So much potential…


Dune.

I would like to see this done right, and it looks good, the cast looks perfect, but…you cannot fit Dune into a single movie. That was tried before, and while it was an intriguing effort, it didn’t do the job. I will be first in line to see it, but my enthusiasm will be tentative and I’ll be primed for disappointment.

Comments

  1. specialffrog says

    I don’t think it is going to cover the whole first book. Feyd is notably absent from the trailer and there is no indication either he or Alia have been cast.

  2. nomenexrecto says

    It’s suposed to be only roughly half of the novel for the first movie. If there ist to be a second…

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    They are only going to cover the first half of the novel–From when the Atreides take possession of Arrakis to when Paul and Jessica join the Freman. The hoped-for sequel will over the other half.

  4. christoph says

    The TV miniseries from the SciFi channel was pretty good. (The David Lynch movie from the 80’s sucked rocks.)

  5. says

    I don’t understand why they didn’t try a Peter Jackson style trilogy. They are leaving a lot of money on the table. Make the first part and, if it’s a hit, collect the whole bunch. (I know: you want to shoot some parts of part 3 while shooting part 1, etc. figuring that out was some genius on Jackson’s team)

  6. rgmani says

    Frankly, I think Dune really does not translate well to the screen. The backstory is far too complex and so much of the action takes place inside people’s heads. Do not have high expectations.

    Nonetheless, I will see it but I expect to be disappointed (as I was the last two times).

  7. larrylyons says

    “The David Lynch movie from the 80’s sucked rocks.”

    And for a very good reason, the studio took over control from Lynch and butchered it. Notice his name isn’t on the extended edition? That’s because after the butchery Lynch refused to let his name be associated with it.

    As an aside one of the camera operators was a college friend of mine. When he came back to Winnipeg that Christmas he let a few of us see the shooting script. When the movie came out I was very surprised to see how different the end result was from the script I read the previous Christmas.

  8. says

    I don’t know why people hate on the Lynch movie.

    As a thing in itself, it’s fine. People like to talk about it like it was Superman IV, the Quest For Peace. It wasn’t.

    It was a fine movie that walked a very awkward line between limiting exposition and giving the audience an understanding of the characters’ complexities & motivations. Lots of people are going to disagree with where they set the balance point, but that was not a terrible movie. Not by any means.

  9. Rob Grigjanis says

    CD @9:

    I don’t know why people hate on the Lynch movie.

    I think it’s because the ending does a huge dump on the story. I thought it was beautifully made, with a superb cast. I also thought it was obvious on first viewing that outside forces (money) forced the crappy ending. So I appreciate everything good about it while thinking about what might have been.

    I just wish Lynch had been given a blank check for the film. And then another one to make LotR properly.

  10. weylguy says

    I read the book years ago and thought it was utter trash. Sandworms? Physically impossible, The idea was picked up in the movie Tremors and its sequels, also physically impossible. A recent cartoon by Gary Larson has scuba divers searching for gophers in a garden plot, which Larson knew was funny because it’s impossible.

  11. John Morales says

    loosenoodlepoodledoodle:

    hard sci-fi like this

    “hard”?

    <snicker>

    Leaving aside that it’s just plain fantasy, rgmani @6 got it right IMO.

    The book is just packed with internal monologue, and the only possible way to do that in a movie would be with voice-overs. Pretty much constantly.

  12. anchor says

    @#13 – Except this isn’t ‘hard science fiction’. Its hard fantasy with a bunch of characters clad in heavy leather costumes posturing threateningly at each other like heavy metal rock stars on stage set on a fantasy arid world in a fantasy space setting.

    Now they comport.

  13. Vreejack says

    All of the series from the sci-fi channel were almost uniformly excellent. I think they covered the first three books.

  14. consciousness razor says

    I don’t get how you can be into hard sci-fi like this and absolutely hate human spaceflight.

    Our god emperor PZ just likes to have control over all of the spice himself. But he says it’s for our own good, of course. Why shouldn’t we believe him? He is god emperor after all, and he does control the spice. (Proof: Can you ever get any from him? I certainly can’t. QED.) So if anybody should know better than us, maybe it really is him.

    But perhaps, it’s not spaceflight which makes the Dune stories particularly interesting works of fiction. That is also possible. What’s supposed to be so great about moving from one place to another, anyway? Sounds kind of boring.

