Mini Review of DUNE

The last time I went to the movies it was to watch Roadrunner, the Anthony Bourdain documentary. Hardly a movie suited for the big screen, I think it would have gotten more traction if they had streamed it on HBOMax or something. Then I was the only one in the theatre. I had to drive all the way to Cheyenne to see it too. Which is why I jumped at the chance to watch the new Dune release.

I wasn’t a big fan of Bladerunner 2049. It had some enjoyable bits and the cinematography was unreal. The music was like an infusion of the Vangelis score, but I think it lacked real depth. Just a lot of excuses to crank the bass and make the synths go BWAAAWWWWNNNNNN every once in a while.

Denis Villeneuve has made the Dune movie that finally comes the closest to doing the book justice. The levels of detail in this film (hardly a movie) are unbelievable. Even the alphabet resembles something from the year 10,000. The characters have depth, the world building is unparalleled, and the landscape of Arrakis is its own character. The only problem I had with it is some of the parts of the script where they tried to make things a little light-hearted. Which I can’t really blame them too much. Dune is a dark story that only gets bleaker and bleaker as you work through the books.

You can’t help but compare some parts with the David Lynch version back from 1983. A few scenes were definitely borrowed heavinly, with the tone and delivery of the lines. Which I am fine with. This movie had a lot more money for production to chuck at it too, but the shining point of the story has got to be the actors. If I had to pick a performance out of the whole lot I enjoyed the best, I really couldn’t do it. I did think that the Shaddout Mapes was the weakest of the bunch, but she got like six lines, compared to the role she played in the book and the earlier movie.

Holy Crap, but Stellan Skarsgard will give you the heebie jeebies as Baron Harkonnen. Dave Bautista is a perfect Beast Rabban. Jason Momoa was the perfect Duncan Idaho, and in this version they actually made him more than a walk-on we have no idea why he is even there.

If you still give a damn about the Academy, this one will sweep the Oscars next year.

Screw it. They were all awesome. However, the complexity that Zendaya gave Chani, even with the limited screentime was complex and nuanced. I didn’t have long to actually be invested in the character, but as the Bene Gesserit would say, there were plans within plans within plans with how she was emoting.

I want my own ornithopter now. Screw flying cars. I want to know why we don’t have dragonfly helicopters.

The cinematography…jeez, it was more like watching a National Geographic special. Absolutely beautiful. The desert is its own character.

The movie is long, but it didn’t feel like three hours.

I was among eight people who viewed it at a matinee showing. COVID has dropped the prices of movies and concessions to somewhat reasonable rates again, just to put butts in automatically reclining seats. The funny thing is that the Marvel movies have everyone sitting through credits to see stingers. No, Nick Fury doesn’t pop out and ask Paul to join the Avengers Initiative. A whole generation of people who are stuck waiting for the credits to end. Crazy.

Go see it. Read the books.

Also, I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy previews of coming attractions. Some of the movies look like absolute garbage. Moonfall being a big one. It’s like somebody saw the Rick and Morty episode with “Two Brothers” and decided to make a movie. I was disappointed in the lack of old women and cats.

Also, the preview for the new Batman movie looks like DC just keeps digging that hole deeper and deeper to make it grittier and nastier.

2 thoughts on “Mini Review of DUNE

  1. Got FOMO here: lockdown in Auckland means no cinemas. And the vast majority of reviews (including yours) have been good to great.

    (I now have a soft spot for the Lynch version even though I hated it back then: the movie was so muddied that unless you’d already read the book, you’d be confused. And if you had read the book, you’d be annoyed by the liberties they took with the source material. And don’t get me started on the Fremen marching in lockstep across the sand dunes like they had a death wish. I rewatched it recently and visually it is spectacular. And it had an amazing cast.)

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