Dune (2020)

psychegram

The Living Force
I've seen it twice. Will probably go see it again. Loved every moment of it. Visually stunning, casting was well-chosen, dialogue is good, and importantly it's fairly true to the novel, which I've read several times since I was a teenager.

The pacing is slow, especially in the beginning, but that's honestly refreshing after the exhuasting hyperkinetic action sequences that comprise so much of modern film-making, especially scifi and fantasy. This is very much Villeneuve's style - if you watch The Arrival (which I didn't like, although that was more because I disliked the characters; objectively, it was a good movie) or Bladerunner 2049 (one of the best movies of the past decade), he favours long, moody shots and carefully constructed, deeply psychological character development, with action sequences limited to short, shocking bursts. While his world-building is masterful, the real focus is on the inner lives and struggles of the characters.

The second time I watched it, it occurred to me that I was identifying quite a bit with Paul; and I imagine many others are, as well. Those of us refusing the needle are facing the very real prospect of being cast out into society; we've had our world shattered over the last two years; many have lost friends and family over the political differences that have been cultivated by the legacy media and big tech algorithmic nudge manipulations. At a metaphorical level, this feels a lot like what Paul goes through in the third act of the film, as a sudden sneak attack annihilates his House and he finds himself cast out in the unforgiving wilderness of the desert, making alliances out of necessity with a people he knows little about. Then there are his precognitive apprehensions of what lies in wait which torture him through the first half of the movie; again, there's a parallel with the way so many of us, myself included, have sensed all of this coming through the preceding years, although never being fully sure it would truly manifest and, in the end, not being able to stop it.

It's interesting how Paul's visions are handled. They aren't always true; several times, he sees things that, when they manifest, don't happen exactly as presented in his visions. For example, he sees himself being killed in a knife fight in the desert, but when the fight actually happens, he prevails. At a certain level this is metaphor (his vision was true in the sense that, when he kills his opponent, the old Paul dies). Another interpretation is that he isn't seeing the future, but a possible future; in the context of the novels, this is how his precognitive abilities actually work. In other words, 'the future is open'.
 

SOTTREADER

The Living Force
I've seen it twice. Will probably go see it again. Loved every moment of it. Visually stunning, casting was well-chosen, dialogue is good, and importantly it's fairly true to the novel, which I've read several times since I was a teenager.

The pacing is slow, especially in the beginning, but that's honestly refreshing after the exhuasting hyperkinetic action sequences that comprise so much of modern film-making, especially scifi and fantasy. This is very much Villeneuve's style - if you watch The Arrival (which I didn't like, although that was more because I disliked the characters; objectively, it was a good movie) or Bladerunner 2049 (one of the best movies of the past decade), he favours long, moody shots and carefully constructed, deeply psychological character development, with action sequences limited to short, shocking bursts. While his world-building is masterful, the real focus is on the inner lives and struggles of the characters.

The second time I watched it, it occurred to me that I was identifying quite a bit with Paul; and I imagine many others are, as well. Those of us refusing the needle are facing the very real prospect of being cast out into society; we've had our world shattered over the last two years; many have lost friends and family over the political differences that have been cultivated by the legacy media and big tech algorithmic nudge manipulations. At a metaphorical level, this feels a lot like what Paul goes through in the third act of the film, as a sudden sneak attack annihilates his House and he finds himself cast out in the unforgiving wilderness of the desert, making alliances out of necessity with a people he knows little about. Then there are his precognitive apprehensions of what lies in wait which torture him through the first half of the movie; again, there's a parallel with the way so many of us, myself included, have sensed all of this coming through the preceding years, although never being fully sure it would truly manifest and, in the end, not being able to stop it.

It's interesting how Paul's visions are handled. They aren't always true; several times, he sees things that, when they manifest, don't happen exactly as presented in his visions. For example, he sees himself being killed in a knife fight in the desert, but when the fight actually happens, he prevails. At a certain level this is metaphor (his vision was true in the sense that, when he kills his opponent, the old Paul dies). Another interpretation is that he isn't seeing the future, but a possible future; in the context of the novels, this is how his precognitive abilities actually work. In other words, 'the future is open'.
I loved the movie too. Thought it was highly immersive. I've never read the books so my take could be off. What do you think of the notion that Paul turns out to be a villain? (not that anyone can be anything else and rise to the heights that he'll rise to)
 

psychegram

The Living Force
I loved the movie too. Thought it was highly immersive. I've never read the books so my take could be off. What do you think of the notion that Paul turns out to be a villain? (not that anyone can be anything else and rise to the heights that he'll rise to)

It's an interesting novelty take, up there with "the Jedi were the bad guys" or "Johnny in Karate Kid was actually the hero of the story." That said, certainly in the later books Paul Atreides ceases to be heroic.