  15. says

    Sorry, #16, you miscounted. There’s only one book.

    #13: what others have already said. Dune is not hard science fiction. It’s socio-political speculation. Note: it kind of reverses the common scenarios of much of hard SF. In Dune, there are no computers — society rejected all computers in something called the Butlerian Jihad. It’s all power of the mind, man.

    #9, #11: I like the overall idea of the Lynch movie, too, but I think it was marred by some annoying decisions. Like the unnecessary voice overs: someone is stabbed and dies. Voiceover: “it was a poisoned knife”. Totally superfluous. Just obnoxious and took me right out of the movie. Then there was Alia, whose voice made me laugh out loud at her lines.

    #5: It deserves at least 3, unlike The Hobbit.

  16. says

    Also, #13: I don’t hate human spaceflight. I hate people trying to justify scientific exploration with nonsense about colonization, which isn’t going to happen.

  17. says

    I tried reading the first book, but having to constantly flip to the glossary just to understand the made up words was too much work for a piece of fiction.

  18. consciousness razor says

    PZ:

    Sorry, #16, you miscounted. There’s only one book.

    ↑ ↑ not intended to be a factual statement ↑ ↑

    (But also, I will tentatively concede that there is a possibility that he is not part sandworm, as I had implied before.)

    I haven’t actually read those other books, and you don’t have to like them if you have. I bet this movie will fail, artistically if not financially, if this is the attitude taken by its creators. I think Villeneuve is a better director than that, but it reminds me of what they did with the Star Wars sequel trilogy … as if they had absolutely no motivation to make it reasonably consistent with the rest of the story which had already been established, when looking at the big picture or minor details or anything in between.

    Anyway, like them or not, I still don’t think any of it’s interesting, influential, relevant, and/or noteworthy because it involves spaceflight of all things. When I think of Dune, including all of the good and the bad and the just plain weird, that just doesn’t make the cut. It seems like that was only brought up because LNPD was feeling cranky about some of your previous threads, because otherwise, I just don’t get how anybody could really think that’s what Dune is all about.

  19. wzrd1 says

    I dunno, I think Dune could be done in one movie.
    After all, there are worse ways to spend one’s annual vacation. ;)

  20. khms says

    The thing remarkable about Dune is that there are people who like it. It’s one of the first SF stories I can remember that I couldn’t finish.

  21. Markus Schäfer says

    I tried to get into Dune but there was just too much sand in the story. I don’t like sand. It’s all coarse, and rough, and irritating. And it gets everywhere.

  22. Daniel Holland says

    I think it will be awesome. I love the book, though it must be seen as a prelude to the rest. If you stick with the first book only, you may miss how Paul is not a straightforward hero, but a tragic figure coming to grips with his destiny, and making difficult choices, knowing well what pain and suffering they bring to him personally and the whole universe. And Dune isn’t really SciFi either. While many of the plot devices such as prescience and the ancestral memory are given a hint of a scientific explanation, it could just as well be magic, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to the story. Like the force in Star Wars.
    The writing style of Frank Herbert is unusual and many don’t like it. I personally love it, but it makes any adaptation difficult. There will be changes, omissions and embelishments to make the universe, the characters and the story more easily understood in a movie without too many annoying voiceovers, but the director promised to stay true to the spirit of the book. I am hopeful, given the excellent casting, the excellent images shown so far and the even just the sounds in the trailer. Hans Zimmer said no to Nolan to do the score for this instead of Tenet and even invented new musical instruments to make it sound more alien. The diverse cast is well justified given the books, and even the genderswapped planetologist makes sense, not only introducing another strong female character, but also simplifying the number of characters for the movie, in a similar way GoT did. It also seems that Chani may be shown to be more badass as in the previous adaptations. So far, I love everything I know about this movie. Haven’t been this excited about an upcoming movie ever.

  23. says

    The Lynch movie sucked because he introduced all of this gratuitous shit that wasn’t in the books. I can see how having it rain at the end may have been a bonehead studio decision, but the heart plugs and the weirding modules was idiocy Lynch came up with himself because he evidently thought they’d look cool or something (evidently it wasn’t enough to have Jessica teaching Really Effective Martial Arts, which is all the “weirding way” is in the book), and Herbert went along with it either because he didn’t have much choice and wanted to make the best of it, or he really had no idea what made the book good in the first place (Dune, unlike the other books in the series, was extensively revised by John W Campbell, for better or for worse)

  24. chigau (違う) says

    weylguy #12
    Do you think any of the rest of it is physically impossible? or is it just the sandworms?

