fill that sequence in, there's no way enough material in that time to fit a middle film in and no other natural place for a break after the timeskip. I'd be very unsurprised if we opened film 2 with a young Alia running about, and introduce the new Seitch characters with Paul already knowing them.



Anyway, all in all, fantastic.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, let’s get this thread bumped up. :P 

I’m usually inclined to be cynical about these things but yes, that was very good actually.

Enjoyed the visuals, obviously. The performances were pretty good and they managed to walk that fine line of conveying the epicness of events without sounding too silly. And Zimmer can be hit or miss but I really enjoyed the soundtrack.

Some minor issues - they still (meaning as in the Lynch film) voice the inner narrative out loud, which often sounds dumb. The slow thrust penetrates the shield. Uh, yeah he knows that he’s been doing it for a while Gurney. (And as far as that goes, a lot of the killing sword thrusts did not look particularly slow. And why doesn’t everyone just use darts? Or gas? They apparently work against shields.)

Also, He shall know your ways as if born to them. Sorry, what was that? Nothing? Oh ok.

On the other hand reciting the litany against fear out loud sort of worked but I’m not sure why a trained BG witch would be so desperately anxious. 

Was Yueh from the book able to diagnose internal conditions with  just his fingers? I definitely missed that multiple times if so.

Is Paul’s sudden eagerness to be the next Emperor supposed to represent how reluctant he is to be the chosen one? It seemed a little odd to bring it up at that point.

Pauls specific future telling powers seemed odd too. At one point he seems to be leaning against a wall analysing the fight he’s about to have like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. And it would have been nice to have a bit more indication that he had the skills to beat Jamis. We already know Fremen can easily beat Sardaukar and Duncan says it was the closest he came to being killed. But Paul fairly easily beats a guy described as a good fighter among the Fremen. Is that supposed to be because he’d been breathing spice? Just his acceptance of his destiny? I seem to remember in the book it’s because he and Jessica know the weirding way that the Fremen aren’t really familiar with.

Edited by john
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I was not a fan of this Lady Jessica. She felt too meek and demure rather than the noble and disciplined Bene Gesserit that I had imagined. 

I was also annoyed by the fact that Shadout Mapes did not cut herself before sheathing the knife. 

The pacing on Arrakis felt "off." It seemed to gloss over some of the major tonal changes that the Atreides instituted as part of their governorship. And the relative absence of the behind-the-scenes with the Harkonnens about the premature assassination attempt on Paul and the like also wasn't there. 

I agree that Paul's whole "I could be the Emperor or marry his daughter" at the end felt like a weird place. Like I could have imagined it earlier, like Duke Leto ambitions surrounding an heirless Emperor and discussing the possibility for Paul to marry the Emperor's daughter. 

 

My favorite part of the movie - HANDS DOWN - is when Paul is on the ground near the spice harvester and Gurney approaches. Paul says (as best as I can recall), "I know your foot steps, Old Man," echoing a similar line earlier in the training room on Caladan. However, it's also overlayed with Paul's "spice awakening," the sounds of the thumper, and the sandworm (i.e., "the Old Man of the Desert."). 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Just watched it. Really solid movie. Great visuals and cinematography, strong acting all around, good use of music at the right times. Generally loved the vibes Villeneuve put in, much like in Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival.

The strong points for me were:

The acting - Chalamet was absolutely great, and I liked Ferguson, Momoa, Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, and Skarsgaard a lot, too. The rest were also good.

The world details and the visuals - those ornithopters, I could cry. The shields, the lasguns, the sandworms, the Spacing Guild highliner, the great sceneries and vistas. I think the carryall was very creative and it offset the more pedestrian look of the spice harvester. (This leaves Lynch's version to have the best design for the harvester)

Paul's moments of prescience were well done. I almost thought that they could have ended the movie with the vision of the holy war. And they could have if they had given more time to the Atreides-Harkonnen conflict prior to the main battle.

