Dune (2021) Maggy's movie reviews

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Ultra Magnus
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Dune (2021) Maggy's movie reviews

Post by Ultra Magnus »

The 1984 Dune holds a very distinctive place for me. It is the only David Lynch project I absolutely cannot stand. It is very pretty to look at, but it is also a masterpiece of why "Show, don't tell" is pretty much the key to what makes a movie good or bad. In the four hour cut, I would not be surprised if you told me that only 20 minutes of the film were not heavy handed narration or characters delivering exposition dumps.

And there is a reason for that. Herbert, much like Tolkien, writes in a manner where building the universe is more important than whatever story is being told. I am pretty sure that there are at least twenty pages in the first book regarding the experience of taking a drug that is not "the spice," and thus, unimportant to the plot. And much like the Lord of the Rings, it really should have been treated an not able to be adapted in live action at that time. Add to that, in a story that is pretty much centered around grim determinism, you have Kyle MacLachlin walking around and grinning for most of the film... in addition to just about everyone chewing scenery in a true Shakespearean manner... and you have the makings of a snore fest for me. It is a gorgeous movie with everything looking clean and sharp and futuristic... and it is an empty suit.

So, how does the new one stack up? Did Villeneuve actually get a handle on what has been lovingly referred to as "Star Wars for goths"?

The first thing you should know, going in, is that it is only half of the story. It makes a clean break at a somewhat logical point. And there is enough of a foretelling that if the sequel is never made, it makes sense. So, we do not have a triumphant hero at the end of the film. We just have a distant glimmer hope for the future, but things are still pretty dark.

That being said, this movie actually does show instead of tell. Whereas the old movie is presented much as if they are reading you a textbook throughout, the thirty second exposition dump at the beginning of the film is a literal textbook entry that is reading itself to a Paul that actually looks young enough to be treated as a student (as opposed to Maclachlin that always looks as if he was damn near 40). Other than that, exposition is given through much more realistic dialogue. You don't have constant and non-stop voice over. And while on the subject of Paul being treated as a student, it is a testament to casting that at the beginning the film you look at Paul and think he is a twerp (though still aged up a tiny bit compared to the book), but by the end, he is carrying himself like a man the you believe has been through some shit. And, frankly, he has earned it. Brolin, as Gurney, looks like someone that should be teaching hand to hand combat. And Mamoa as Duncan, is an absolute unit. If you thought he looked intimidating before, wait until you see him halfway through this film. I had never seen clean shaven Mamoa before, and it is frightening. I do not believe a single character in this film would have been better played by anyone else.

Well, maybe Feyd? The only thing really missing in this film was Sting in plastic underwear, because, puh-lease...ain't nobody that straight.

As compared to the Lynch film, this world looks lived in. The desert world looks dirty. The buildings that were supposed to have survived there for centuries look worn and aged. Caves are actual caves and not a set with painted foam "rock." The ships both better fit their book descriptions as well as look as if they were designed for flight. At no point do you ever feel as if you are on a sound stage. If the 1984 film is 2001: A Space Odyssey, the new one is Alien. If the 1984 film is Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the new one is Robin Hood (2010). Yet, at the same time, this new film is also just beautiful. It is well blocked, shot, and executed.

But the main thing about this film can best be summed up with one scene. The Hunter-Seeker scene. In the original, we have a constant running commentary of what Paul is supposed to be doing to avoid being killed, how the drone works, why he cannot call for help, and how he must defeat it. This is thanks to the constant narration of Paul's thoughts being heard by the audience. When Paul does catch the drone, we hear Linda Hunt's character tell us that had he not done that, it would have killed her. She then introduces herself, tells us what her occupation is, she identifies her race, and then she introduces a new plot point about a spy in the house (which should be obvious as someone is trying to assassinate Paul). In the new film, the drone shows up, Paul does what is necessary to avoid detection, and remains silent throughout the scene. No running commentary. When the housekeeper shows up, she exclaims how he saved her, and it cuts to the next scene. The rest of that stuff is shown in the film instead of beating you over the head with it. Someone does exclaim how remarkable Paul catching the thing was, but it is played off as a ball busting attempt in front of a group of soldiers. Paul is actually a bit bashful/embarrassed by attention being brought to the matter.... that the story of his exploit was being talked about. He is not yet a hero and a leader. He is an awkward kid.

I cannot say enough about the stark differences between the films, and how much more respect this film pays to the original book. Yes, the original has some great cheese factor. But this film is the far superior work.

By all means, get to the theater to see this one. It is, in a word, epic. Villeneuve hit this one out of the park. I look forward to the next chapter. Though I like the books, I was expecting to be disappointed by this film, but came out amazed.

So, that being said, I welcome the flack I am sure I deserve for bad mouthing the original. If you have thoughts on the original, or the new one, I welcome your responses.
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Re: Dune (2021) Maggy's movie reviews

Post by Bumblebee »

I watched it. Easiest way to express my thoughts is basically if you read the book you'll love it. If you didn't as my son hasn't you won't like it.
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Re: Dune (2021) Maggy's movie reviews

Post by Ultra Magnus »

I am curious how they will handle the ending. Herbert has a way about him that can make a knife fight, upon which the fate of the galaxy rest,s boring.

There were no bewbs to speak of in that scene, thus his enthusiasm was seemingly elsewhere.

I wonder what your son will think of the second film, as the final 45 minutes should be a huge battle? After all, this one just sort of ended with "and they made it out of the desert." Hopefully his appreciation will grow with the first cook completed on the screen?
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