  25. bcw bcw says

    The entire universe of Dune is unscientific claptrap but within the story it’s logically self-consistent claptrap – this makes it great science fiction. You can believe the events and people within the world that Herbert creates. You can contrast the brilliant nonsense of Dune with the travesty of something like Andromeda Strain – a book which pissed me off as a teenager and still infuriates me today. Chrichton claims to be building a science fiction story along the rules of evolution in the real world and then got it all wrong. Endless engineering detail but with a nuclear bomb as a safety tool? Disease cells that on a whim decide to go eat something different while still being supplied their normal food as the big denouement? WTF?

  26. blf says

    Poppyhead already promoted the exact(?) same trailer almost a year ago. My response hasn’t changed:

    I have no opinion on the books, movies, comics, and whatever elses, as I’ve never ever seen, read, heard, or whatevered any of the Dune stuff, with the exception of a few short synopsises. Which failed to gather my interest at all, hence my unfamiliarity with the cult. I did watch the trailer in the OP, and am still completely baffled: It made no sense, and seems to be just another shoot-em-up space opera by a bunch of hack writers. Boring, insipid, confusing, unnecessarily LOUD noises but with muffled / incomprehensible dialogue, and laughable special effects (what worm for fecks sake?). I speculate that to someone in the cult, or who at least knows the story — if there is any story somewhere — that trailer could have made some sense, and might even be interesting or at least generate interest / sales (it’s purpo$e). To someone like me who has no fecking idea what the Dune cult is about, it was a mess, and failed totally in its purpo$e.

    An additional criticism, upon watching the link in this thread, is gratuitous violence, plus hints of slavery and misogyny. And very definitely, both torture and hereditary authoritarianism. What I presume is the “hero” is one of the hereditary authoritarians.

    In that earlier thread, it was explained to me the “worm” is the thing that rises up from what is supposedly sand. I know that, as I said, I have read “a few short synopsises”. The issue I raised in my criticism when mentioning the worm in the trailer is “laughable special effects” (other criticisms also apply).

  27. christoph says

    @Larrylyons, # 7: Thanks-I didn’t know that about the studio taking over control.

    @ Crip Dyke, # 9: Duct taping the cat and dog together as a poison antidote kind of went over the top for me. The heart plugs, disease sore fetishes, and “weirding modules” were just plain goofy. (I don’t have a problem with you liking the movie though.)

  28. says

    I suppose the studios try to do market research for such things, but I wonder if there really is a market for a Dune franchise at this point. In the past Hollywood has tried to revive older properties, only to find them past their sell by date. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie from 2015 was an extreme example of that, having been stuck in development since 1993. I have no doubt there would have been more of a potential audience for the film in the ’90s. By 2015 a lot of the original fans had aged out of going to films, and a large part of the prime movie going audience wouldn’t have been familiar with the name.

  29. battycat13 says

    I don’t have to say it, because so many others beat me to it, but this film will only cover the first half of the book. A 2nd film is slated to do the rest…if this one succeeds. Why they didn’t bank on shooting both at the same time I don’t understand – a la LOTR or the original Donner Superman films (he was fired/walked away before shooting all the footage. The first film’s ending was reworked and released. DeLaurentis brought in Richard Lester to piece together a sequel using the remaining Donner footage and new stuff…In retrospect, this is probably a bad example).

  30. says

    Haven’t been to a movie theatre in over two years, but I might just go and watch this.
    Then again, with the way the pandemic is developing maybe I’ll wait for the DVD to drop into the bargain bin.

    I’ve enjoyed the book and the 2000 miniseries.

    One of the main problems with Dune IMO is what Dr. Bret Devereaux calls the Fremen mirage; An insurgency like that of the Fremen is in reality quite unlikely to succeed. Let alone find enough manpower to conquer an empire encompassing many worlds. Earth-like planets are big.

    Also, since the Holzman shield only allowed slow moving objects like knives to pass through, why not simply add a coat of mail or kevlar body armor?

    But, it is fiction. Which we can enjoy even if we know it isn’t real.

