Go see the movie Dune. Absolutely do if you read and loved the book and even if you just like great Sci-Fi Fantasy.
I don’t like movie critics. They tend to be jaded elitists and broken humans who have a total aversion to things normal people like. But even they almost begrudgingly have been forced to admit this movie is amazing,
Dune encompasses such a vast and complex universe it is a challenge to pull you into it without constantly explaining things. This led to the David Lynch version to have Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides endlessly muttering voiceovers like “Arrakis, Dune , desert planet” in our ears.
This time we didn’t learn why Dr. Yueh had the diamond tattoo showing Suk Imperial conditioning for loyalty, We just saw him betray the Atreides because they had his wife. That was enough
We didn’t get a long exposition on how mentats are highly-trained human computers who use Sapho juice to enhance their speed. We just saw Thufir Hawat’s eyes roll turn white as he calculated and answered a complex problem in seconds. This implied meta-human ability and that was enough.
What it did was immerse you in a world of great houses in great conflict. A stunningly vivid world that conveyed this was not just noble squabbles, but the climax of a millennia long search for…The One. And I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was to see it all in bright light and in glorious IMAX. It was an antidote for the dark, blue-filtered places far too much futuristic Sci-Fi takes us.
It has an array of big, interesting characters but all somehow in orbit around Paul Atreides. I’ll admit I was less than thrilled when the little French waif du jour was cast. But as I watched him, it reminded me of just what a moody, I don’t want to play your games character Paul was in the books. And when the time came to man up and fight, he fought.
The big question for any book adaptation is always “were they true?”. Without a doubt. Of course I can pick elements that were changed, like planetologist Liet Kynes morphing into a Black woman. But as much as I personally oppose gratuitous quota enforcement, she worked. I actually liked her in the film.
But in the really important things that make Dune epic, they nailed. And I say that as someone who read the books dozens of times. My wife hadn’t and asked me for a briefing before we saw it. I gave her the 10 minute readout of things you should know so you can catch the deeper references. Afterwards she said she knew what was happening and why it mattered and how it fit together as it unfolded.
I’m not claiming that validates my brilliant story-telling, although it kinda does (heh), but is shows that the film makers got the big themes right. And even in the limited time they had picked the right iconic moments to nudge us down the path we needed to tread.
The IMAX experience was brilliant and I highly recommend it for this film. I say that as someone with a music listening room that doubles as an ATMOS equipped home theater. It’s easy to prefer the comforts of home and your own screen and control, but don’t kid yourself. You do not have an all-encompassing screen that will fly you deep into the Arakeen desert and into the gaping maw of a sand worm. It was so worth being there.
By the end I was truly hoping they would stop, not because I was sick of watching, but because I was worn out emotionally and sensorally. I was in the story from beginning to end and my wife said I was literally beaming with excitement the whole time.
They did the undoable, they made Dune a movie. And according to a Timothee Chalamet tweet, Dune Part Two is a go. Good. Bring on desert power and crush the Harkonnen scum.