The book is certainly worth reading. One of the better science fiction novels ever written.
 

sid

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
The idea that the first four Dune books portray is that a Hero can quickly turn into a Messiah and then become a victim of his own popularity due to the religious fanaticism that builds up gradually. Its a bit like the Christian church capitalising on the legend of Jesus and subsequently becoming bigger than Jesus himself. Much of the death and destruction that Paul’s armies will cause in the future have religious motives and their top-level leaders will be called priests. There are stats mentioned in the second book and I paste them below.
"Very good, Stil." Paul glanced at the reels in Korba's hands.
Korba stood with them as though he wished he could drop
them and flee. "Statistics: at a conservative estimate, I've
killed sixty-one billion, sterilized ninety planets, completely
demoralized five hundred others. I've wiped out the
followers of forty religions which had existed since --
"
"Unbelievers!" Korba protested. "Unbelievers all!"
"No," Paul said. "Believers."
"My Liege makes a joke," Korba said, voice trembling. "The
Jihad has brought ten thousand worlds into the shining light
of -- "
"Into the darkness," Paul said. "We'll be a hundred
generations recovering from Muad'dib's Jihad. I find it hard
to imagine that anyone will ever surpass this." A barking
laugh erupted from his throat.

Now, in saying the above, Paul's character is still quite noble. He suffers the consequences of accumulating and holding onto an insane amount of power as we know that power not only corrupts the weak minded but it also attracts the corrupted. Frank demostrates this process rather succinctly through these books.
Paul is noble because he never lets the power corrupt him and he makes way for the change upon realising the direction mankind is heading on their current path. He willingly steps down and disappears into the desert to work on dismantling his own legend.
 

SOTTREADER

The Living Force
Now, in saying the above, Paul's character is still quite noble. He suffers the consequences of accumulating and holding onto an insane amount of power as we know that power not only corrupts the weak minded but it also attracts the corrupted. Frank demostrates this process rather succinctly through these books.
Paul is noble because he never lets the power corrupt him and he makes way for the change upon realising the direction mankind is heading on their current path. He willingly steps down and disappears into the desert to work on dismantling his own legend.

Very interesting.. out of curiosity, what do you mean by corrupt? To me, the passage reads like Paul is responsible for untold suffering and as such is unredeemable? The damage is done already?

In the analysis I've either watched or read about Paul and his journey, I haven't seen one articulate how he could escape his journey and not ended up dead or without having avenged his father. The armies wouldn't have fought for him if he didn't let them think he was the Messiah and once he let them think he was the Messiah he couldn't stop this from taking a life of its own and initiating the jihad as it were. I'm finding it a bit sad not being able to see a way in which this character could have stayed on the heroes path within the universe built around him. Any ideas?
 

sid

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
@SOTTREADER, have you read the books at all or just the online reviews and summaries? The passage I quoted has a lot of dialogue before and after to provide better context. Paul, in general is not happy with what his legions have done but does not have the power to stem the tide. He is not a superhero but only a duke’s son with prescient abilities ie the ability to access all of his ancestors’ memories and to see certain future events. He is essentially a “Mentat” with “Bene Gesserit” capabilities and his legions are made up of Fremen.

For the Fremen, the people of the Dune, shedding tears is a waste of precious water and subsequently taking another’s life does not evoke any guilt. The one who was killed became useful by offering their water to the tribe. In such primitive societies, the way of survival develops into a religion and such people are ready for mass exploitation. The Fremen women would throw their babies at Harkonens and Sardaukur soldiers to shock them and then stab them with whatever sharp object they had in their homes. One Fremen would take down five of the Sardaukur with them. Such ratios scared the imperium and Paul saw this hence the “Desert Power”.

When Paul acquires the Imperial throne, he is able to transition to a proper Duke but constantly finds himself surrounded by zealots and religious bigots who are unable to fathom the evil that’s been perpetrated under his name i.e. they cannot “see” the error of their ways because Fremen religion and rituals absolves them from all guilt. Even Stilgar is no different being a simple minded Fremen and prefers to filter all events through his black and white thinking.

In a way, Paul could not escape this fate as even he is on a path of learning and trying to fulfil his duties as duke first and to rule his subjects justly. This is, in part, due to his education whereby the Atreides have been taught to rule others from the childhood, much like the elites and the royalty of the today’s world. It is only when he truly understands the horror that’s been unleashed and gets a glimpse of “The Golden Path” via his prescience that he backs down and chooses not to pursue that path considering what it could do to his own humanity.
 
