Discussion in 'Random Thoughts' started by purr1n, Oct 22, 2021.
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Oh, man, the navigators in the Lynch Dune are the perfect degree of Wut. Gross and weird and alien. In the grand tradition of space genitalia creature design.
I’m watching the Alan Smithee cut of Dune. Honestly I think Lynch got Dune and did his best to film an unfilmable book. This just feels more like Dune than the new movie. I’ll give the new one another watch to see if it resonates more all the same.
I enjoyed the movie.
I learned long ago to not watch a movie if I had read and enjoyed the book and I have not read this book. IMO Villeneuve was in a no win situation where if he had followed the book more closely he would have pleased the few and alienated the masses. As it is, I already think he might have already upset the attention disorder deficit crowd that expected more mindless action.
It's a risky business making a movie based on a book, especially a best seller with a complicated story line. Let's be realistic though, how many of the millions of people that have read the book since 1965 are still alive today? Unfortunately like most things it comes down to the number crunching.
Oh....& I thought Lynch's Dune was awful.
People need to recognize the medium. Modern high budget theater films are very pure to the original nature of movies. TV came from radio, where the focus was on dialog and character and movies came from vaudeville and theater where the focus was on spectacle. The ascendency of TV and binge streaming has made it even less important for movies to focus on character as a 2-hour film can rarely pull off the same character development as a mini-series that's 5x or 10x as long. Movies are intended to create a short experience that wows and impresses, mainly with images that show rather than dialog that tells. The less talking, the purer the film.
The new Dune is an IMAX theater film that is true to the medium. It is a visual spectacle of grand proportion. If they greenlight future Dune films, Villeneuve will have opportunities to shade in some texture on peripheral details and do more world building. The criticism that the new Dune lacks depth might be less true in the future if we are assessing what would be the sum total of multiple films.
Why? Maybe one hour of the film is in the IMAX 1.4:1 aspect ratio, and at most 20 IMAX theaters in the USA (all in the big cities and at very specific venues) support the 1.4:1. (I guess I may have missed the privilege of forcefully tilting my head and eyeballs up the screen to see Sardaukar float down or the sandcrawlers up in the sky.) The remainder of the IMAX screens around the country are the same aspect ratio as your TV at 1.8:1. An "IMAX screen" in a small town is the size of the larger screens used during first two weeks of a blockbuster in a larger metro area.
Finally, I don't get a better viewing angle at the theater than at home, which is what really matters. 55" to 75" TVs with better black levels than most movie screens are cheap in 2021. I also don't have to deal with the tard four seats to my Tik-Toking on their bright cellphone screen, the dude four rows ahead of me slurping down their Icee, the entire family to my left that needs to cross over me to go pee or get more snacks during a crucial scene, or the dickhead projectionist who has hearing loss and cranked up the volume to sustained a 103db SPL.
IMAX is one of the biggest scams going on in the biz. The "theatrical experience" deal is another one of those Maoisms perpetuated by the old guard studios. I've heard the same shit when I was at the MPAA six years ago (when streaming was starting to really hit its stride) and didn't believe in it then. There are certain things which still make the big screen better, but the gap has closed. The big screen needs ideal conditions to be a better experience. Denis is full of shit when he says home viewing is like driving a speedboat in a bathtub. He's out of touch. Most small and medium town screens are not anywhere like the screens in the larger metro areas.
Heck, I'd rather watch the The Searchers with John Wayne on the big screen than Dune's CGI because it's about as close I can can get to Monument Valley without visiting. You want to see beautiful desert landscapes and real cinematography?
LOL. Nonsense!: Lord of the Rings. Godfather I and II. Gone with the Wind. The Wild Bunch. Lawrence of Arabia. Many more. It has been done and can be done.
I'd argue that the ascendancy of Marvel and JJ Abrams has made moviegoers stupid.
I've never seen criticisms of a film magically go away because of better sequels.
It's too late anyway. Denis squandered the opportunity. The first films in Peter Jackson's LOTR and Hobbit trilogies were mostly showing us the characters and their world before the action really got going.
The bigger problem is that there isn't much left in the plot of Dune:
Paul realizes the full extent his powahs via liquid Spice concentrate. Fremen truly rally around him after he shows he can ride a worm as powahs ain't enough because everybody's got to do the tribal thing no exceptions.
Two years of Freeman guerilla attacks bring Spice production on Iraqqis to a halt. Paul is reunited with an old friend. (Can be done in a single sequence with four pew-pew boom scenes with Spice farming equipment being exploded and one "OMG I thought you were dead" scene. Maybe interspace some scenes showing the Freman becoming more radicalized with their military successes but this may be too much for modern audiences),
This gets the attention of Space Amazon, Spacing Guild, Space Nuns, Great Houses, Baron Harkonnen (sort of) and Emperor. (Denis can choose what to omit or include for 7 frames so we can gloss over). Emperor brings his legions of AmongUs Shock Troops to put down Freman uprising but gets his assed kicked instead. Whether Paul will have a mano a mano with Sting remains to be seen since Sting wasn't in the first one. (This last chapter can be done with three pew-pew boom sequences, including scenes of Sardauker floating in from up high and Freman popping up from the sand (best appreciated on IMAX tall aspect ratio screens) and recycled scene of Paul stylistically killing Sardaukar. Add scene of Baron's death - whether his corpse will float a few inches above the ground or fly away like a balloon remains to be seen - maybe he will float up and stick to the ceiling. Add final sequence of Emperor's surrender and Paul's demands).
I tend to forget that I'm watching in imax after about 10 minutes into the film. If the theater is completely dark, imax vs regular theater screen makes no difference after a while.
I honestly need to see the film on my oled at home. The contrast and black levels on the theater's projector looked pretty awful.
IMAX used to be special when it was true film run horizontally through a custom projector, in a custom theater designed just for that showcase.
15 perforation 70mm IMAX in a properly calibrated IMAX theater is absolutely the best presentation you will ever see of a feature film. Hands down, period. And I should know, I worked for many years as an IMAX projectionist. Some IMAX projectors could also do 48fps for things like the Hobbit movies, others could do 3D using two film prints. Really incredible to see it at work. It is the pinnacle of film-based media. The screens were floor to ceiling in a 4:3 aspect ratio and when the image filled the full screen, it is truly immersive.
Sadly, in order to remain competitive in the marketplace, IMAX converted everything to digital. They started by using two 2k projectors on screens that would simply be considered the largest screen in the house of a regular movie theater. This diminished the experience massively. Then they introduced laser projection at the Mann's Chinese Theater. I'm not sure how many theaters now feature laser IMAX. Laser projection is pretty cool, you can stack the laser modules to increase resolution so it's a partially modular system and laser can project true black. However, to equal the image quality of 15/70 IMAX, they'd have to project in 8k or higher, which the projectors can do but AFAIK cameras can't even shoot in true 8k yet, and even if they did and they filmed a big movie in 8k and projected it on IMAX laser, you still wouldn't have the floor to ceiling screen.
I can't say for sure, but there may still be a few museums that didn't convert their IMAX systems to digital. That's what IMAX was originally designed for, documentaries to play in museums. If there is one near you and it's still running film, I highly recommend going. It will blow the pants off Dune.
The movie should've been 3 parts. Or the first part should've ended right after the Harkonnen attack while being the same lenght - it would've breathed more that way. But instead they wanted to add more action sequences with the desert chases, Idaho death, knife fights, etc and please the modern audience. World-building suffered as result. I wouldn't blame it on Denis alone, it was probably the studio, too.
For comparison's sake - LotR was 9h total while the book is abour 1200 pages (Kindle edition). Dune would likely be a total of 5 hours and the book is 900 pages (again, Kindle edition). LotR movie breathes much more, with better pages/hour ratio, and still they skipped some long parts of the book (Tom Bombadil comes to mind..).
I really hope Dune gets Extended/Director's cut. I liked LotR Extended much more than the theatrical cut.
I'm sure you loved how that 15/70 was loaded and piped through.
IMAX found out they couldn't make any money with super hires analog films of giraffes fucking so they decided to use their screens for superhero movies. The reason they had to go digital is because ... Hollywood went digital. IMAX has been playing catch up in many respects because of the bigness of their screens.
I'm not against digital though. Resolution and color tinting are so much better now - or that more can be done with less.
8K LOL. No one wants to do post in 8K. Oh gawd, can you imagine 8K dailies?
I was just thinking to myself, my preference is for LOTR extended, which comes in at a smidge under 11 and a half hours. The studio green-lighting all three movies up front is what really allowed Jackson to do a good job with LOTR. And that surely comes down to LOTR's enormous popularity.
Perhaps I'm off base here.... but as popular as Dune is with sci-fi buffs, it surely doesn't have nearly the same enduring wider popularity that LOTR has. And without the studio confidence to create three enormous money-making movies, this was always doomed to be disappointing to many. But even then, I doubt Dune fans would ever be truly happy.
Really not that hard. Take the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries and give it better direction, actors, and special effects. And 360M budget.
I don't know where you're getting the "maybe one hour of the film is in IMAX 1.4:1." I did see it in 1.4 and the entire show stayed the same aspect. According to the tech specs, it was shot on Alexa LF, which is digital and 1.4 aspect ratio. Don't believe any film was used. I admit there was one low res high speed shot I noticed where it did not have enough resolution, my guess being it was shot too wide and they cropped. It lasted like one second. And I admit, overall it wasn't the sharpest film I've seen, but I felt the scale of the visuals with all these huge imposing buildings and ships was communicated better with the screen being physically large.
Yup, IMAX doesn't have Dolby's contrast ratio. I'd love to see them combined. The Dune IMAX projection I saw at the Chinese Theater IMAX did miss the contrast I saw in a Dolby Theatre when I saw No Time to Die.
That's hell of a standard you have to meet. It has to be in the ranks of the greatest films ever made in the past 100 years or "Villaneuve has squandered the opportunity" ? I'll also point out Lord of the Rings is 9 hours long and Godfather I and II total to 6 hours and Gone with the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia are both nearly 4 hours. You sorta reinforced my point that run-time is essential to build character and worlds to the same standard commonly seen in longer format TV dramas/mini-series.
