O@tM: Dune (2021)

Dune must’ve dropped at YTS some time last night, so if you wanna piratize it, right now’s the best time to do so. The web’s brimming with action and it only took me a couple minutes to download the big 1080p file.

But, as always I gotta warn you: If you’re dwelling in a heavily regulated country, pleeez do activate your VPN before you attempt any illegal stunts that could get you in trubbelz, ok?

Now, as long as it’s fresh on my mind, let’s get to it:

A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive. —Warner Bros.
Face of cinema of the future? Zendaya.

I finished watching this much-anticipated film just 5 minutes ago, so the impression is fressh on my my mind. And here is my problem with Dune already. If it was a truly great and impactful Denis Villeneuve masterpiece I wouldn’t be able to write a review by now. I’d got to process the material, sort my thoughts and make up my mind about it. But no, I was already composing the writeup in my head while I was watching it. Weirdly enough, questionable and verifiedly bad movies had me in their grips for days. The Last Jedi … well, I even thought it was the bestest Star Wars ever for a while, that’s how they tricked me with the Disney bombast and pathos. And years and years earlier, a really well-intended film, called Alexander, Oliver Stone’s stumbling block, left me speechless and paralyzed for days. That’s how big its impact on my mind was.

A better Paul Atreides: Scrawny Timothée.

Nothing of that sort happened to me when I watched Dune. Is it better than David Lynch’s soap opera version? Much much much betterer. But that’s not enough. It doesn’t need much to outperform a quack like Lynch.

Like a fish out of water. Aquaman in the desert.

I was honestly a bit bored. Don’t get me wrong, this film is beautiful, the cast is handsome, Villeneuve’s directing is …is … is the problem. Or maybe it was Frank Herbert’s source material, or the fact that Lynch back then, as well as Villeneuve now, were sticking too close to the novel’s pace and exposition style? As some reviewer before me already mentioned the 2021 version stopped very abruptly, just when it started getting good. Dune 2021 was really not much more than the needed exposition for the following plot. In so far every lover of Herbert’s Dune will leave the theater unsatisfied – but longing for more!

Would’ve loved to see more sandworms.

Villeneuve’s impartial, cold direction style didn’t help me getting into the action neither. He couldn’t lift the stiff dialogues out of the articial, mechanic puppet style neither. Even tho he did it better than Lynch I couldn’t shake the feeling I was watching some pretentious crap. As I’ve never read the novels I leave it for you to decide if Herbert also wrote in that pathetic way.

Guerney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet)

The cast is completely wasted on such weak material. Fortunately most didn’t have much to do before they died (Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa) or the film ended before they were really put to the test (Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya). But what I’ve seen so far was exactly the sort of cheap, overdone stage acting like we saw in the Lynch version.

Mother and son Atreides.

What makes a good movie character? When we, as audience, can either be with them or against them, when we shit our pants when the hero gets in trouble or when we really, really abhor the villain coz the actors and script keep us on the edge of our seats. Nothing of that sort in Dune so far. I couldn’t care less when Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa), Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and the meaniepooface Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) died. Emotional impact = Zero. 😐

Bored by spaceships: Paul.

What other critics also complained about, and I wholeheartedly agree with, is the completely unfounded cowardice by Warner Brothers. When I have Denis Villeneuve directing a big fat franchise like Dune I don’t commission just one movie, I let him do the second – and third if necessary – as well, and I let the whole production team do all 2 or 3 movies at the same time. Like the opportunity New Line Cinema gave Peter Jackson with Lord of the Rings. They filmed the whole trilogy in one go. But with Dune, as it looks now, we can’t even be sure if we ever get to see the much needed second part of what is basically just one film.

Yikes! 😮

A visit by Stilgar the Fremen chief.

Oh hey, did you watch Dune already? And didn’t the ornithopters they use on Arrakis remind you of a certain freebie flyer we know all too well from SL?

Captain Orca in her Lepidoptera.

CONCLUSION: Hopefully it’s too early to come to a conclusion. Should Dune fail at the box office it also fails as a movie and has ruined Dune’s chances to ever become a grand scale cinema franchise. Because what we got now is not a finished film but hardly more than a prologue for the upcoming jihad on house Harkonnen and the Emperor. Please WB, let it happen!

4 comments

  1. Personally, I enjoyed the movie greatly. I went to watch it at the movies so it probably made a better impression, with the great sound and huge screen. Like you, I thought the action was a bit slow, but that is the way the novel runs too. I thought Chalamet was really standing out, enacting Paul with poise and charisma. I look forward to part 2!
    Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • I admit I was very tired when I watched Dune and wasn’t in the mildest of moods. Also I made the mistake to watch some reviews on YT before I wrote mine. So I wasn’t completely neutral anymore. But the slow pace, for whatever reason, was absolutely not to my liking. If the novel is already slow, Villeneuve surely didn’t speed things up. And then when the movie gained some momentum … they stopped and said cya in part 2, maybe. 😮

      But of course the photography is great, as typical for Villeneuve, and watching it on a big screen surely enhances the experience. Hubby flatout refuses to watch the movie, same as he refused to watch the Alternative Edition of Lynch’s trainweck with me.

      O@TPB: Dune (1984) Alternative Edition Redux

      But I’ll try to give it another look a bit later today.

      Like

  2. I liked it too. I’m fine with it being a bit slow, that’s how they have set it up by dividing the novel into probably 3 films. I will say that Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was cooler in the Lynch version 🙂 It was a beautiful film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 3 parts now? Whoa! Let’s hope it’ll come to pass and doesn’t disappear in production hell. I mean, ugh, you know, Lord of the Rings they shoot all 3 parts in one go, New Line Cinema gambled a bit and if it had flopped the studio would be out of bizniz by now … but it paid out. That’s how you make films!
      WB seems to be ruled not by film creatives but by cowardish beancounters.

      Anyhoo, I rewatched Dune this afternoon and I must say my first judgement was wrong. At the first time I watched the movie more or less just comparing the Lynch and Villeneuve version and finding many, too many weaknesses in both. Today, with a freeer mindset I watched it with just entertainment value on my mind and I saw a great movie. Every consumer who was never in contact with any of the Dune properties, should be blown away!

      Tim and Rebecca did great, the production, camera and atmo was overwhelming, Dune (2021) is a super movie!

      Like

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