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Dune Spoiler Thread


polishgenius
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On 10/30/2021 at 5:39 PM, Myrddin said:

They filmed the banquet scene with Princess Irulan? I know I read somewhere that the director doesn't do Director Cuts or Extended Editions, but I'd love to add Dune to my cherished extended collection. LotR and Kingdom of Heaven are lonely. Bring on the 9-12 hour trilogy edition!

Irulan isn’t present at the banquet in the book.  That was a miniseries change.

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5 hours ago, Guy Kilmore said:

Herbert was aware of that choice.  He was very much anti the white savior and the charismatic leaders/great men of history.  Paul, as the series goes, on is a demonstration as to why this is a bad thing.  I'm not sure if you read the books, so I'm trying not to spoil.

Yes, I've read all the books; and while the later ones (particularly God Emperor) make what you say clear, it isnt explicitly connected to his being an outsider to Dune. Granted, its only in the second book that the outlook expands beyond Arrakis to the wider universe, so my question would be more about Dune (the first book) itself.

Anyway, this is probably veering towards off-topic for those who want to discuss the movie.....

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As I posted in the Watched and Watching thread, finally saw this, and... yeah, I just don't quite along with Denis Villeneuve, despite his many obvious talents and skills. The imagery of the film is unimpeachable (well, except for the already-referenced many long Instagram-like glimpses of Chani in flowing white robes against the sun), the design is really great (my very favorite moment was the arrival of the Emperor's herald and seeing just how absurdly enormous the ship is when the door yawns open and you see these tiny, bizzarely-garbed figures inside), and so on. The music was not so disruptive for me, watching on HBO Max, as I feared it would be from my prior Blade Runner 2049 experience. Performances were good.

And yet. There's something cold and lifeless over large parts of the film, for me. It had awe and wonder, but no real feeling until the last minutes (even Duncan's sacrifice, the sort of thing that usually really gets me, felt flat), from the time the sandworm paused in front of Paul and on to the end. I thought the performance by Babs Olusanmokun as Jamis was striking. He's a serious Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt who's been featured in various Youtube videos as a martial artist rather than an actor, and there's something to how he moved and acted and fought that really felt authentic and ferocious.

I'm not sure I really like this film more than I do David Lynch's Dune, even as I recognize that it's not a mess of a film. It is and looks like a more expensive film, and the Brutalist architecture and monumental designs are impressive, the performances and actors are all pretty good... but something about the Baroque-meets-Steampunk design, and some of the zany choices like milking cats and carrying Pugs into battle  of the Lynch film made the Empire feel much more distant from us, weirdly. There was something operatic in Lynch's Dune that this film doesn't really have.

A big issue I have with Villeneuve, generally, is that ever since he got to do SF film with large budgets, he falls in love with a particular kind of imagery ... and a particular kind of pacing of imagery. There's lengthy moments devoted to just showing an ornithopter flying, like after they escape their attackers and rise above the clouds, that just feel endless. Similarly, he tries to do the David Lean Lawrence of Arabia thing with lingering shots of the deserts of Arrakis and I just don't feel the same poetry in them as I did in that film; the score, which is fine, is no match for the stirring Maurice Jarre music from that film, and that was an integral part of why that movie works.

Still, it's more than competent, and while I feel like 15 minutes could be trimmed and used to provide some other things -- an actual scene with the Emperor and a glimpse of Irulan, maybe the banquet scene somehow? -- it was all right. It doesn't have the misfires that BR2049 did in my book (e.g. Jared Leto), and there's no Hollywoodized drama-for-the-sake-of-drama (e.g. Arrival's averting international crisis by using future knowledge to change the present). I'd rate it a solid C+ to B-.

Regarding sand worms, one thing I missed from the Lynch film was the red lightning effect that was used. Not a book thing, I think, but it was just something that made them seem cooler and more elemental. I suppose it was probably done in part to draw the eye away from the puppetry and things that made them seem less alive, but it was effective.

 

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

Regarding sand worms, one thing I missed from the Lynch film was the red lightning effect that was used. Not a book thing, I think, but it was just something that made them seem cooler and more elemental. I suppose it was probably done in part to draw the eye away from the puppetry and things that made them seem less alive, but it was effective.

Well I think this one had the cool effect of the sand vibrating and losing its solidity. 

