Dune (Denis Villeneuve)

Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by purr1n, Oct 22, 2021.

  1. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    I'll be pretty sad if this doesn't get a part two, but I'm assuming WB is waiting for this to prove profitable before pulling the trigger. Otherwise.... A W K W A R D.....
     
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  2. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    I won't be sad if there's no Part Deux, because this was like sleepwalking through a simplified lens of a complex tale. having read the book series multiple times, was excited about the potential.
    but like @zerodeefex predicted- watched at home on the 55" OLED and was relieved I didn't spend $ to attend an IMAX.
    if only Lynch could have schooled up Denis as to what cinematography should look like.....

    the only highlight for me: Thufir's sun umbrella.

    ps. also very glad I never saw Aquaman or most of the marvel crap movies.
    screw Hollywood. will there ever be another good Coen Bros movie?
     
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  3. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    I thought it was solid but uninspired. Visually, impressive but curiously inert and un-involving and, as others have mentioned, rather mono-chromatic. That said, I liked a lot of the spaceship designs. And there were a fair number of cool shots, even if the cool, smooth, hard monumentality of the movie's overall aesthetic worked against feeling any intimacy with many of the characters.

    I strongly disliked the omnipresence of Zimmer's score. This was an issue with Blade Runner 2049, too. The score just seems intrusive and inescapable. There isn't a moment to pause and hang out with the characters or process what's happening with them, because the music is constantly butting in to underscore the emotionality of every scene or insisting on how majestic everything is. Also, did Zimmer really not realize that the wailing/ululating female Voice of the Desert is the hoariest cliche imaginable in this context?

    I did not watch in a theater but on a flatscreen. I think the intent of all of the flash forwards and dream sequences and the slo-mo and constant presence of the score was to create a kind of hazy, stoned/psychedelic headspace for the viewer, something to mirror what Paul himself seems to experience in the book when he sort of loses himself in time. If so, it's a cool idea, but kind of unpleasant to experience. And there's something deadening or bludgeoning, rather than beguiling, about Villeneuve's approach here (and in Blade Runner 2049). One of the most arresting things about the desert, one would think, is its quiet. But we scarcely get a chance to contemplate that vast, deadly emptiness.

    Finally, the movie--like the novel, to my mind--seems a little undecided about the myth-making it wants to do around Paul. He's so clearly set up as the Chosen One, but we're also told that the messiah is constructed, by forces behind the scenes, as a convenient way of controlling the native populace. The latter is really interesting and much more in keeping in with our contemporary moment (where no one is really looking for a Lawrence of Arabia type), and in a way it's basically true to the novel. But Villeneuve's insistence on making everything as big and blaring as possible works against this idea. The script wants to deconstruct the messiah myth, but the cinematography, imagery, and music prop it right back up. And all of the quotes from the likes of Rifensthal feel curiously muddled. When Lucas/Kasdan used that iconography in Empire, it was to show the cold brutality of imperial pomp. Here, it's applied to our nominal heroes and the obvious baddies alike. I think that Villeneuve is an impressive stylist, but he never seems to really think through what he wants to do with his imagery.

    This somewhat an issue with Sicario, which is, to my mind, his best movie. That one worked b/c Emily Blunt's character was there to provide perspective and puncture the chest-thumping black ops heroics of Brolin et al. Even still, all of Sicario's aerial shots and the big score reassert the myth-making, suggesting a kind of grand scale tragedy that doesn't seem quite fitting for a story about, largely, a grubby, tit for tat underground war.

    But, what the hell, this Dune is by no means terrible and at times even quite good. I definitely wish they'd have taken a freer hand and not adapted with such dogged adherence to the book. (The book is only intermittently cinematic.) And I'd have liked it to have been several ticks weirder. The guild navigators in the Lynch are weird and gross and truly alien. In the Dune 2021, they're guys in... slightly different space suits.

    3/4
     
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  4. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    Dune really has no business being a movie or couple of movies. I read the book in advance before watching
    Villeneuve's adaptation, then I saw Lynch's adaptation.


    Firstly, I respect everybody's opinion, and they have the right to their opinions, but preferring Lynch's version to Villeneuve's is quite puzzling. There's so many things wrong with David Lynch's adaptation that I'd grow tired listing them all. Instead I'll critique Villeneuve's version.