  31. says

    Also, since the Holzman shield only allowed slow moving objects like knives to pass through, why not simply add a coat of mail or kevlar body armor?

    I thought of that, way back when. My answer to myself was this: a bullet moves quickly. A gun moves slowly. Adding chain mail simply encourages the use of hand held guns or gas projectors or whatever. It changes which weapons are deadly, but it doesn’t change victory conditions (getting your weapon inside the enemy shield).

    Therefore, at least in a book, might as well be knives as gas canisters or derringers.

  32. consciousness razor says

    Daniel Holland:

    Hans Zimmer […] even invented new musical instruments to make it sound more alien.

    If that just means new virtual instruments (i.e., synthesizing or sampling or whatever), then that’s not unusual at all. Happens every day. Super easy, barely an inconvenience, etc. If he hadn’t done that, I would be shocked. Genuinely shocked.

    There’s generally no need to build some physical object for the task, which just makes the whole process more expensive and time-consuming and error-prone and so forth. Among other things, it means somebody has to learn to play the thing, then you have to get some decent recordings out of that, and then you probably still have to apply some audio processing to it afterward anyway. Also, you’re more limited by what you’re able to construct, whereas just designing some sounds on a computer offers much more freedom. It’s very closely analogous to using “practical” effects/sets/makeup/etc. versus using CGI — if you can get good results, why not just do it all on the computer?

    There are very few real benefits to doing things that way (re: music or instruments), basically none unless it has to be used in a live performance…. That leads me to think some do appear on-screen, as diegetic music. So, they just needed to make stuff for those particular scenes, and Zimmer (and co.) had to write something for them. It would sort of take you out of the story a bit, if it showed characters playing trombones and whatnot. The real issue in that case is not so much the sound, but that it needs to look like it belongs in that fictional world.

  33. consciousness razor says

    I can see you’ve watched some of the same youtube videos as I have.

    The algorithm provides. Youtube makes it so that pretty much all of its users see some of the same videos, despite the huge amount of content that’s constantly being added to it.

  34. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @35:

    Air molecules move at an average speed of 500m/s or so.

    I suspect Herbert thought of this. From Chapter three

    The air within their shield bubbles grew stale from the demands on it that the slow interchange along barrier edges could not replenish.

  35. consciousness razor says

    By the way, I know Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin’s character) performs on the baliset, which is like some kind of a nine-stringed zither, which is slightly unusual because they normally have a lot more. (Patrick Stewart in the Lynch version.) So that is one instrument that I’m sure is in the movie, and there are presumably some others to go along with that too.

    What probably makes it sound exotic or “alien” (they’re not really aliens, just future humans) is giving it some kind of microtonal tuning or playing such notes/intervals on a fretless instrument, like the Dune wiki article above describes. That is as opposed to notes/intervals from the familiar 12-EDO (equal divisions of the octave) also known as 12-TET (twelve-tone equal temperament).

  36. John Morales says

    Rob, yeah, but… air temperature is a function of the kinetic energy of its molecules.

  37. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @41: Not sure what your point is. The shield largely prevents air from moving into or out of the bubble. The temperature inside would remain more or less the same, but the concentration of CO₂ would increase.

  38. John Morales says

    Um, air pressure, not just temperature, are dependent on that kinetic energy.
    Which is inversely proportional to the square of the speed of the constituent molecules.
    And we’re talking about roughly two orders of magnitude of speed.

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @43: I have no idea what you’re talking about. What do you think is happening inside the bubble? Only the very slowest air molecules pass the barrier. The proportion of really slow molecules (say 10 cm/sec) is very, very, very tiny. Have a look at the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution.

  40. John Morales says

    Rob, ah, I get it. You think it’s a surface, I think it’s a volume.

    I haven’t read it for ages, and I’m not gonna research it.

    (But if it’s a surface, then (say) once a gun gets inside it, it can fire normally)

  41. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @45: OK, I see what you were getting at now. Yeah, the shield could not start at the surface of the skin/clothing. There must be a layer of air between skin and inside of shield surface. Hence “shield bubble”, I guess.

  42. consciousness razor says

    (But if it’s a surface, then (say) once a gun gets inside it, it can fire normally)

    Sure, but they’re not shown to extend very far away from the person’s body. So maybe you can’t fit even a small handgun between the body and the shield. But that also means there’s little room for breathable air, so CO2 could become a problem pretty quickly, especially when you’re exerting yourself so much in a prolonged melee fight. Seems like a good idea to provide them with some kind of gear like this. (But the also want you to see the actors’ faces, so even the little tubes used on the stillsuits are very minimalistic.)