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14 minutes ago, Corvinus85 said:

Well I think this one had the cool effect of the sand vibrating and losing its solidity. 

True... but it's not heavy metal like lightning bolts!

Also, forgot to remark again that this adaptation did really nail the sense that Paul can see the dark path of his destiny but is compelled to follow it. The Lynch film, butchered as it was by the studio, ends on such a silly positive note that undercuts that. I can't recall the Dune miniseries very well and how it handled that aspect of it, but in any case, this was a good part of the movie.

I think the moment when the film finally managed to click a bit for me was Paul's first vision of Jamis as his friend and teacher. That really made his prescience much more impactful, seeing a concrete example of seeing a different future in which Jamis is his friend... and then continuing inevitably toward the reality where Jamis and he fight and Jamis dies.

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I've only read book 1 of Dune, but in the future upcoming Dune Movies, will they show Paul's son becoming some worm creature? and will they show Harkonen's nephew the Baron lusts after?

Edited by Falcon2909
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1 hour ago, Falcon2909 said:

How are the Sandworms so HUGE when very little grows on arrakis?

Very little plantlife grows on Arrakis. But there's a whole ecology under the sand, and the sandworms feed on those things. I agree that it's a weird ecology, but not the same as ours doesn't mean not plausible. 

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10 hours ago, Kalsandra said:

Very little plantlife grows on Arrakis. But there's a whole ecology under the sand, and the sandworms feed on those things. I agree that it's a weird ecology, but not the same as ours doesn't mean not plausible. 

What is this ecology under the sand? How do they survive?

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3 hours ago, Falcon2909 said:

What is this ecology under the sand? How do they survive?

There are sand plankton, if I recall correctly. The sand plankton aren't just food for the sandworms, they grow to be sandworms. The sand plankton feed off of spice. The spice is created by the little makers, which is a stage in the sandworm life cycle.

It's all an internal system only fueled externally by water.

It seems like a dubious system in general, and of course not a remotely believable biome for something on the scale of a sandworm.

Herbert had a lot of hand-wavey science, which is fine. The stillsuits as described wouldn't work either. Without a battery to drive the cooling system it would cook you. Maybe if the Fremen only went out at night, but we see them often in the day.

Edited by IFR
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Herbert wasn't writing hard SF so I don't think people should be getting wound up about it at all. Like I said earlier in the topic, the symbology came first and the explanations later. That's true of the stillsuits too. Like you say, it's fine. The book wouldn't be helped by spending time trying to make it realistic, or by not having them coz the science doesn't make sense. 

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2 hours ago, polishgenius said:

Herbert wasn't writing hard SF so I don't think people should be getting wound up about it at all. Like I said earlier in the topic, the symbology came first and the explanations later. That's true of the stillsuits too. Like you say, it's fine. The book wouldn't be helped by spending time trying to make it realistic, or by not having them coz the science doesn't make sense. 

Oh, I agree! I thought the movie was very good, and I love the book.

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'Went to the movies for the first time in years. Got my Popcorn and beverage, got my favorite seat*, and watched Dune. Loved it. An audio-visual feast for the senses. If there was ever a film built for the big screen, this is it. Getting bent out of shape over the physics of ornithopters is missing the point. This movie entered me and we spooned for almost 3 hours. I will never be the same.

I could imagine Hans Zimmer saying, "Hey fellas, you know that ridiculous octobasse that takes two guys to play it properly? Do we have anything bigger? Could we build a minivan out of wood and put strings on it?" My friend Hans really out-BRWAAAAAA'd himself on this one. I could feel it in my balls. 

Visually; forget about it. If there are betting houses that are giving odds on next years Oscar for cinematography, put your money on this. Nothing else comes close.

I had no problem with the pacing. This, like Blade Runner 2049, was a very different experience in a theater as opposed to TV.  Villeneuve likes to take his time, and I'm cool with it as long as it's on a big screen. At no point was I bored or looking at my watch. My main concern was my bladder as I forgot to pee before the movie. Mercifully there weren't many previews.

