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Dune (2020)


Myr

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So the trailer for the new remake of Dune is out.  Has  film making technology finally reached the point to do the source material justice?

 

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I cringe when movies are made of the sci-fi classics. Unless they are done well, they turn out like Verhoeven's rape of Heinlein's classic Starship Troopers. (If I ever catch that prick in a dark alley.) He took a great source, excellent cast and made a joke out of it. What did he come up with? Doogie Himmler.

If a studio and a producer does one of these classics, they must respect the source. Verhoeven DID NOT even read the book and it showed.

Dune has been done twice already: first by Lynch in 1984 and again in 2000 as a Sci-fi channel miniseries (before they went completely to crap).

Neither were perfect but, the Lynch adaptation has become a cult classic despite its wanderings from the novel.

I hope the new one is good. Heck, I want it to be great. Good sci-fi that makes money encourages studios making crap to take a chance and try to do better.

So far, I like what I see. I want them to focus on the story. It's good enough. Don't make the mistake Disney made with the Star Wars franchise and Witch Kennedy made and try to make it a vehicle for something else. That failed miserably and ruined what was a multi-billion dollar franchise.

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Any movie using Pink Floyd music in the trailer is okay by me!

Seriously though Dune has always been one of my favorite books and series of books. I might even go see it in a theater, haven't seen a movie in a theater since ET. I do hate movies though that are in parts. I never saw any of the LOTR movies, or The Hobbit. I waited until the entire series was finished, then watched them at home. It's like writing in a way, I seldom will read stories that are "in progress" because I always fear getting too interested and the author doing something like dying so I can't get the ending.

Except for Rocky Horror Picture Show and that doesn't really count, it's less a movie than an experience.

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:off: I would think that with all of the great strides being made in special effects that we maybe could see some other classic science fiction books become realized. How about Ringworld by Larry Niven, for which he won both a Hugo and Nebula award? That's a movie I would love to see done, and done well. Sadly, Ringworld might be difficult, though possibly not as difficult, as Dune to make sense of for a wide audience.

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  • 11 months later...

I’ve read three reviews of the movie and all seem to agree so far that Dune (part 1) is big and grand but lacking in feeling, or the important facet of making a connection with the viewer. Hans Zimmerman is responsible for The Dune Sketchbook (Music From the Soundtrack), and if you’ve listened to Zimmerman’s music for The Dark Knight Rises you will know that music is all deep base and excitement with drive, but whilst the Dune music has some deeper base underpinning it, it is a much slower work with faint choral voices that while providing texture don’t add a whole lot of meaning to the music—background stuff for sure—and after listening to the first three songs (nearly fifty minutes) I was not moved.

I hope that Dune won’t turn out to be just another action flick of a movie, lacking depth.

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I'm hoping they give this the Peter Jackson treatment :)

Dune is to Sci-fi what Lord of the Rings is to Fantasy; it's an epic with contemporary issues and complex characters. The original 2 Books : Dune and Dune Messiah are among the best of Science Fiction, while the sequels Children of Dune and God Emperor are thought provoking masterpieces that raised the bar even further. Frank Herbert (and to a lesser extent his son Brian) created a vibrant universe spanning thousands of years.

To be honest, I am not sure if Hollywood knows what it takes to build an epic movie series anymore. Paul Atreides rise to power, his struggle with House Harkonnen, and his eventual journey to the desert requires an young actor of great talent and range, who can grow with the films. When his son Leto II comes into play in the later movies, a mirror image of Paul will be needed and that character has a lot on his shoulders. A lot of planning needs to go into play for Dune as an epic (akin to what Peter Jackson needed for LoTR), I just hope they don't half-ass it.

 

 

Edited by W_L
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2 hours ago, W_L said:

To be honest, I am not sure if Hollywood knows what it takes to build an epic movie series.

Just read the damn books, for crying out loud. Without reading and understanding the books there is bound to be trouble. I would even read the prequel books by the son, Brian Herbert and his co-author, Kevin J. Anderson as I have--that would add context and a deeper understanding as to the why-and-what-for of Frank Herbert's classics, with Dune being the subject here.

