What Did You Think of the Dune Movie? (My Thoughts)

After playing my current #1 favorite game, Dune Imperium, a few weeks ago, I was delighted to finally watch the Dune movie on Friday. My quick thoughts are that I thought it was a visual masterpiece with a stellar cast and a few questionable choice regarding foreshadowing, and I hope the second half of the film is greenlit by Warner Bros.

Visuals: The direction by Denis Villeneuve paired with amazing set/costume design, cinematography, and CGI result in one of the most visually impressive films I’ve ever seen. It’s absolutely stunning, even on HBO instead of the big screen (sorry, theaters–I’m just not ready to return yet).

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgard, Thanos, Dave Bautista, Zendaya…the list goes on. This cast is incredible! Some of the characters aren’t given much to do (Zendaya barely appears in the movie, and Dave Bautista looks cool in his armor but hardly gets any screentime), but they seem to do their best with the time they’re given.

Shields: I have to say, I think Dune does the best job of perhaps any sci-fi movie in regards to energy shields. In this version of the future, pretty much anything can be encased in a skin-tight energy shield, which at first seem impermeable. But then the movie starts to show in brilliant blues and reds how enough force and effort can push through the shield, and it runs with that theme in a number of clever ways.

Foreshadowing: I think it’s important for the movie to show that Paul can see glimpses of the future. But those moments (and one entire scene) were the only parts of the movie that dragged for me. This might just be personal preference–I tend to tune out of dream sequences in books because it feels like they’re just buying time instead of moving the plot forwards. Dune’s foreshadowing felt similar.

Part 1: Once I saw the 2.5-hour running time of the film, I assume it was going to cover the entire first book, but I realized about an hour in that wasn’t going to be the case. This is the first half of a full movie that doesn’t actually exist yet. In my opinion, that’s okay. The movie is still beautiful, otherworldly, and full of memorable moments. I’m glad it didn’t rush through all of the events of the first book. But now I’m definitely left hoping the second half of the movie is filmed in the near future.

What did you think of Dune?

9 thoughts on “What Did You Think of the Dune Movie? (My Thoughts)”

  1. As a fan who likes to think he has relatively reasonable expectations, I was more than pleased with this adaptation. I’ve already started watching it a second time whenever I have a few free moments at home. The theater experience was amazing though.

    Reply
  2. I am with you on pretty much every point. Fantastic costumes, incredible sets, sound design and music. It was truly a spectacle.

    I also felt the dream sequences were a point that caused it to drag. The rest of the film was delivered in a style that truly love and appreciate, wasting very little time explaining things and just expecting the audience to catch on. But for some reason, they really beat us about the head with all the foresight moments, particularly Chani (Zendaya).

    I also have to say that while the casting of Momoa was spot on for the description of the character, the ‘brosef’ delivery of much of his performance left me underwhelmed. Considering how good of an actor he can be, this means it was a directing choice (much like the painfully wooden performances of every Oscar winner in the Phantom Menace…the director guides the spectacle) that I simply didn’t love.

    I also watched at home and, to be honest, I don’t miss the theater experience. People -by and large- are awful, and ruin everything.

    Feel free to skip the following rant, it’s just me getting the poison out from all of my friends moaning about missing the *theater experience*.

    The center of a movie theater is about 8-10 inches away from the screen for every foot of the screen’s diagonal. Which means -perceptually- that sitting 7 feet from a 60 inch television in your home is going to present a similar amount of screen real estate on your retina as sitting in the prime theater seats…but with dramatically more visual clarity than a projector can provide. All without the sticky Mountain Dew floors or other people’s children.

    Add in some blackout curtains and a sound system that can inflict a small amount of home structural damage, and I don’t feel like I am missing a thing. Plus, I get to be under my blankie.

