Friday — May 27th, 2022: Well well well, another fantastic week in the books! [READ MORE]


Dune (2021)


🎙️ EPISODE 410: 02.28.22

What an arduous and ultimately thankless task adapting Dune for the big screen seems like. All that work! Just for nerds of all stripes to be upset or meh'd to death. I have no affinity for the book; I'm never gonna read that thing. I like David Lynch's 1984 film for what it is: a beautiful, insane mess. I felt like I was able to let this film wash over me in a way that the disciples (either of Herbert/hard sci-fi, or the braindead "event moviegoers" of the comic book fare) could or would not. It's true, one cannot escape all the endless beige and gray and the bloated, frankly embarrassing Hans Zimmer score (which sounded like a parody of 'that type of soundtrack you know the one'). But at the end of the day (or days if you're constantly strapped for time) you're left with all the beautiful people acting (and they are acting!) in an intensely beautiful and stunningly designed (the CGI parts) landscape.
I don't really buy the angle that this lacks an emotional core or suffers from absent character development. I honestly feel like that's Villeneuve's greatest strength: making movies that look like this that aren't also vacuous shells. It's not the most heartfelt or passionate story I've ever witnessed but is it supposed to be? The giant sand worm movie didn't pull at your heartstrings enough? Is that really the hill here?

I am, for some reason, reminded of the flurry of takes for Avengers: Endgame that it was "critic-proof." These opinions, good or bad, seemed unaware of the inherent nihilism stitched into them. There were rumors that a sequel to Dune wasn't a done deal if it did not perform at the box office. Never mind the onscreen title card, I guess. Which is to say, this was either one of the most brazen cinematic leaps of faith or the whole thing was a rouse from the word go, more event-making theater. And maybe it isn't fair to connect all that jazz to the final product. That seems like the major loss as it pertains to the theater experience: that we can't. That we aren't, in fact, meant to.

There are six long Herbert novels set in this universe. Don't kid yourself that HBO Max doesn't want to see every page of them (x10) end up on their streaming platform eventually. But yeah I was entertained. Ah well, nevertheless.

Check out my RANKING DENIS VILLENEUVE episode here.


Dune (titled onscreen as Dune: Part One) is a 2021 American epic science fiction film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts, and Eric Roth. It is the first of a two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, primarily covering the first half of the book. Set in the far future, it follows Paul Atreides as his family, the noble House Atreides, is thrust into a war for the deadly and inhospitable desert planet Arrakis. The ensemble cast includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, David Dastmalchian, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. It was released on January 26, 2015.


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