I loved the minimalist production design. Previous "Dune" interpretations tend to have a nouveau riche interpretation of royalty. Like the queen wakes up every day and puts on a ball gown and crown while she's just hanging around Buckingham palace. Villeneuve could have done anything he wanted but he strips all the excess away. It was an interesting choice that stands in stark contrast to the Lynch film or Moebius concepts from the failed Jodorowsky effort. It works well. Even the big ceremony at the beginning of the film had a subdued quality to it, aside from the bloody big space ship. The ornithopters were just damn cool. 

IMO, the biggest failure with the Lynch film was the use of voice-over and the way it handled exposition in general. This film does it brilliantly. the choices of what to include (or not) were interesting, though I imagine a lot of that had to do with meeting a runtime requirement. Devotees of the books might get excited about not hearing the phrase, "Orange Catholic Bible", but that's a bit of world building that can wait for the next film.  Villeneuve struck a good balance in keeping the focus on the central characters and devoting energy to world building. My only criticism is they could have found a little time for Yueh's backstory earlier in the film. It kind of comes out of nowhere for people who aren't familiar with it.

The performances were great. Rebecca Ferguson's Lady Jessica was a standout for me. Mamoa seemed like an odd casting choice but I thought he killed it. Chamalet was great as Paul. Stellan Skarsgård was amazing. The depiction of the Harkonnens stands in stark contrast to previous, more campy examples. 

I read a movie review that complained there weren't enough jokes and I swear to god there were people in my theater that waited for a post credit scene. Damn you, Disney.

I wonder if Jodorowsky has seen it.

*seriously, why do the seats up front always fill up last? I'm not talking about having your face pressed up against the screen. Just close enough to have the screen fill your field of view without having to twist your head to see it all. This isn't television after all. IMO, this is also where the sound is best. 

Edited by Deadlines? What Deadlines?
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On 11/4/2021 at 4:01 PM, Guy Kilmore said:

Herbert was aware of that choice.  He was very much anti the white savior and the charismatic leaders/great men of history.  Paul, as the series goes, on is a demonstration as to why this is a bad thing.  I'm not sure if you read the books, so I'm trying not to spoil.

I’m not all sure that Herbert succeeded in demonstrating that.  Granted, both Paul and Alia were heroic failures, in the end, but I think most readers strongly sympathise with both.  

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On 11/6/2021 at 6:05 PM, SeanF said:

I’m not all sure that Herbert succeeded in demonstrating that.  Granted, both Paul and Alia were heroic failures, in the end, but I think most readers strongly sympathise with both.  

I suspect the majority of readers only read the first book and none of the rest, and Dune ends with Paul firmly still in the good hero camp. Also, Leto II's whole existence is to be a demonstration of why charismatic/heroic leaders are bad and should never be allowed again; that's basically his whole Golden Path. But he is so grotesque and alien in GEoD that I suspect most readers don't actually see him as an example of a heroic leader, just a tyrant. And then the final two books still had characters in the same vein as Paul, like Miles Teg, so what really changed?

Point being, yeah, I agree that Herbert didn't really good a job at dispelling any savior myths.

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On 11/6/2021 at 10:29 PM, Fez said:

I suspect the majority of readers only read the first book and none of the rest, and Dune ends with Paul firmly still in the good hero camp. Also, Leto II's whole existence is to be a demonstration of why charismatic/heroic leaders are bad and should never be allowed again; that's basically his whole Golden Path. But he is so grotesque and alien in GEoD that I suspect most readers don't actually see him as an example of a heroic leader, just a tyrant. And then the final two books still had characters in the same vein as Paul, like Miles Teg, so what really changed?

Point being, yeah, I agree that Herbert didn't really good a job at dispelling any savior myths.

I couldn’t get into God Emperor, at all.  

Personally, I worry much less about heroic/charismatic leaders than I do about the men and women in grey who’ll fuck you over for percentages.  Evil is mostly banal.

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Finally saw it.  Have not read everything in this thread yet; all I will say for now… that took real balls to decide to end the story where they did with no guarantee of a sequel.  :stunned:

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On 11/6/2021 at 8:38 PM, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

uses that are giving odds on next years Oscar for cinematography, put your money on this. Nothing else comes close.

 

If The Florida Project is any indicator Red Rocket is gonna be right there in visual quality but I'm not sure an indie comedy about a porn actor returning home is gonna challenge Dune for Oscars. 


eta: oh, and Macbeth, of course. That's gonna look amazing.

Edited by polishgenius
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