Dune (1984) vs Dune (2021)

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I’ll admit that I’ve always always been a fan of David Lynch’s Dune - right from the start with Brian Eno’s Prophecy theme to the last line from Alia’s “How can this be? For he IS the Kwisatz Haderach!”.

In addition I thought that Lynch especially captured the mysticism that the novels went further into - and even though it was a single movie, I got the feeling that he brought into the crazy direction that Herbert went into (as in Paul’s second son, Leto II, turning into a human\worm hybrid)

In addition, given the special effects at the time, I thought Lynch nailed to splendor and regal nature of the various houses, and Kenneth McMillan’s Duke Vladimir Harkonen was an over acted joy to behold.

Sure Lynch took liberties with the story (Duncan Idaho was killed in the book, but survived in the movie), but for me he got the feeling right.

Now comes Dennis Villeneuve, with Hans Zimmer forsaking a chance to work with Christopher Nolan on Tenet, and score this movie instead. Zimmer, to his credit, I thought created a quite out of character score and I was well impressed on this new turn. The special effects were everything we’d expect in the third decade of this millennium. The scope as vast - and worms were menacing.

But something for me went wrong. For starters it’s only the first part - Villeneuve has yet to get part two greenlit by Warner Bros (apparently it depends on how well Part one does on HBO Max).

And next, it feels way too political for how the story turns later on. And I really didn’t feel anything most of the characters - Paul included. The only one I did care for was Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho - pretty much anyone else I felt was more of a Cipher. I get that Timothée Chalamet’s star may be rising in Hollywood, but I really didn’t feel him as Paul Atradies.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching it but for me Lynch, for all his failings, still maintains the crown.
 

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The special effects were everything we’d expect in the third decade of this millennium. The scope as vast - and worms were menacing.

But something for me went wrong. For starters it’s only the first part - Villeneuve has yet to get part two greenlit by Warner Bros (apparently it depends on how well Part one does on HBO Max).

And next, it feels way too political for how the story turns later on. And I really didn’t feel anything most of the characters - Paul included. The only one I did care for was Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho - pretty much anyone else I felt was more of a Cipher. I get that Timothée Chalamet’s star may be rising in Hollywood, but I really didn’t feel him as Paul Atradies.
I agree. The new one is beautiful, epic and the worms, oh yeah! The characters are also looking sharp, visually. Pretty flat, though, like I’m just observing them from afar. Duncan Idaho felt misplaced in that regard. Heck, I would have loved to watch a movie about his adventures!

People seem to get carried away, drooling over all the pretty and talking about wanting more. Which is perfectly fine, I want more too, but when people are mostly talking about that and not about what happened in the movie they just watched… Well, maybe it wasn’t as great as they give it credit for?
 

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I gotta admit, I did not watch the ‘84 version, but only because the books were still too fresh in my mind. If I can still tell you whether a certain part happened on a left or right-facing page, the whole thing is too clear in my mind to compare with a movie.

Of course, as soon as I started watching the new version (tonight), it all came flooding back. It captured the books for me. It needed all the mysticism along with the politics. They are important.
 
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I gotta admit, I did not watch the ‘84 version, but only because the books were still too fresh in my mind. If I can still tell you whether a certain part happened on a left or right-facing page, the whole thing is too clear in my mind to compare with a movie.

Of course, as soon as I started watching the new version (tonight), it all came flooding back. It captured the books for me. It needed all the mysticism along with the politics. They are important.
They are important - for me though Lynch captured it better - Kyle LacLachlan I though embodied the young dreamer Paul then morphed nicely into Paul Muad’Dib the fighter far better than Timothée Chalamet did (at least in part 1)
 

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Sure Lynch took liberties with the story (Duncan Idaho was killed in the book, but survived in the movie), but for me he got the feeling right.
Is that correct though? I thought that Duncan Idaho returned later as a Tlelsxu Ghola. Maybe I am confused, as it has been at least a couple decades since I last read those books.

Have you read The White Plague? That contains some of Herbert's best writing. The trek through Ireland is stunningly well written. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt it would translate to celluloid (or whatever they use). Just like I adore the Thomas Covenant books (not Herbert, Donaldson) but filming them would strip away what makes them so good.
 

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Just I adore the Thomas Covenant books (not Herbert, Do Aldo’s ) but filming them would strip away what makes them so good.
OMG - one of my favorite series ever! And no, it would translate poorly to the screen. Same with my very favorite Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg.
 
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Is that correct though? I thought that Duncan Idaho returned later as a Tlelsxu Ghola. Maybe I am confused, as it has been at least a couple decades since I last read those books.

Have you read The White Plague? That contains some of Herbert's best writing. The trek through Ireland is stunningly well written. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt it would translate to celluloid (or whatever they use). Just like I adore the Thomas Covenant books (not Herbert, Donaldson ) but filming them would strip away what makes them so good.
Oh he does - and you’re right, but remember, the Tleilaxu Masters created the Ghola Idaho to kill Paul - Something that wasn’t touched upon in Lynch’s 1984 because he left the conspiracy as being only between the Bene Gesserit, House Corrino and the Spacing Guild.
 
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Have you read The White Plague? That contains some of Herbert's best writing. The trek through Ireland is stunningly well written. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt it would translate to celluloid (or whatever they use). Just like I adore the Thomas Covenant books (not Herbert, Donaldson) but filming them would strip away what makes them so good.
Thanks for the recommendation - I’ll see if my local library has a copy.
 