    After finishing Dune the book, I figured it would be best produced as a short series-- about 10-12 1 hour long high production TV episodes would do the trick. There's so many long dialogue scenes exploring character relationships and political scheming, that it's very much an intergalactic Game Of Thrones.


    Villeneuve's Dune is considerably more faithful to the book, but it is also truncated and oversimplified-- the Baron probably being the leading example. In the books, he's full of dialogue and opinion, while in the movies, he's relegated to being an imposing Palpatine themed figure (circa Rise of Skywalker) that just wants the Atreides dead.

    We get all of like 2 minutes of screen time with both Dr Yueh and Thufir in the movie, and both lack the adequate amount of time to explore the over-arching idea or internal strife and tension within house Atreides leading up to its demise. We don't get to see Paul interact with Dr Yueh, and we don't get to see Jessica and Thufir confronting each other, thinking each other to be the mole within the house. No dinner scene either!

    Other aspects are glossed over as well. I don't even think I heard mention of the word mentat once in the movie, and the Sardauker, while introduced in a very epic way complete with Mongolian throat singing, were introduced oh so abruptly with little context.

    Dune is already a very esoteric source material, and is so complex in its world building and lore that the book needs its own glossary of Dune specific terms as complimentary information for its readers. The movie kind of just assumes you're going into it knowing most of the lore behind its universe. It doesn't help that its overly esoteric universe is laid more obscure by the overbearing and loud Zimmer score masking many dialogue scenes, and the characters whispering to boot.

    Dune's universe is just so different and complex, that we really need a series of episodes to fully realize these long dialogue scenes that happen in the book, that Game Of Thrones did so well. The nearly 3 hour Villeneuve film seemed like it lasted only an hour to me, because an otherwise long and slow read of the roughly 450 pages that it covers is all but simplified and jogged through in the movie. Make no mistake that Villeneuve did a far better job at adapting Dune than Lynch, but at many times it just felt like he was stringing together the book's biggest points, rather than giving it adequate time to blossom into a fully realized universe. This isn't to Villeneuve's fault, but it's to anybody who thinks Dune can be made into a movie or movies.

    The movie has many good aspects as well. I for one loved the Ornithopter design, even though seemingly hilariously inefficient, they are very cool designs. Momoa's Duncan Idaho is realized far greater and has more time to shine in the movie than in the book (like the only character that does). Most of the imagery in Villeneuve's dune is very close to what I had imagined reading the book too (I made sure not to look at any trailers or movie footage while reading the book and before watching the movie.)
     
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  5. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    A friend likened the Villeneuve to a picture book of Dune he had when he was a kid, and that seems right to me. It's missing good chunks of what makes the novel interesting, but it is, for better or worse, a series of interesting illustrations to accompany the book.
     
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  6. AdvanTech

    AdvanTech Friend

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    I wish Johann Johansson was still around. Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions (ha, the irony) subordinates that obviously do most of the legwork for him have been making such forgettable music, lately.

    I came into this film blind except for the doc about Jodorowski’s Dune, so think I was in a better position to appreciate this adaptation for what it is. I get the idea that this would have been better as a mini-series, with far more time to create story arcs and world build, but it’s going to be two films so I’m taking the time limit into account.

    Maybe it’s not nearly as good as it could have been, but there are a few things about it that I’m still thinking about 12 hours later, and that’s a good sign for me. I do wish it was a bit weirder, though.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
  7. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Wait, are there Guild Navigators in the movie?? I totally missed that. What scene were they in? Even in the books Herbert describes them as being in tanks breathing spice-infused air so that would be really shitty to visually turn them into dudes in a slightly different shade of black spacesuit.

    On a separate note, I wonder if the creative team figured that Chosen One narratives have become so ubiquitous in Hollywood that they didn’t need to do the legwork of explaining exactly what the Kwisatz Haderach really is, and the interplay between the Bene Gesserit and competing factions within the Imperium. That aspect all felt very rushed through and left to the visuals to carry.
     