  43. John Morales says

    But then, a point-source field is generally spherical. So, to get it close to a person’s body one would need a multiplicity of field generators. Probably one on the tip of one’s nose, chin, cheeks, and forehead to cover the face. ;)

  44. consciousness razor says

    But then, a point-source field is generally spherical.

    Perhaps these happen to shape themselves around human beings, who possess some kind of aura or whatever. Because it’s fantasy, so the answer could be just about anything you want it to be.

    For the record, I had pretty much the same reaction as chigau in #27…. There are all kinds of quasi-magical or supernatural elements and “technologies” in the story, and you get stuck on the sandworms? You’d have a lot more to complain about, if you’re really in the mood for making that sort of complaint.

    The worms can make the sand behave like a fluid somehow. (It kind of already does in some cases.) Enough said. No big deal.

  45. John Morales says

    Heh. But it’s so scientific! Hard!

    It’s the Holtzman Effect, which is convenient for suspensors, shields, glowglobes, and is the cause of the space-folding for interstellar travel.

    (The Navigators only provide a clairvoyant prescience to determine the outcome of the trip)

    Anyway, I do hope Daniel Holland (@25) is not disappointed; that was a great comment, BTW.

  46. publicola says

    It’s science FICTION, folks. Suspend your disbelief and use some imagination. Dune does not take place on Earth, but somewhere far away in the far future. Anything is possible in FICTION. Personally, I loved the four Dune books, (ending with God Emperor of Dune). Herbert created an extremely complex and and well-crafted universe, and as someone said previously, everything proceeded logically from beginning to end, both from a political and a human nature point of view. Yes, it was a struggle to master the vocabulary at first, but once mastered, it added to the richness of the story. In my humble opinion, it ranks right up there with Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, if not surpassing it.

  47. John Morales says

    publicola:

    It’s science FICTION, folks.

    No, it’s fiction. Basically a medieval setting.

    Anything is possible in FICTION.

    Sure. Like, each and everyone encodes every memory and experience they have had (as well as that of every ancestor they’ve ever had) in their gametes.

    Herbert created an extremely complex and and well-crafted universe, and as someone said previously, everything proceeded logically from beginning to end, both from a political and a human nature point of view.

    <snicker>

    In my humble opinion, it ranks right up there with Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, if not surpassing it.

    I did enjoy it — but for what it was. Second book was OK, third book was good, but after that… well. They went downhill fast. Also, he wrote six.

    (Also, as in Foundation, there are no non-human civilisations)

  48. KG says

    Also, as in Foundation, there are no non-human civilisations

    Ah, so at least in that respect, it’s realistic ;-)

  49. unclefrogy says

    I think Herbert’s gift as a writer is his ability to describe in detail the interior drama of his characters. The climax of the story and the conflict is inside. he has done that in other books as well. Soul Catcher is a good example. I do not know how you put that on screen with all the power and energy that makes the drama work. The voice over would have to be more then just narration and would likely sound disjointed as it is connected to the outside at the same time. I think it is something he learned about using “magic mushrooms” which he was fond of. Always a difficult task turning a popular well thought of book into a movie, we will see how well it was accomplished this time. I hope it is not too terrible

  50. rietpluim says

    Now that we’re throwing opinions at eachother, I’d like to toss in mine.

    The Dune novel is among my absolute favorites and I keep rereading it.

    What I like most, is how the story logically ensues from a fictional past. It is a history that is as complex as real world history, like the events that lead to the First World War for example. As such I think the story is totally credible despite the parts that are scientifically inaccurate.

    What I like too is how that fictional history displays a consistent political philisophy. How every faction is out to gain wealth and power at the expense of others, even the “good” ones, how the masses are manipulated for the benefit of the few, how people can be forced to act against their own interest. I learned a lot about real world politics by reading Dune.

    These are aspects that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to show in a movie. Therefore I think a Dune movie will always disappoint.

  51. John Morales says

    rietpluim, huh. You got me intrigued, so I watched enough of the trailer.

    Yes, it’s an “eclipse” cover (from The Dark Side of the Moon album), but very slowed down.

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