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45 minutes ago, Ron said:

Just read the damn books, for crying out loud. Without reading and understanding the books there is bound to be trouble. I would even read the prequel books by the son, Brian Herbert and his co-author, Kevin J. Anderson as I have--that would add context and a deeper understanding as to the why-and-what-for of Frank Herbert's classics, with Dune being the subject here.

Brian is using a bit of the historical background Frank Herbert wrote as notes for Dune, but the stories were not written by Frank Herbert. You can tell based on the prequel books, like Butlerian Jihad, it's done in two very different styles. Brian Herbert never quite captured his father's scope or human story. It's fine science fiction, but some fans of Dune have argued that it's a cash grab by adding outside Sci-fi elements to extend the story.

Spoiler

(i.e. an ancient war with Artificial intelligence)

With Frank Herberts original writings, I hope Hollywood starts with Dune and stops at Chapterhouse of Dune:

Dune

Dune Messiah

Children of Dune

God Emperor of Dune

Heretics of Dune

Chapterhouse of Dune

Again, I know it goes further through Brian, but Hunters and Sandworms were not originally written by Frank Herbert, they also raised new issues that haven't been resolved.

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2 hours ago, Ron said:

Just read the damn books, for crying out loud.

That has been the problem since ~2000 when people that have never been readers started making movies. They order a screenplay from the  10,000 Typing Monkeys's Script Shop which gets the cliff notes version of the novel, adds some bullshit and before long you've got Verhoeven's Starship Troopers or Marc Forster's World War Z. The only thing the movies have in common with the novels is the name and a few characters.

From what I understand, the new Dune is cut from different cloth. They are actually staying very close to the source material. I am cautiously optimistic.

Fair warning. If they f* this up, when I die, I'll come back and haunt the bastards.

Edited by jamessavik
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10 hours ago, W_L said:

Brian is using a bit of the historical background Frank Herbert wrote as notes for Dune, but the stories were not written by Frank Herbert.

Was I not clear in my remarks that you quoted?

Of course, the stylings of the son wouldn't be those of the father and when you add Kevin J. Anderson (I've read his Terra Incognita: Book 1 and 2 and his writing voice is hugely different from that of Frank Herbert) into the mix... well, I wouldn't expect the books to read the same. But the prequal books do add insight into what went on before and how we ended up with the world of Dune and its politics. I thought having the information provided in those books was useful and they weren't bad reading, and that was a plus.

9 hours ago, jamessavik said:

From what I understand, the new Dune is cut from different cloth. They are actually staying very close to the source material. I am cautiously optimistic.

I'm hopeful, considering the director, Denis Villeneuve had a hand in writing the script. The reviews I read said as much but overall, they said there was a something-something lacking that prevented them from making an emotional connection.

We'll see and I am looking forward to watching the movie, make no mistake. I'll be watching at home through HBO MAX and my 55" Sony screen. I'll miss the overall grandeur on the smaller screen, but I've got a kicker of a sound system to help compensate for the loss.:yes:

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59 minutes ago, Ron said:

Was I not clear in my remarks that you quoted?

Of course, the stylings of the son wouldn't be those of the father and when you add Kevin J. Anderson (I've read his Terra Incognita: Book 1 and 2 and his writing voice is hugely different from that of Frank Herbert) into the mix... well, I wouldn't expect the books to read the same. But the prequal books do add insight into what went on before and how we ended up with the world of Dune and its politics. I thought having the information provided in those books was useful and they weren't bad reading, and that was a plus.

I'm hopeful, considering the director, Denis Villeneuve had a hand in writing the script. The reviews I read said as much but overall, they said there was a something-something lacking that prevented them from making an emotional connection.

We'll see and I am looking forward to watching the movie, make no mistake. I'll be watching at home through HBO MAX and my 55" Sony screen. I'll miss the overall grandeur on the smaller screen, but I've got a kicker of a sound system to help compensate for the loss.:yes:

Not chiding you specifically, just pointing out why fans of Dune series are split on the prequels (and sequels). I am a sci-fi reader, I read them all and have no issues with the new elements.

Frank Herbert's writing style was very long and exposition heavy (Reading Dune is almost like reading fantasy novel series, which is one reason why I drew the comparison with LoTR), translating it to a big screen production requires a lot of interpretation. The 1980's film was an acid dream, the 2000's Sci-Fi channel mini-series was better, but it had to skip major points.

