Saturday, October 23, 2021

Dune: Villeneuve in Review

 I will start with my bona fides, i.e. what makes me qualified to give this review?

Is it enough to say that I have read the book Dune? More than once? More than twice? In fact, I have reread Dune every March since high school.. so for more than 30 years. I have read Dune more than 30 times.

I will emphasize only rereading the first book. For this review I will only touch on a couple of minor details for the later books.

To start, I loved the movie, but it is not the book. I will break this down in to five categories. Things missing or poorly explained, changes, interesting bits, things they did right, and things I expect the second movie will cover.


Things missing or very poorly explained:

  • They never mention that Paul has been in Mentat training he entire life and is expected to become a Mentat Duke
  • The dinner party. This scene in the book showed Paul's comprehension of the political world in which he was immersed.
  • Mahdi! It was lightly mentioned in the flick, but not well explained. Paul was call Mahdi many times before he was referred to as Lisan al Gaib
  • Thufir Hawat: Mentat Assasin. I tried working this one into a joke.
    • Q: "Who would win a fight between Gurney and Duncan?"
      • A: Thuffir
        • Of course, the real answers is that the Harkonnens would be the victor.
    • The movie does not properly depict Thufir's prowess. I wanted more Thufir. The actor did well but I didn't feel like he helped physically train Paul
  • Weirding Way. Lightly mentioned once, zero explanation as to what it meant.
  • Piter de Vries and his obsession with the Lady Jessica
  • Internal dialog. This was a big part of the book, being inside the character heads. 
  • Count Fenring. The previous screen adaptations also failed here and he was such a fascinating subplot in the book. Another spoiler: few could best Paul in single combat at his peak, Fenring could have done with ease.
  • Las guns were not well explained. Las guns and shields were natural enemies; if a las gun hit a shield the feedback would destroy both ends instantly and unpredictably. This is why there was such an ephasis on bladed combat
  • Jamis was ambidextrous, Chani should have warned Paul of this fact. You did briefly see this in the fight between Paul in Jamis; Jamis switched the blade to his right hand behind his back in his final lunge towards Paul
  • Jessica slaps Paul after his fight with Jamis. She purposefully wanted to shame him so he never enjoyed killing. This may still happen in the next movie.
  • The animosity between House Harkonnen and and House Atreides never mentioned. One minor mention of "cousin" which is actually pointless. In truth the Duke was a cousin of the Emperor, not the Harkonnens.  
  • The rivalry between Thufir and Jessica. Rivalry may not be the right word here
  • The spice melange. I don't know that the movie really explained why it was so valuable.
  • The actual weapon that took down the Atreides was old school artillery.
  • Where are the Atreides family atomics? The book does not state this plainly but it is implied that posession of atomics are what makes a Great House. 

Things Changed

  • The spice carryall scene. Changing it to be shitty equipment instead of a hijacked carryall feels pointless.
  • Dy Kynes gender swap. I have zero problem with this, she nailed the role.
  • Duncan was sent to live with the Freman during the meeting where they were all spitting. I loved this scene in the movie, it made me laugh. it was a big change but an acceptable one.
  • The sardukar should have been in Harkonen uniforms to hide the emperor's involvement.
  • When paul lets Jessica know he is aware of her pregnancy. No major issues with this other than with the timing the Duke never knowing feels wrong.

Interesting Bits or scenes that I liked a lot

  • The Sardukar were badass the way they were portrayed.
  • A guild navigator was not shown
  • The mentat eyeball roll was neat
  • The sign language. It was actually in the book, but not used this much; the book used more coded verbal phrases. I am good with the sign language as the translation of the phrases would have been difficult on screen. 
  • The Duke's line of  "So.. it's done?" was Oscar Isaccs at his best. Very Dameron Poe
  • Duncan's demeanor when he walked into the first hallway with the Sardukar... where he looked at them and was like "oh, my second blade might get some use" and pulls the blade.
  • A lot more personality put on the Duke. 
  • Stilgar's super chill attitude was brilliant.
  • Paul staring down the Reverend Mother
Things they did right
  • Ornithopters. Hells yah.
  • Stillsuits
  • Personal Shields
  • Bagpipes
  • Paul's age and size
  • Paul's love for his father
  • The Baron and his suspensors.
  • Music/score
  • The Atreides warriors were the best in the universe, but there were not very many. They were better than the Sardukar and the Fremen. 

The second movie should cover...

  • Jessica's bloodline
  • The Weirding way
  • Jessic'a ascension to Sayadinna 
  • The Freman "religion"
  • Where Thufir and Gurney end up after the attack
  • The family atomics

I may add more to this later after I watch it for the ... fifth time?

Let me know if you have any questions.