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BHelmet

The Living Force
Finally saw it. I am a tough critic. I prefer the writer's words conjuring my imagination. That said, I thought it was fantastic: Hans Zimmer caught the mood perfectly, (of course) the cinematography and camera work was beautiful and eye popping. The thopters were PERFECT. Even the CGI managed to create a sci-fi realm completely unlike any other. Only a few minor quibbles: I never pictured Duncan Idaho as an island boy. The ethnic choices of the Fremen portrayals was... well... what you'd expect these days. A Chicana Chani? Whatever. But overall it was immersive and pretty darn true to the book without being tedious. I was ready to be irritated by Paul, but no! A job well done!

But I did kind of miss Sting as Feyd Rautha...

(JUST KIDDING!!! LOL)
 

psychegram

The Living Force
The ethnic choices of the Fremen portrayals was... well... what you'd expect these days. A Chicana Chani?

This was the only obvious flaw, in that it somewhat broke the suspension of disbelief necessary for any science fiction film. The fremen are a distinct ethnic group, who have inhabited Arrakis for thousands of years in relative isolation. That's more than enough time for ethnogenesis, meaning that their phenotype should be distinct and homogeneous. Casting them as a grab-bag of ethnic diversity is not consistent with that; Villeneuve would have done better to draw all of the fremen cast from a particular ethnic group, Arabs or Berbers perhaps.

But of course, under the new rules, if he wants to get an Oscar the film has to maximize diversity....
 

bjorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
This was the only obvious flaw, in that it somewhat broke the suspension of disbelief necessary for any science fiction film. The fremen are a distinct ethnic group, who have inhabited Arrakis for thousands of years in relative isolation.

Why move to a planet with giant 400-meter (1310 feet) worms. I mean, I wouldn't go and live on Godzilla's home planet either.

Other than that I thought it was a good movie. There was a lot of mysticism and mystery and clearly a great evil in the universe that needs to be fought. I also thought the dialogue was strong. The character may have been a bit bland and emotionless but that is exactly how I expect people of royal bloodlines to behave in the heat of battle. You have to stay focused. I am looking forward to part 2.
 
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Tauriel

Jedi Council Member
Thank you, guys.
I wanted to refuse amazon prime's horrendous price of 18 Euro for just watching the movie but now I see my dicipline crumbling. :lol:

I read the complete Dune series many years ago and added some other stories by Herbert as it was like an addiction at that time.
On top the new movie comes along with a soundtrack by the ingenious Hans Zimmer...and so there goes my willingness to refuse.
 

psychegram

The Living Force
Why move to a planet with giant 400-meter (1310 feet) worms. I mean, I wouldn't go and live on Godzilla's home planet either.
According to the lore, the fremen settled on Arrakis in order to escape religious persecution and find freedom from the empire. It wouldn't be the first time a group were driven into an inhospitable environment - see the Bedouin, or the Inuit.
 

bjorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
According to the lore, the fremen settled on Arrakis in order to escape religious persecution and find freedom from the empire. It wouldn't be the first time a group were driven into an inhospitable environment - see the Bedouin, or the Inuit.

I guess that later on. Unfortunately, the Empire found out that the planet is loaded with Spice. The most sought-after resource of the Universe. Tough luck 😂

But it makes sense to escape to such a hellhole if you want to be left alone.
 

Z...

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you, guys.
I wanted to refuse amazon prime's horrendous price of 18 Euro for just watching the movie but now I see my dicipline crumbling. :lol:

I read the complete Dune series many years ago and added some other stories by Herbert as it was like an addiction at that time.
On top the new movie comes along with a soundtrack by the ingenious Hans Zimmer...and so there goes my willingness to refuse.
I think this should be seen on the big screen. I am going to the cinema this weekend for the first time in decades. I might indulge in some popcorn for the first time in decade too, or maybe ill bring some cashews with me :)
 

Tauriel

Jedi Council Member
I think this should be seen on the big screen. I am going to the cinema this weekend for the first time in decades. I might indulge in some popcorn for the first time in decade too, or maybe ill bring some cashews with me :)
Do that! Sounds great, I just cannot bring myself to comply with the covid-measures to visit the big screen.
But by all means, enjoy, Deckard!
 

Z...

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Do that! Sounds great, I just cannot bring myself to comply with the covid-measures to visit the big screen.
But by all means, enjoy, Deckard!
Yeah i know - luckily here we have for each movie two cinemas - one for vaxxed and other for unvaxxed.
Disgusting segregation I wouldn’t want to be part of, however this time I will make an exception.
I fell like i need a pre Christmas treat - lets hope the movie lives up to my expectations.
 
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