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    This movie is 0/10. I watched it again this morning

    Everything about is is awful. The acting, costumes, script, shots, score, plot.

    The acting is worse than a daytime soap opera. It all sucks. Nobody says any lines with conviction. 80s trash has better acting than this. Rutger Hauer and Robert Zdar were better in every piece of shit schlockfest they were in than this. The only actor who even tried was Stellan Skarsgaard doing an older Marlon Brando impersonation but they still ruined his performance with unequalized effects on his voice. Yeah the reverb sends in this film did not have the mud cut and weren’t blended in. Awful. Awful. Awful. At least it didn’t wildly vary in level but they have better digital tools than they did 15 years ago or at least Waves Vocal Rider, which was given out for free a couple of times recently.

    The costumes are awful. They look like they bought them at a mall. The fremen are frickin dirt bikers instead of Space Bedouin.

    They teased Timothy Chalet and disposable final fight guy’s hair with product for the final fight. There was no sand in their hair stuck in the product.

    All the Islamic stuff was forced in and they held back on the actual middle easterners. They jsut randomly say the whiny white guy is the messiah/Mahdi for no fucking reason. Oh and the middle easterner make tea/coffee like Bedouin for no reason. When they are dudes about to go dirt biking

    Liet Kynes sucks. She says the Fremen prayer to Shai-Hulud like she’s at a poetry reading at Starbucks, not a religious prayer that Dennis V did not understand the subtext of. So she betrayed her lord and Jason Mamoa did not kill her on the spot? Oh and he’s worse here than he was in the awful Conan remake, which is a better movie than this, and in Baywatch Hawaii. Does Dennis V not know how feudalism works? Has he not seen a Samurai movie? Kill their lord, man they seek vengeance forever.

    jessica as Xena warrior princess was idiotic.

    now let’s talk about the stolen shots

    1) Paul with the gun on the cliff from Raiders of the Lost Ark but poorly lit and shitty
    2) Sandstorm from the Mummy with Brendan Fraiser. Zendaya’s like twelve. Why couldn’t they have Paul dream of someone Rachel Weisz hot?
    3) Plane in Wadi Rum from Lawrence of Arabia
    4) burning bodies from tons of westerns and Star Wars.
    5) twin moons like twin suns of tattooine
    6) sardukar like the immortals from 300
    7) Score that rips off from the Lion King and The Last Temptation of Christ.
    7) and the most egregious. The desert sun melting the film from Lawrence of Arabia but the sun can’t melt digital so it’s fucking cgi. Crap.

    All of those were much better movies than this. Pretty much every Zach Snyder movie is better than this. Even Batman vs Superman. Hostel III and Halloween Kills kicked the shit out of this piece of shit. This movie makes me want to watch Lawrence of Arabia to get the stank out of my mouth.

    Total crap. Terrible lighting. Terrible blocking. Terrible day for night color grading. Awful.

    WB put this direct to video for a reason. It’s worse than the Lynch version. The Sleeper Shall Not Awaken.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  9. NationOfLaws

    NationOfLaws Friend

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    I disagree with your assessment of the movie but I get it.
     
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  10. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    This movie sucks. Watch anything else in the desert. Lawrence of Arabia, The Wind and the Lion, The Lion in the Desert, or if you want to see violent religious leaders, Khartoum or the Last Temptation of Christ. Laurence Olivier is a much better Mahdi claimant and Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast as an angry, religiously confused, spiritual seeker from the Middle East who wants to “cleanse this world”
     
  11. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    It’s only good if you think modern hollywood crap is passable. This is worse than a marvel movie. Way worse. It’s not even an amusement park ride with jokes. They stole Josh Brolin’s smiling line from Black Dynamite with Michael Jai White. That’s how big of a piece of shit this movie this. Black Dynamite’s plot makes more sense. Better final fight too.
     
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  12. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I don’t feel as strongly as you do, but I do want to make two specific replies:

    1. WB committed to releasing all of their 2021 films day and date on HBO Max along with theatrical releases back in 2020 when it was clear the pandemic was going to be long. Dune would never gotten a streaming release so soon if the pandemic hadn’t forced WB’s hand.