Also, based on the reviews coming out, I am worried about the opposite of the 1984 film. If you try to produce Frank Herbert's Dune novels literally, you will end up with a heavy plot, missing subtle human elements embedded in the story, killing its story entertainment value, even if it becomes a Box Office hit like a Michael Bay movie. Exposition-type fiction requires movie screenplay writers to interpret humanity through the source material.

My greatest fear with Hollywood's production is both extreme interpretation like the 1984 film or a literal interpretation devoid of humanity, ultimately entertainment as well. I am hoping the early reviews are off about the spectacle and problematic plot translation.

-----------

Also @Ron, I prefer streaming service approach too as I also have a strong sound system.

Personally, I want Dune to have a Game of Thrones treatment, 1-2 hours long movie production level standards as an episodic series. I'd pay for that at the cost of a movie each month. The book is already one part Science Fiction and Soap Opera, it makes more sense to go that route than big-screen production.

 

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1 hour ago, W_L said:

Personally, I want Dune to have a Game of Thrones treatment, 1-2 hours long movie production level standards as an episodic series. I'd pay for that at the cost of a movie each month. The book is already one part Science Fiction and Soap Opera, it makes more sense to go that route than big-screen production.

@Daddydavekposted a recent status update that Amazon is showing a video series later this year based on the late Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time book series (a favorite even if I wasn’t always pleased with the author, and finished by Brandon Sanderson based on the author’s notes) and included a link with a preview. It didn’t look all that promising to me because it looked like Amazon was going for flash and bang, but it was a short video which tried to cram a lot of images into it, so who knows? With Amazon’s The Expanse based on the book series by James S.A. Corey (which I know, like me, you’re a fan of), they did such an outstanding job that I wonder if the books are any better. So, one could hope that Jordan’s work will be translated well into film.

ABC filmed Legend of the Seeker which was based on the late Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth novels, and it lasted two seasons. The books are another favorite fantasy series of mine. I made it through two episodes of the show and called it quits. Aside from the abominable film quality, crappy locations and bad actors, it had none of the elements that made the books so good.:facepalm:The show was like making a bad Planet of the Apes television series if done by CBS. Oh, wait, they did that! :P

Then, also, Apple TV+ has Isaac Asimov’s Foundation coming. I’ve watched the preview and it certainly is polished but how well will it resemble the novels’ and the authors intent?

Better to be careful for what you ask for, there’s a mixed bag of quality available. Though lately that quality has been on the upswing.

 

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20 hours ago, jamessavik said:

The only thing the movies have in common with the novels is the name and a few characters.

Casper van Dien was gorgeous, but he was no Juan Rico, that's for sure.

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On 9/5/2021 at 4:51 PM, Ron said:

 

Better to be careful for what you ask for, there’s a mixed bag of quality available. Though lately that quality has been on the upswing.

 

Aye, I don't disagree with you that quality science fiction/fantasy or any novel to media adaptation, is not assured.

On a side note:

@RonI am curious what is your thoughts on Amazon's show The Man in The High Castle, the alt-history/multiverse Science Fiction from Philip K. Dick, one of the greatest Science fiction writers of the 20th century (also likely having severe mental health issues)? I think Amazon extended the concept of Alternate realities well beyond Philip K. Dick's original work, built a more complex story, and pushed some boundaries (probably borrowed from Fox Fringe), but I didn't feel any closure at the ending of the book or the Amazon show. Technically, Amazon was being faithful to Dick's original vision/story, but personally, I didn't like the original ending either. 

I know this book was well before my birth, but I'm a Harry Turtledove fan as well, alt-history is a sub-genre in science fiction that appeals to me. Among the stories I am awaiting for someone to latch onto, I hope Turtledove's WorldWar will get produced one day and showcase Turtledove's grand alien invasion and historical epic.

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1 hour ago, W_L said:

I am curious what is your thoughts on Amazon's show The Man in The High Castle, the alt-history/multiverse Science Fiction from Philip K. Dick

While I do enjoy Mr. Dick's writing overall, I am not a fan of alternate history in general since I find it far too derivative in nature to be interesting. One can be creative, I feel, without wholly relying on the past to become transcendent. 

