Some Thoughts After Seeing Dune

I’m not sure I get it…

Wait… I should probably preface this whole thing by saying that I’ve never read anything by Frank Herbert and I never saw the 1984 adaptation of Dune. So maybe that’s why I feel like I’ve fallen behind in this classic bit of sci-fi love.

Although, there are other beloved science fiction/fantasy properties that I just don’t get as well. And I consider myself a pretty big fan of the genre. Blade Runner is right up there. I’ve seen the movie a few times and just never understood what everyone loves about it. I mean, sure, Rutger Hauer’s speech at the end is kind of epic. But overall… meh.

Another one is The 5th Element. I just don’t see why so many people think so highly of that film. Didn’t do a thing for me.

I know… All the geeks out there are probably sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches. You’re ready to storm The Confusing Middle castle. But here’s another one I don’t get… Avatar! Sure, the special effects were cutting edge and broke new ground for the modern 3D movie going experience. My migraine thanks you, James Cameron. I just don’t understand why it held the number one spot in box office earnings for as long as it did. I also don’t understand why I’m supposed to care that, after all these years, there are still four planned sequels! Personally, I’d rather see a Titanic follow-up than pay to see another Avatar movie.

Fine… agree to disagree.

Having watched this new version of Dune, I feel like I’m a lot more likely to jump on board with this franchise (assuming more movies are made) than I am with the others I’ve already mentioned.

No, I never read the book, but the more I’ve heard people talking about Dune leading up to the release of this picture, the more intrigued I’ve become. I’ve become interested in checking the original book by Frank Herbert out from my local library just to see what it’s all about. And part of the intrigue comes from the knowledge that George Lucas drew a lot of inspiration for Star Wars from Dune (among other things, of course). And if there’s a franchise I know I’m on board with, it’s Star Wars.

That inspiration is clearly seen as I watched the latest adaptation of Dune. You’ve got a young male protagonist with a destiny he doesn’t quite understand. Most of the story takes place on a desert planet. There’s an empire that’s running the galaxy in a pretty shady way. Yeah… I can see how this would influence Star Wars.

The scope of Dune is enormous and I think director Denis Villeneuve does a fantastic job of building the world(s) where the story takes place. The audience is presented with sweeping landscapes and gorgeous imagery throughout the film. The score by Hans Zimmer is beautiful enough that I’m pretty sure I could listen to that by itself. And the cast reads like a who’s who of current A-list stars.

But that may be where I have my problem… Not necessarily with the cast. Everyone is fantastic. I’m just not sure I had enough of an opportunity to connect with the characters the way I’m sure I was intended to. There are so many people involved in this story, I’m left wondering if we really gave everyone enough screen time (Dave Bautista sure should have been given more to do).

Then again, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. At the start of the film, the title card specifically tells us that this is part one. From what I understand, Warner Bros. is waiting to see how this movie performs before giving the greenlight to a sequel. But Villeneuve only adapted about half of the book for this movie, expecting to be able to move forward with a continuation.

And that’s a continuation I’d like to see. Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe I just need to sit through another viewing to understand it a little better. But they’ve managed to build up this reality with one epic film, I would be disappointed if we don’t get to see where it leads us in a sequel (or two or three).

But what do you think? Have you seen the new Dune? Did you see the 1984 adaptation? How do they compare? What about the book? Think I should still pick that up at some point and give it a read? Let me know what you’re thinking down in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Some Thoughts After Seeing Dune

  1. I’ve been wondering how Dune plays for someone with no prior knowledge. I’ve seen the prior versions and read the first few books. It’s also one of my husbands favorite series, so I’ve talked about Dune *a lot*. I was pretty excited for this movie. And I was left . . . Underwhelmed isn’t the right word, because the movie is big and beautiful and so very well made on a cinema level. But I felt the same way about the characters. So much is happening to them, that we don’t get really enough time to like/dislike them. And probably to do that it would have taken four movies. I’ll definitely see the next one (if it happens) and probably rewatch this one, but I wasn’t as blown away as I’d hoped to be.

    Liked by 2 people

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