I greatly liked the duel with Jamis. I liked that they kept Stilgar's and Jessica's conversation from the book during the duel. And I thought that Paul's vision of Jamis who tells him he'll teach him the ways of the desert set up the fight nicely.

The scene when Jessica and Paul escape from the Harkonnen thopter was terrific, and Jessica was a total beast there. Well done to both the writing and Ferguson.

Things that were good, but maybe missed a step or note

I liked how they kept showing the little mouse, Usul, as well as the moons. That was a nice setup for when he takes that name, and then it doesn't happen. I'm sure a non-reader may be going, okaay what's with the mouse? That being said, I don't mind where the movie ended. They did do a good job setting up the idea of the desert power, of the Fremen warriors, though maybe they could have pushed it a bit longer to show the Fremen numbers at Sietch Tabr. (because showing is better than telling)

They missed an opportunity during Duncan's death scene to show why lasers aren't often used in battle. Duncan could have made a grab for the lasgun and shoot it at one of the shielded Sardaukar to have them all go out together.

Disappointing parts

I think the politics plot was a bit shallow and I wish they had spent more time on Duke Leto, showing him that he is smart as well as capable. That he was prepared for every contingency that the Emperor was going to throw at him except Yueh's betrayal. Political machinations ahead of the attack were largely just reduced to the Emperor is afraid and jealous of Leto, so here Baron, have more men and you take him out. A more extended plot would have allowed Oscar Isaac to shine a little more, and make his death more impactful and shocking.

It was mentioned in the other thread that the characterization of various secondary characters was weak and I agree. Yueh was probably the worst of the bunch, as his betrayal comes without any kind of veiled setup and they needed to have the actor deliver a haphazard exposition as to why it happened. Thufir Hawat was fine when he had something to do, but was largely forgotten. Among all the occasional heavy exposition, they decided to forgo explaining what he is. And the only way you would know Piter was a mentat was if you paid attention to his lower lip which was painted the same as Thufir's. Josh Brolin managed to capture the gruff and badass part of Gurney Halleck well, but sadly not the bard and scoundrel part. There is a reason Leto sent him to treat with the smugglers, but then again the spice smugglers were in absentia and Gurney was reduced to a glorified port guard.

Jessica's weirding way moves were MCU martial arts and nothing special. But because it was shown from an external perspective, maybe it simply couldn't be shown. Hopefully there is a chance to rectify this in the second part.

So yeah, there absolutely needs to be a Part 2.

Edited by Corvinus85
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On 9/27/2021 at 12:24 AM, john said:

Some minor issues - they still (meaning as in the Lynch film) voice the inner narrative out loud, which often sounds dumb. The slow thrust penetrates the shield. Uh, yeah he knows that he’s been doing it for a while Gurney. (And as far as that goes, a lot of the killing sword thrusts did not look particularly slow. And why doesn’t everyone just use darts? Or gas? They apparently work against shields.)

I'm assuming hunter-killers are extremely expensive or only work in ideal conditions, so they can't be used all the time.

I'm also assuming that the Baron's shield did mitigate against the gas, along with him using the suspensors to get above the gas. No-one else in the room had their shield on and they all died.

Quote

On the other hand reciting the litany against fear out loud sort of worked but I’m not sure why a trained BG witch would be so desperately anxious. 

IIRC, I think in the book it was suggested that no man had ever survived or the test, or vanishingly few, so Jessica was maybe 80% certain that Paul would die.

Quote

Pauls specific future telling powers seemed odd too. At one point he seems to be leaning against a wall analysing the fight he’s about to have like Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. And it would have been nice to have a bit more indication that he had the skills to beat Jamis. We already know Fremen can easily beat Sardaukar and Duncan says it was the closest he came to being killed. But Paul fairly easily beats a guy described as a good fighter among the Fremen. Is that supposed to be because he’d been breathing spice? Just his acceptance of his destiny? I seem to remember in the book it’s because he and Jessica know the weirding way that the Fremen aren’t really familiar with.

Paul sees a possible future where he befriends Jamis and he teaches him in the ways of the Fremen, which makes him reluctant to kill Jamis.

However, when the probability makes the fight inevitable, he sees the different moves that Jamis will make to kill him, so when Jamis starts to commit to the same move in the actual fight, Paul does a different move and kills him. So Paul isn't really a great fighter in that instance (though he's solid), he uses his prescience to effectively cheat.

Edited by Werthead
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The film is nearly entirely spectacle, and the spectacle is spectacular.  But the story telling of the novel, beyond the broadest of strokes -- Atreides good, Harkannons bad, emperor nasty coz Atreides good so jealous emperor has Duke and family destroyed -- not so much. In fact fairly murky, and if one didn't know the book so well, not easily followed. They didn't do a very good job explaining why spice is important beyond navigation.  There's nothing about being a mentat, and the Butlerian Jihad, which is very disappointing, which makes things harder to understand, if one doesn't already possess that back story. For another instance, why even bother with the choosing of the housekeeper scene, when we never learn anything more about Shadout Mapes and that crysknife either -- i.e. no blooding of it before returning it to a sheath.  This is where the film really fell down -- all those political and intra-personal relationships are barely visible without any scenes such as the banquet within the Arrakis palace.

However, the tweak / changes from the novel seemed mostly to be good ones.  For example, the discussion with Stilgar and the Duke, as to what he plans for Ar00rakis and the Freemen, was excellent -- through all of it I heard the Europeans talking their treaties with Native Americans, and though some of them were honorable, one knows, others, like Andrew Jackson, will never honor the treaties at all.  The spitting was very good, as even for viewers who understand the moment Stilgar does it, why he does it, it still startling.

The best character in terms of the actor feeling at home within the character, I thought was Momoa.  I enjoyed watching him do Duncan Idaho so very much. 

Oscar Isaac also fully realized Duke Leto's character, and it was a pleasure to watch his scenes. I do wish they'd kept those lines from the novel that include, "for the father nothing." It would make Paul's heartbreak more clear. That Leto was a good man and provided "good Lordship" filling the medieval criteria / ideal of a lord's responsibilities and obligations was something I have come to miss in entertainments so much, worlds in which not every single character is rotten with ego, corrupt and cruel, that there are some honorable figures whom one can trust to be fair and fulfill their duties and keep their word and remain loyal.

I will watch this again, probably next week.

 

Edited by Zorral
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Dune is one of my favorite books ever--and I haven't read it in a decade. I was stoked to see this movie, and I only made it about a third of the way through. It's not bad but it left me utterly devoid of feeling. When things happened in the movie, and I suddenly remembered the complex scenes it was recreating only for the the movie scene to end after a moment or two, I found myself annoyed.

I started thinking that when I was 15, a movie of my favorite book sounded really cool. Now that I'm 42, what am I doing here? I've got the book.

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I like that Villeneuve didn't show a Spacing Guild navigator, like both previous versions did. I do wish the folding of space had been shown, though. There is an interesting shot of the highliner when the Reverend Mother arrives on Caladan, making it look like we see where she came from, like the ship was really a portal. 

Edited by Corvinus85
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3 hours ago, Zorral said:

There's nothing about being a mentat, and the Butlerian Jihad, which is very disappointing, which makes things harder to understand, if one doesn't already possess that back story.

I know that KJA and Brian Herbert are involved in this film.  I sincerely hope they do not adopt their horseshit version of the Butlerian Jihad.

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Like many, I wonder how well non-readers can understand the plot, the movie. Turns out a coworker thought it was amazing and she's never read the book, but intends to read it soon; apparently her book-reader mates said it was easier to like the movie if one hasn't read the book - so I suppose they didn't like it as much as she did.

  

1 hour ago, Corvinus85 said:

There is an interesting shot of the highliner when the Reverend Mother arrives on Caladan, making it look like we see where she came from, like the ship was really a portal. 

That's exactly what it looks like, though I thought it was a shot of Atreides ships being unloaded near Arrakis.

 

1 hour ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I know that KJA and Brian Herbert are involved in this film.  I sincerely hope they do not adopt their horseshit version of the Butlerian Jihad.

If Villeneuve read the book as a teen back in the early 1980s, odds are that he loves it, and possibly the series, too much to fall for the fan-fiction crap that's been published so recently.

Edited by Clueless Northman
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As ponderous as so much of the film is, meaning its relentless massive decor, machinery, buildings, armies, the scoring, and then the sheer dark mud lighting for most of the scenes -- the film moves very quickly.  I couldn't believe I'd been watching it as long as the run-time says I'd been.  So there must be something done right with the pacing.  :) 

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17 minutes ago, Zorral said:

As ponderous as so much of the film is, meaning its relentless massive decor, machinery, buildings, armies, the scoring, and then the sheer dark mud lighting for most of the scenes -- the film moves very quickly.  I couldn't believe I'd been watching it as long as the run-time says I'd been.  So there must be something done right with the pacing.  :) 

It’s a fast 2 and a half hours.

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Yes, there’s no mention of mentat, which does seem to take something away from Paul’s character, but maybe they thought there was already too much grooming for greatness.

But it definitely weakens Thufir, who basically becomes a fairly inept spymaster. In the book he suspects Jessica, for good reason, so is blind to Yueh. In the film he doesn’t suspect anything. His storyline is supposed to be that he undermines the Harkonnens from within with his ment-fu, we’re not seeing much to back this up so far.

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I just hit the NYer Magazine's review of the film.  Normally I can't be arsed about these matters, but, you know, this is DUNE!  The critic understands not at all what we want from a film of the novel, as opposed to his cinemaphilia attitude.

Quote

It’s surprising how cheesy the new “Dune” looks. Directed by Denis Villeneuve, the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel seems less like a C.G.I. spectacle than a production still waiting for its backgrounds to be digitally filled in or its sets to be built. David Lynch’s version of “Dune,” from 1984, was a profuse film, teeming with sets and costumes as intricate as they were overwhelming, making extended and startling use of optical effects, and, in general, displaying an urgent will to turn the fantasy worlds of the story, which is set in the year 10191, into physical and visceral experiences. Villeneuve’s interests appear to lie elsewhere. He puts the drama and plot first, avoiding details that could be distractions and appearances that aren’t explained (or explained away) in dialogue or action. The bareness with which he depicts the story doesn’t resemble the shoestring production values of nineteen-fifties sci-fi cheapies, but it instead suggests merely a failure of imagination, an inability to go beyond the ironclad dictates of a script and share with viewers the wonders and terrors of impossible worlds. ....

That's the first paragraph, and that's enuff. So there for Brody's dislike of the film that wasn't made with him in mind.
 

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46 minutes ago, Zorral said:

I just hit the NYer Magazine's review of the film.  Normally I can't be arsed about these matters, but, you know, this is DUNE!  The critic understands not at all what we want from a film of the novel, as opposed to his cinemaphilia attitude.

That's the first paragraph, and that's enuff. So there for Brody's dislike of the film that wasn't made with him in mind.
 

Haha. The ornithopters alone trump everything in Lynch's Dune.

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I enjoyed the film, and thought it covered the first half of the book pretty well. There are little things that are slightly off, but overall really great.

I never really got the point of the crysknife and blood thing - do the worms lose their teeth if they smile without chomping on someone?

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15 minutes ago, Soylent Brown said:

I enjoyed the film, and thought it covered the first half of the book pretty well. There are little things that are slightly off, but overall really great.

I never really got the point of the crysknife and blood thing - do the worms lose their teeth if they smile without chomping on someone?

It's all about honor and ritual friends, not blood enemies even though I drew a knife, you drew a knife, but we're not going to fight because we're negotiating and have arrived at mutual satisfaction.

 

Edited by Zorral
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