    2. “Jessica as Xena Warrior Princess”, the only two times she fights anyone is on the ornithopter with the Harkonnens and Stilgar. Both of these scenes are lifted directly from the book, which also takes great pains to explain how the Bene Gesserit can basically control their nervous system down to single nerves and have such an understanding of the human body that they can disable or kill most opponents with minimal fuss.
     
  13. roshambo123

    roshambo123 Friend

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    I loved it. I enjoyed the aesthetic and relentless dream state of the experience.

    I appreciate the comments that it derives many elements from many other films, but given this is a second go at something that has already been made once this is an assumed part of the game. I'm also almost 40 and have seen a lot of movies and nearly every experience in my life these days has some past echo associated with it. That I saw what the artist did isn't nearly as important as how they executed it. If I was going to mark down everything I could identify the inspirational source of then everything I'd see would get 0/10.
     
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  14. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    Well that's Hollywood. They aren't color-blind. They are color and geography stupid. Most people in Hollywood have no idea what middle-eastern or desert tribe means despite the shitload of people from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon living in SoCal. Add a random black person along with the designed brown guy (Bardim) and voila: middle eastern. At least the OG Dune had well tanned Italian or Socal or guys who grew out their hair.

    She along with Aquaman sucked ass the most. Kynes is supposed to be captured by the Harkonnen and dropped in the desert to die. This is what makes Dune work. Their world is brutal and people die in unceremoniously ways. That her character dies in bad-ass way, taking several Sardaukar along with her while she was calling for the worm - seemed a bit too much like Hollywood pandering.

    I'm pretty sure he read Dune and went WTF on the sci-fi and world building parts. You know sort, of like how Catherine Deneuve (as Janeway) went WTF is this shit when they started filming for Star Trek Voyager and abruptly quit. Except in this case, Denis already sold his soul (Hollywood contracts).

    Exactly, why even bother with the Shadout Mapes and Gom Jabbar scenes or even have Thufir or Piter? Or even have separate roles for Brolin and Aquaman which could have be combined in this film. Also, why bother with the personal force fields? Just give them laser guns. Heck, get rid of the worms. Make it a pure betrayal drama punctuated by hallucinogenic drugs that happens to be set in space.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  15. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    Right. A Dune-head is going to think, hey, that poison needle is the Gom Jabbar. Everyone else is just going to go, hey, that's a poison needle, and not need (or want) any further explanation.
     
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  16. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    Johansson would've been great for this movie.
     
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  17. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    Hmm, now I'm not so sure, but I thought they were the guys in the orange-ish suits with the cloudy bubble helmets. In the early sequence when the Harkonnen are leaving Dune. And I took the guys in black to be their attendants, a la the Lynch version. But now I'm not so sure.

    Speaking of the Guild, would love to have seen more of the Heighliners. Since the movie was large, why not show us something "truly large"? There are a couple cool shots, but would've been neat to have seen the transit.

    EDIT: This seems the closest I can find to any confirmation about the navigators: https://www.reddit.com/r/dune/comments/ov4rbg/guild_navigators_from_dune_2021_sketch/
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Thanks for the reference, I’ll take a look at that scene again. If that’s all they have for the Guild Navigators, then I have no hope that part II will be any better.
     
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  19. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    It's actually when the Atreides are being told to go to Dune. Right around 9:00. But, again, I could be wrong.

    Mostly, it just looks like Daft Punk came to play at their house.
     
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  20. purr1n

    purr1n On vacation

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    It's these dudes, among the space nuns and Emperor's herald. Figure there's spice gas inside their oversized helmets. It's possible they are not full fledged navigators, but apprentices, trainees, or Spacing Guild staff. At least it can be interpreted that way.
    GN.jpg

    There's lots of tidbits in the film, just that Denis doesn't focus on them and simply moves on to prevent the audience from having to think and go huh wut? It's the opposite approach of the OG Dune film where there's way too much for someone who has not read the book. That shot above lasted a few frames. At worse, no one remembers and we move on. Which I'm sure is exactly what Villeneuve intends.

    Sci-fi is tough in movies. Sci-fi is supposed to push the viewer to think, to wonder. But not to the point of "wut I'm outta here" like this below:

    guildnavigator-750x430.jpg
     
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