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Oh he does - and you’re right, but remember, the Tleilaxu Masters created the Ghola Idaho to kill Paul - Something that wasn’t touched upon in Lynch’s 1984 because he left the conspiracy as being only between the Bene Gesserit, House Corrino and the Spacing Guild.
Yeah, there is a lot of "palace intrigue" in the Dunes that gets lost in the translation to film/video. When I saw the Lynch rendering, they pushed the Weirding thing to the front, which, from my reading, was not all that major of an element. At least, it did not stand out to me in text as it did onscreen.
 

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I gotta admit, I did not watch the ‘84 version, but only because the books were still too fresh in my mind. If I can still tell you whether a certain part happened on a left or right-facing page, the whole thing is too clear in my mind to compare with a movie.

Of course, as soon as I started watching the new version (tonight), it all came flooding back. It captured the books for me. It needed all the mysticism along with the politics. They are important.
This is me! I never considered the Lynch movie because I was a true hater of cinema versions of books. Especially for Dune which I loved a great deal back when I read it. I was hipped to the books by a school mate and took a half year of Sci Fi classes and devoured the first two books and read part of the third book during the summer. I lost interest by then but still didn't want to see what I thought would likely be a truncated story on the screen.

One of the reasons that I finally watched is I thought it would be at least three movies. Denis is adamant on moving forward with filming the second movie (Dune, Part Two) as soon as possible. And IIRC, there's a draft for the third movie already. I'd rather not waste my time watching if it's just going to be a one-off. Damn COVID and studios looking solely at the bottom line.
 

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This is me! I never considered the Lynch movie because I was a true hater of cinema versions of books....

Was the same with me until the "Dr. Zhivago-case".

Pasternak's book is nowhere compared to David Lean's movie. It is one of the best movies ever made.

"Films don't get much bigger than this" (The Guardian).

 
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Renzatic

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And next, it feels way too political for how the story turns later on.

It needed all the mysticism along with the politics. They are important.

Alli beat me to it. When you get down to it, Dune is a very political story, told by someone on acid. Even the mysticism that becomes such a heavy part of the 2nd half of the novel is ultimately being played by Paul and Jessica for political purposes, taking advantage of seeded Bene Gesserit propaganda to sway a native population to their own ends.

I thought the 2021 movie tried to split the difference, not going as full tilt weird as Lynch's movie, but not being just a dry middle eastern allegory in a futuristic setting either. It really focuses more on Paul first and foremost, leaving everything else relegated to omnipresent background noise.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good. It would've been better if it spent more time developing the characters, but I can understand why it rushed some things a bit. There's only so much of that book you can cram into 5 hours.

Also, it needed more Harkonnens.
 

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Not really a fan or knowledgeable of the franchise. I vaguely remember the 84' movie, and probably because of my age (12) I thought it was boring.

With my same limited knowledge, I really enjoyed the new one. Good pacing and enough character development to help you give a shit.

One thing that really bugs me about this genre in general is everything is so ridiculously cavernous. Right now our space travel and exploration is done in spaces that might as well be a janitor's closet. I don't care if it's a current technological limitation. I don't think there is ever going to be a time when as many spaces as possible are the size of cathedrals. If nothing else, it's a giant resource suck. You don't need a sports arena just so 4 people can sit down and have a conversation.
 

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One thing that really bugs me about this genre in general is everything is so ridiculously cavernous. Right now our space travel and exploration is done in spaces that might as well be a janitor's closet. I don't care if it's a current technological limitation. I don't think there is ever going to be a time when as many spaces as possible are the size of cathedrals. If nothing else, it's a giant resource suck
You have to concede, though, that the large Guild ships would be the opposite of a resource suck in the lion's share of usage applications. Most of the time, the ships would be transporting a great deal of materiél/passengers. The people portrayed in the Duniverse stories are primarily the elites, who, by their very nature, are big resource sucks, so the idea of a few of them using a ship designed for much greater content is kind of normal, at least in the frame of today's elites. Or maybe it is just not practical to fold space using a closet-sized vessel.
 

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One thing that really bugs me about this genre in general is everything is so ridiculously cavernous. Right now our space travel and exploration is done in spaces that might as well be a janitor's closet. I don't care if it's a current technological limitation. I don't think there is ever going to be a time when as many spaces as possible are the size of cathedrals. If nothing else, it's a giant resource suck. You don't need a sports arena just so 4 people can sit down and have a conversation.

The other thing that always kills me about futuristic settings, there are still distinct races. One would think that over the next century we will all start to blend together.
 

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The other thing that always kills me about futuristic settings, there are still distinct races. One would think that over the next century we will all start to blend together.
Genetic manipulation. Don’t leave it up to messy biological trial and error, design your child as a fashion statement! Pick any race you want!

Either that, or racists gonna racist.
 

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The other thing that always kills me about futuristic settings, there are still distinct races. One would think that over the next century we will all start to blend together.
For a show like Wagon Train To The Stars, racism (and sexism) was (is) a very current issue. The audience they are trying to reach are going to respond to stories that challenge the contemporary social mores, so they weave bits of that into the stories. A Klingon as a top officer in a federation star ship? Unthinkable. But there it was. And, of course, how do we address our racist attitudes when it comes to Wookies or Kzinti or other weird extraterrestrial species. Like the exchange in Restaurant at the End of the Universe where Arthur looks around at the clientele in Milliways, "The people! The things!" and Ford responds "The things are people too."

My biggest issue is how they paste today's market economy and martial imperialism across many lightyears of space, as though it would be all just what we are familiar with only bigger. Obviously stories have to be written in ways that are reachable, but I always come back to J.B.S. Haldane's "The universe is not weirder than you imagine, it is weirder than you can imagine." I would like to see speculative fiction make the effort to reach beyond ideas that makes sense to what we already know.
 
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