    Reply
  3. I saw it in the cinema. As a counterpoint to the suggestion it’s just as good at home I’d say that the music, the explosions, the sheer scale of what they were trying to convey would only come through on the big screen. I watched it in the UK with a recliner chair in a smaller theatre and with everyone’s attention rapt. I loved it! My kids hated it! Looking forward to watching number 2 (on my own)

    Reply
  4. I love the book. I read it a few times, but the last time was a long, long time ago. I liked the movie for most of the points that you mentioned as well for the score. It’s a striking movie.

    However there were a few things that hold it for me:

    1. I don’t know why they left out the mention of the Thinking Machines and the Butlerian Jihad. The scene where they are mentioned in the book is there, but the reverend mother never mentions them. Besides scaling down the world building, they changed the context of Paul’s test. It was a weird omission.

    2. They never talk about Mentants even though they show Mentants doing Mentant-things. Also they left out that Paul has been trained as a Mentant without him knowing. Again, it undercuts the world building in the book and I think it wouldn’t have added much time or dialog to make it understandable.

    3. No mention of the Spacing Guild or space travel.

    4. There’s something off in how the Jessica was written in the script. Reading the book is clear she fell in love with Leto and that’s why she bread a son; because it meant so much to him. In the movie the betrayal to the Bene Gesserit comes as selfish. Also I always though of Jessica as someone who is in hold of her feelings; she’s a strong character. In the movie it feels more aligned with the “damsel in distress” trope.

    5. I might be wrong but I think the movie never mentions the existence of other houses beyond the Atreides and the Harkonnen. I think that you just need to mention the Landsraad once and in the context of a conversation you can make it clear that the world of Dune is very rich.

    6. The only part of the movie that drags for me is the time at Caladan. I think the first 20 minutes could have been cut, e.g. the scene of the duke signing the contract added nothing to me. Also I liked in the book that since no chapter happens in Caladan, when Chani is fascinated by Paul talking about a planet with oceans, I can relate since I also have to imagine how Caladan is.

    The thing that I love the most about Dune is the world building and how rich the universe is. I don’t read much, but I have never read something of that scope. So seeing that the movie is simplified so much, is a letdown for me. Let’s hope that the second part ramp ups the world building.

    Reply
  5. A masterclass in cinematography!

    Enough people have started going back to theaters where I live that they won’t go out of business, and not enough yet that anyone needs to sit remotely close to each other.

    Certainly worth a try at a theatre experience if you can. We did then watch it again on HBO max immediately after getting home.

    Reply
    • I have not read the Dune books. I watched the 1980’s Dune movie on VHS at a friend’s house and was not impressed. All I remember after watching the 1980’s version, is that the friend ordered a pizza with anchovies – the first and only time I have seen anchovies on a pizza. Soon after this pizza and movie experience, we grew apart.

      I did watch the new Dune movie on HBO at home. I was interested to see how my recent plays of Dune Imperium tied into the movie more than anything else. I did recognize that the 4 main “guilds/families” represented on the tracks in the game did not appear to be presented in Part 1. The Bene Gusset “guild/family” cards are the only cards I distinctly remember from my 2-3 plays of the game and they were represented in the movie with the female mother character. Sorry I am not using specific names. Overall I thought the movie was “meh” – not bad, not great. It did drag a bit and I thought about playing a game on my phone during my watch – which for me is unusual – I like to stay focused.

      I thought the ending was strange at the time, but knew it was Part 1 based on the fact they put that right on the screen early on. Did I mention I was focused? LOL. Do I care it was half of book 1 in part 1? No. WIll I watch it again? Maybe when they release part 2 as a refresher.

      I am glad that the more invested fans of the Dune franchise appear to have gotten the movie they want and deserve. Please no anchovies.

      Reply
  6. Saw it at home, mainly because I could (Thanks HBO)

    Visually epic, though quite a few elements left out from the book.

    Disappointed that the studio wasn’t willing to film parts one and two at the same time, given it’s just as much a classic book as Lord of the Rings. Certainly deserves two parts, just rewatch the 1984 attempt to squeeze it into one movie.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Discover more from jameystegmaier.com

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading