Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dune: Didn't Hate It



The new Dune film comes out this week and my review can be best summed up as: I didn't hate it.

Honestly, given the general shit quality of films today that is pretty high praise. 

First the good. 

Timothée Chalamet is decent as Paul Atreides even though he is a bit too old for the part in his mid-20s. I liked Oscar Isaac as the Duke, and Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck was pretty good. Stellan Skarsgård is quite good as Baron Harkonnen and the make-up job they did on him was incredible and I assume will win awards. Some of the visual effects are quite impressive but I am sure on a big screen they would be even better. The Guild ships capture the immensity of them and the 'thopters are very well done. 

Basically it was a decent film for the run time of 2 hours, 35 minutes. They set up the next film well and it was a natural breaking point. 

The bad? 

Well there was lots of that, and much of it was casting. I can't stand that Zendaya chick. She has a perpetually arrogant look on her face for someone that young and unaccomplished and she looks nothing like Chani is described in the books. Jason Momoa is not great as Duncan Idaho, he was chosen for name recognition. Same with Dave Bautista, best known as Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, he is just awful as Beast Rabban, I mean really terrible. The black chick playing Liet Kynes, a man in the books, is useless and adds nothing but some diversity flava flava to the movie. 

The movie necessarily I guess skips a ton of backstory. My wife hasn't read the book and she was very confused. She mentioned specifically Duncan Idaho and what his relationship was to the Atreides family. Why was the betrayal of Dr. Yueh so important? Who were these great houses and why did they hate each other? The amount of information left out is enormous and leaves the viewer wondering what is going on unless you are deeply steeped in Dune lore already. They are cramming way too much into two movies and in doing so are losing the enormity and complexity of the Dune universe which is what makes the book so great.

Some other stuff was left out for political correctness. In Dune the term jihad is used frequently, 36 times according to my Kindle search but they use a more generic term to avoid upsetting the haji. Also a major omission. In the book Baron Harkonnen is described as homosexual who prefers young boys and likes them drugged up so they don't struggle. The obvious point is to emphasize what an evil, degenerate the Baron is. No mention of that in the movie for the obvious reason that a bad guy can never be a homo in current day.

So lots that was bad but it wasn't the worst movie ever. I might even watch it again. But for a movie with a reported budget of at least $165 million bucks? "Not awful" isn't much praise for what they spent.

16 comments:

  1. I read three of the "Dune" books in college way back in the 1970s. I enjoyed them even considering their complexities and myriad characters. I saw the first Dune movie, and...well, enough said about that very silly---stupid, really---movie. The only decent thing was Sting as Feyd-Rautha.

    I cannot say that I had been looking forward to this latest version, but I just might go for it after reading your critique. I have been considering reading the Dune books again, and the film might spur me along.

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    1. If you can do so without financially supporting the studios, and you can, I would recommend it.

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  2. +1 on revisiting the books. Those stories were what got me interested in reading for pleasure. With that said I won't support the revisionist remake of the movie. I'm so sick of woke ideology changing shit for no reason I can just spit. Or fart on their general direction 😁

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    1. I get that. Changing plots and characters to grant some sub-IQ barbarian a place in a movie causes me to reach for my revolver.

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  3. Thank you for the update on the new Dune release of Arthur. I was incredibly excited to see the new version, but the shorts on YouTube were concerning. I was really worried they were going to SJW the life out of the masterpiece.

    That "Zendaya" girl looks ugly as a cat walking backward to me, (maybe a 4/10) and nothing like the elfin-featured Chani. A black female Liet Kynes - grrrrrrrrr. I couldn't help but wonder if Kynes was going to be a stunning and brave bull-dyke. The rest of the cast looked great - other than who-ever the woman is that plays Jessica - she is hardly the red-headed stunner of the book. I was dead-set going to refuse to see it just based on the shorts.

    Thanks to your review, I might give it a chance. I guess the only way to do it justice is in the cinema.

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    1. I don't get the whole Zendaya thing, she is pretty homely even when they try to sexy her up and she isn't much of an actress.

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  4. Never read Dune or saw the original, but your review reminds me of when I saw "The Dark Tower"...*supposedly* based on the Stephen King series of novels. They took an AMAZING and COMPLEX story and threw away 99% of the story from the books to make a horribly mis-cast woke POS. Although, unlike the new Dune Id say the Dark Tower was, if not the worst movie Id ever seen, its absolutely Top 3 in the useless garbage pile of "entertainment". I used to love the escapism of movies, but lately the majority of them seem so bad in so many ways, its almost like they're tanking them on purpose so the studio can take a "loss" on the books. Either that or the Hollywood talent pool has dried up to a shallow puddle over the last 10 years.

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    1. Skip the movie and read the book, it really is the best scifi novel ever written.

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    2. I remember seeing the first Dune movie, and then read the books. I had just started high school, and loved Shakespeare. Imagine my delight in finding Shakespeare-inspired references scattered through the book; "Bodkin", "vendetta", "war of assassins", "Juice of Sapphu", as well as the new terms I'd learned in geography, "Shadout" was a well-dipper, "the haj", "jihad" and other arab cultural references were yet to be widely known.

      The first movie actually inspired me to read the book. Kyle MacLachlan will always be Paul for me, and Sean Young gave me pleasant dreams (hey - she was a young Young back then & I hadn't seen her in anything else or interviewed in real life - ugh - what a biache).

      Best sci fi book ever written - totally agree. Unfortunately the books went a bit downhill after the first. They were still very good though. The rest of Herbert's work - not so much.

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  5. I read Dune as a teenager and so the first movie was released not too long after. I remember thinking the movie was pretty good for someone who didn't read the book ( re-watching, only the score holds up ). The TV Dune was decent, again, for someone who didn't read the book. So who decided that that kind of budget justified ONLY catering to the book fans, who didn't mind the best sci-fi book ever ( I know, relative to your generation- I could never get into the real old stuff ) becoming Woke? Any idiotic Hollywood call. I think I'll pass on the movie and just watch the TV version on DVD. At least they tried to flesh out the universe ( the actor selection suffered, as did the FX, but you make allowances for the budget ). Thanks for the review. At most, I'll wait until I have enough points to watch for free at RedBox.

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    1. Free is the right price for this version, it cost only a few hours which for many movies is already too much.

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  6. Bets: they'll never never make the sequel. It will never make enough money.

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    1. I kind of wonder, it doesn't help that it was released early online and with it being on HBO Max it will spread on the interwebz like fire.

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  7. Why are you people paying money to people that hate you? I am guessing the makers of this film are the predictable usual suspects. Fork over ten dollars to them? Not me. We cant get the right to quit the NFL or Amazon or Disneyworld but there will somehow be a civil war?

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