As to your point that they've burnt all the plot up already, possibly. I could see them front loading the initial film to make it as fast paced as possible to hopefully get a greenlight for part two, which they haven't fully thought about and assumed they will figure it out when and if they get there.
Yeah, IMAX was always a niche of a niche and now they just exist as a brand name to get suckers to pay more at theaters. Unless you know you're seeing a 4k movie with laser projection, it's not worth any extra money any more.
Working with IMAX film was a trip. The platters were so heavy we had to use a hand-cranked forklift to lift and move them. I could run the entire projection booth by myself but whenever we had two people we'd assist with loading and lifting. Here is a photo of an IMAX platter system (not my theater):
Because of the way the film ran through the projector, we would have to load it and then hand turn it by several frames to make sure the film was correctly laying flat on the lens housing, and turn it until we hit the start mark. Unlike 35mm film, where the soundtrack is printed on the celluloid, we would load the soundtracks manually to a hard drive and the system would sync it to the film based on that starting mark, so we had to make sure it was aligned correctly every time.
The film is so big that it would come in 3 minute reels with headers and tails. When this was for 20 minutes documentaries it wasn't an issue, but it took me an entire day and night to build Transformers 3 because that was in 3D so I had to do it twice! I logged so much overtime that at first the company thought it was a mistake and asked me to correct my time punches, but when I confirmed the hours were correct they flipped out. Made a nice chunk of change on that. For comparison, a standard 2 hour 35mm movie would come on six reels. A 2 hour IMAX movie would be on about 40 reels and unlike 35mm film where the splices are straight, because IMAX film moves in a wave-like motion and is so large, the splices had to be zig-zag using a special splicer and it was so easy to be off by a single sprocket for any given slice, making it take forever. On top of that, if you happened to splice one sprocket too many, meaning you've cut into the film image, you'd have to request a whole new reel for that 3 minutes at the cost of several thousand dollars.
It was honestly one of the most enjoyable jobs I ever had.
You misunderstood the context of that statement.
They probably cropped it, chopped off the sides, for the stuff not filmed on the Arri to arrive at 1.4:1 for the TOTL IMAX screens.
I find the "you must see it on IMAX" rather disingenuous marketing anyway. The "IMAX" theaters here in Corpus are the same size as medium+ regular screens in Agoura/Westlake near where I used to live. The closest "TOTL" 1.4:1 IMAX is three+ hours away in Austin. In fact, that's the only IMAX in TX with 1.4:1.
The regular non-speshal IMAX is 1.8:1. Since TVs are about 1.8:1, it makes me wonder WTF the studios and Denis are trying to say since the TV aspect ratio is closer to the speshal TOTL IMAX of 1.4:1. Which makes the 2.35:1 top and bottom crop on HBOMax and at regular non-IMAX theaters seem odd. Why not release the 1.8.1 aspect on HBOMax or on the regular theater screens?
What aspect ratio is Dune supposed to be in? What's Denis' artistic vision and intent? 1.4:1 (available to few), 1.8:1 available to more at a higher price (IMAX "lite"), or 2:35:1 available to most on regular screens and TV streaming. They can move the curtains in at regular movie screens to get 1.8:1.
What was the context that I missed? You were addressing what I said about run-length and character development and I responded within that context.
I imagine 1.4 was the original intent as it would have utilized the full frame, it would be a blunder to shoot with the intention of cropping. It is unfortunate the projection isn't there for most of the country to see the full frame.
And yes, nobody wants to deal with 8K. As I understand from someone in the know, even a lot of the biggest budget stuff is posted at 2K and up-resed to 4K.
Wait a minute. I just texted someone back in CA who saw it on the big IMAX screen. Are you absolutely sure everything stayed in 1.4:1? Where did you go see it? You sure you didn't see the 1.8:1 on the regular IMAX screens?
TCL Chinese Theater. I am pretty damn sure it was 1.4:1 but if someone says I'm a liar and it wasn't or it changes I'll accept it, my memory isn't perfect but I don't remember the aspect ratio changing at any point and the quality seemed consistent other than that one bad shot I mentioned.
Edit: Apparently Chinese Theater is 1.8:1 so I'm a liar. You can disregard everything I say as I have no clue what I'm saying.
LOL, it's OK. The tall IMAX screens are rare. I only know of the ones at Irvine, Universal, and Century City. I'm sure there are more in SoCal. Don't ask me how I know about this stuff.
Framing is almost always done with cropping in mind. If you ever see a photo of monitors on film sets, they always have different aspect ratios charted on them, either within the display itself or using tape. This allows the filmmakers to shoot within certain safety margins should the film or show be shown without mattes.
The big exception would be stuff shot with native anamorphic lenses for 2.35:1/2.40:1 content. Most filmmakers don't use true anamorphic lenses but some still do, and even then they'll usually compose with an eye toward not putting vital content at the edges of the frame so it can be cropped in for less wide aspect ratios (unless the content is deliberately focusing on something at the edge of frame, in which case the crop will cut from the edge of the frame toward the center of the image).
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