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52 minutes ago, Ron said:

While I do enjoy Mr. Dick's writing overall, I am not a fan of alternate history in general since I find it far too derivative in nature to be interesting. One can be creative, I feel, without wholly relying on the past to become transcendent. 

True, I think part of my issue with the original novel was that it was trying too hard at the end to make an impossible narrative to round out. Amazon's series went further and explicitly explored alternate timelines/universes, I thought Fringe did it much better personally with its open ended implications.

For me the best alt-history writer in Sci-Fi would be Turtledove, Harry Turtledove's stories inject humanity into his alt-history scenarios, even when they involve aliens with cold fusion and interstellar propulsion. He examines contemporary issues and near-future technologies in context to one another. One of the points made is being more advanced does not make a civilization better or greater, because power alone is not enough to influence human beings to follow you.

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12 hours ago, W_L said:

For me the best alt-history writer in Sci-Fi would be Turtledove, Harry Turtledove's stories inject humanity into his alt-history scenarios, even when they involve aliens with cold fusion and interstellar propulsion. He examines contemporary issues and near-future technologies in context to one another. One of the points made is being more advanced does not make a civilization better or greater, because power alone is not enough to influence human beings to follow you.

I tend to agree with you in reference to Harry Turtledove.  My favorite alt-history (combined with limited time travel) of Turtledove's books is "The Guns of the South."

Regarding Dune, I feel it is a difficult novel to adapt to either the large (movie) screen or the smaller (television) screen.  The sheer scope of the novel and its fascinating subplots would require a huge investment of time and careful screen writing to do well.  But I will have to reserve judgement until I see more recent versions before final judgment.

Edited by ReaderPaul
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I read all the Dune books, even the ones written after Frank died. I enjoyed them all. It is so large though in scope that I can't see how a movie can do it justice, not even one in a couple of parts. I think you'd need something more along the lines of Star Wars with at least one movie for each book in the series.

Foundation was one of my favorite series also, I'm curious to see how that comes out.

I've even read the Wheel of Time books.

I'm sure I'll subscribe to the streaming service when it does come out, then probably unsub once I've finished watching it as much as I want. Might be once, might be more than that. Guess if it's good enough I could record it so when movie 2 appears I can rewatch 1.

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  • 1 month later...

I saw Dune today, and it is a remarkable movie. I can't imagine a better treatment of the source material.

It was obviously part 1 of a series- I can see two, or maybe even a third part.

Recently saw that part two is in production.

This has the earmarks of a passion project for the director- much like the Lord of the Rings series.

I've become very, very cynical regarding Hollywood's work recently. It has been uniformly so bad, I don't want to waste my consciousness on it.

Villanueva's Dune is what movies should be. On a scale of one to five stars, it's a whole cluster.

pliedes.jpg

Spoiler

I can't give away any spoilers. If you've read the book, it's in the movie. Dune part 1 ends just after the duel between Paul and Jamis.

 

Edited by jamessavik
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I fully expect that seeing Dune for the first time in a theater would leave a person with good feelings about their experience. 

I have watched the movie three times now on a Sony XBR 55" 4K HDR tv with full array local dimming (no Dolby Vision), on HBO Max through my Apple TV+. It looks great even on this size television. It also allows, I should say forces, me to pay closer attention to what's going on rather than the big overall look of the movie because the actors become more front and center, you pay close attention. I find that it's lacking in basic information that was not only compelling in the book but needed to give a better picture of events.

The Boston Globe gave Dune a 2.0 Star review, the Washington Post had two reviewers, and both gave the movie 3 Stars. My contention is that Dune is a 2.0 Star movie as it stands. Social media figures believe that part two of the movie will enlighten viewers of things that were glossed over in part one. That is dreaming because Dune and specifically the Paul Atriedes character is nothing if not forward thinking (dreaming?) and what was missing will not somehow miraculously show up.

At the end of the day my feeling is that without the fullness of seeing Dune part-two, any review may be described as jumping the worm.

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Dean Stockwell who played Dr. Wellington Yueh in Dune has passed away at the age of 85 years old. He was a child actor from way back in Erroll Flyn movies and he was in a whole slew of additional movies and several television series over his years as an actor.

Edited by Ron
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