Dune (2021) **HERE BE SPOILERS**

Thought people might like a space to discuss the film without worrying about spoilers for those who don’t know the novel.

We’ve had decades of anticipation for a decent adaptation of this and i’d certainly be keen on hearing from those who read the books when they were first published what they think. The question remains whether this film is seen by the wider public as just another bloated CG fest and it sinks into obscurity much like Avatar, i’d like to think not because i want to see part two damn it!

Things i liked:

Maybe it’s because i am familiar with the book but i felt i knew where i was in the story at every step, it was coherent in a way the convoluted Tenet was not and given a lot of space to breathe. They just had to split this thing in two i think but the plot beats were there and maybe there were things missing i can’t remember.

The design of the whole thing is sublime, from the colossal Heighliners for interstellar travel and transport ships to the beautiful “i want one” ornithopters. If there is a part two i would hope we’ll get to see the Guild Navigators. Along with the reveal of Shai-Hulud there are a lot of jaw dropping visuals at a time when i think cinema can’t wow me anymore and i’ll include the real world locations in that, Jordan looks incredible in this.

Casting felt solid to me, i really enjoyed watching Stellan Skarsgård bring a grotesquery to his Colonel Kurtz style Baron and his many oily baths, the way he floats through the scenes has a deeply unnerving quality. Never been much of a fan of Timothée Chalamet but he’s fine in this i guess? Paul is a bit of a charisma vaccum anyway so he seems suited to the role.

How much is all this down to the score? Probably a lot so i’ll chuck that in too. When you have a majestic score combined with the ornithopters taking off and Shai-Hulud is swallowing a spice harvester whole while Liet Kynes says the prayer to Shai-Hulud i think “ahhh, so this is what cinema can do”. Of course i’m all in for that.

I was concerned going in that this would be a cold and emotionless film but it’s not really, there’s humour and affection in here that i found very welcome.

Nitpicking criticisms:

Maybe the film runs out of steam a bit towards the end which might be inevitable given that we’ve just watched the Harkonnen’s sudden but inevitable betrayal in epic style.

I understand why they decided to make the film tighter by focusing more on Arrakis and the Atreides for this part but i hope it broadens out some if there is another one, particularly all the plotting and literal back stabbing that goes on in the Harkonnen ranks.

Speaking of things missing before, i did hope there’d be more of the palace intrigue amongst the Atreides before everything went to hell but it was not to be.

To my ignorant eye there is Muslim and MENA culture represented on screen but is it enough and is it done right? It has been pointed out that there is a lack of this representation behind the camera and some of the references were purposely watered down in the film which is disappointing. I want to see all that pulled apart by the author who penned the Tor article on the religion.


Just saw the film and realized that I have been mispronouncing ‘Harkonnen’ for more than 30 years, at least.


There is that, in my head i always put the emphasis on the ‘o’ - Hark-o-nnen but who knew!


Made for TV movie. Meh.

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Me too, though more like ‘Har-KO-nnen.’


I wasn’t expecting that, it felt very cinematic to me but i did watch it on an imax screen with ear bleeding sound.


I mean it’s a far future society. No guarantees that the pronunciation hasn’t shifted from what it is today. Maybe the filmmakers got it wrong and you got it right.


I liked it a lot. Certainly much closer to the book than almost any other film adaptation of a book.

If you want nitpicks:

In this one Baron Harkonnen flies as well, like in the earlier movie. I understood from the book that he uses the technology to help carry his enormous bulk but otherwise walks normally, if more light-footed than one would expect.

The balloon technology on heavy atmosphere vehicles didn’t do it for me. I don’t know why but it felt incongruous with the technology of that world to me and isn’t based in the book.

PS: it really is strange to me to have been enthusiastic about the movie more than a month ago when I saw it and now suddenly getting a sudden influx of interest from others again.

Anyone know why they released it so much earlier in Europe?


The pacing felt right, but the focus on visuals over character development was disappointing. Once again, the audience is expected to have read at least the first novel to know who any of the supporting characters are or why any of them might be important to the overall story.


Agreed. I have a feeling he is going to shine as Muadib way more than he did as Paul.


Really? Compare it to the actual made for tv mini series 20 years ago. Would you put it on that same level?


It is bizarre how Brando turned Kurtz from this guy:

into this guy:


Flat as a soap opera. Maybe the acting? Maybe the score? Maybe the director? IDK but it came across as a lot of something but little of everything.

That’s fair. I had the opposite feelings but I will admit a bias for those involved. The only ‘offness’ I got out of it was how they split the story
There is no easy way to do it but it felt more that all of part 1 was just place setting.


There has been much debate over who the book version of Kurtz is actually based on but i take your point, screen versions immediately go for the Brando take on him.

I’m glad they kept it though, it adds a lot of menace to see him floating about.

Yeah, it is kinda incongruous given that they have access to anti-grav tech but we know that Arrakis doesn’t play nice with advanced tech like shields and stuff when out in the desert.

I don’t disagree with this, i wouldn’t have minded more of the palace intrigue and character stuff if it meant sacrificing some of the visual feast. After watching it again today i am left questioning what those watching who don’t know the book would make of the Bene Gesserit seemingly betraying House Atreides because there isn’t much by way of explanation in this part at least or the relationship going on between House Harkonnen and the Emperor who we’ve not met. The inclusion of a space wikipedia by way of exposition is a nice touch though.

I am looking forward to all that part of the story, when this film ends is when the meat of the story really begins and it is very much place setting as you say but that’s fine! Let it breathe a bit, you don’t need to satisfy the punter’s need for instant gratification all the time.


My read on the balloons was a redunancy. We first see them deploy right above an empty harvester
. I figured they are in place when the grapples engage so the anti-grav has a back up (or Arrakis-osha requires the anti-grav off during grapple engage)


One thing that I thought was slick was having Paul talk to Jamis in his dreams. It kind of served both to get the many possible futures thing across and gave Jamis more substance as a character. I thought several of the scenes involving Paul’s interior life, such as the tent scene were surprisingly well conveyed.


I completely missed that Jamis is in the scene the first time we see the Fremen at the beginning of the film but having him in his visions teaching him the ways of the desert was a nice touch yeah. Jamis being instrumental to Paul becoming Muad’Dib, even though he loses his life for it, makes the scene so loaded and Villeneuve obviously gets it by the way it’s shot and the use of music. The interior stuff i really liked because in places it got a bit impressionistic art house cinema which wasn’t something i expected.


All this leads me to think is when we finally see Paul drink the WoL we are going to experience one amazeballs piece of cinematic greatness.


I like the approach the director went with this one. I know it would’ve been more fleshed out if there was inner monologue but I think that would’ve been counter to his way of doing this film. Showing and not telling us much left it up to the audience to make sense of it while not being confused as much as given pieces of the end result in the visions. But I do think the miniseries does a good job of trying to give you that sense of plotting behind the scenes stuff that happens in the book where the 2021 film here just says “it’s happening and you’re going on the ride like Paul is whether you want to or not.”