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conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
I don't hate the Lynch version. It's messy and overstuffed (and completely botches the third act), but it's got such a neat look to it. The set design is like a mixture of baroque architecture and steampunk, then shot like a noir film. Bizarre but undeniably fascinating. The costume design is a bit hit-or-miss but I love, love that the design for mentats is just Huge Eyebrows— inexplicable but hilarious.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
I don't hate the Lynch version. It's messy and overstuffed (and completely botches the third act), but it's got such a neat look to it. The set design is like a mixture of baroque architecture and steampunk, then shot like a noir film. Bizarre but undeniably fascinating. The costume design is a bit hit-or-miss but I love, love that the design for mentats is just Huge Eyebrows— inexplicable but hilarious.
Aesthetically, there's a lot to like in that movie. It is often unapologetically gross in a bold way for a big budget sci-fi epic.

Which makes this even more wild.

bd9698d4f3593597d161cea1ac3df492.png
dunecoloring2.jpg
dune3.jpg
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I think it's probably a little bit of both. (MacLachlan definitely looks older than Chalamet does in a direct age to age comparison.)
Yep. It's not about how old they are but how old they are allowed to look. Compare as well Zendaya's perfume commercials with how she's dressed and made up here to make her look younger.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
They seem to be showing the Fremen rebellion against the Harkonnens, so I don't know how they're stretching the remainder of the book into a second movie.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
They seem to be showing the Fremen rebellion against the Harkonnens, so I don't know how they're stretching the remainder of the book into a second movie.
I think that, since the natural point to split the novel is after the Harkonnen attack/Paul and Jessica fleeing into the desert and joining the Fremen, they've just invented an earlier showdown between the Harkonnen forces and the Fremen to serve as this movie's climax.
 
I think there is a non-zero chance that Rabban doesn't survive this movie. So events may be moved around a bit.
 

Positronic Brain

Out Of Warranty
(He/him)
I think there is a non-zero chance that Rabban doesn't survive this movie. So events may be moved around a bit.
But then who will be in charge of the Harkonnen garrison in Dune in part 2 for the Emperor and the Baron to get mad to? Does this means Feydd will get to do something besides look pretty?
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
It's out! I watched it! It's good!

The short of it is that Denis Villeneuve succeeds in translating the novel to the screen, and does so in a way that seems almost effortless. Partly this is because the narrative has been slightly adjusted: the political intrigue has been somewhat backgrounded to put more focus on Paul's relationships with his mum and dad. But I think this was a smart change, because that grounding ironically gives the film more freedom to world-build, now that it can be related back to the characters. It's actually quite impressive, how it spends a lot of time setting up the world and conflict— the world of Dune is still plenty complex, this has not changed— while maintaining momentum. Even if it takes a while for the story to "get going", it's never dull.

The only place the story stumbles is with Yueh. Specifically, how they handle his betrayal of the Atreides. I'll admit this is a tough thing to adapt, since his subplot is basically entirely internal monologue, and choosing to play it as a twist isn't the worst thing. But Yueh doesn't have enough screentime or presence in the film for it to land as a twist, and it just feels kind of random and kind of limp. I don't know how I would have handled it— if people remarked on his trustworthyness, it would probably be too obvious— but it still stuck out.

The only major issue I have with the film is that Arrakis doesn't look nearly hot enough. That's going to sound a bit nitpicky, but way it's shot— clean photography, the land a bright, pale yellow— doesn't evoke heat, which conflicts with how the characters talk about the place. The palace workers begin to close the doors and tell Leto to come inside, because the rising sun will soon make the outdoors unbearable, but it doesn't look like anything more than a bright sunny day. It really needed a more vibrant colour, and possibly a hazy filter or something. What's funny is that Paul's visions of the planet look like that— so it's a little disappointing the rest of the film doesn't.

One interesting adaptational change: Jessica's motivation for having Paul. Now, the backstory here is that the Bene Gesserit are running a millennia-old breeding program to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, and the last step is to unite the Atreides and the Harkonnens. Thus the Bene Gesserit order Jessica to bare a daughter, so that she may be wed to the Harkonnen heir Feyd-Ratha; but she defies them and bares a son (Paul). In the novel, this is an act of love: Leto wanted a son, so she gave him a son. In the film… she thought she could bear the Kwisatz Haderach herself. This is certainly a change to Jessica's personality, and also raises questions about what she knew about the breeding program. Curious to see how this plays out in Part Two.
 

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
I also saw it! I also thought it was good!

It was visually stunning, and though the soundtrack had a lot of "BIG DISCORDANT STING! WORDLESS WAILING IN THE BACKGROUND!" I actually like that sort of thing, so hey! They managed to put the first half of the book onscreen in a way that didn't feel like much had been trimmed out, even though a decent chunk of the book's details, background and worldbuilding had been pared back or removed. One thing I really liked is the way it handles Paul's prophetic dreams, showing flashes of imagery that may or may not come true, some clearer than others, some symbolic. The one where he heard "Follow the friend..." and it shows Jamis, who says "Come, friend, I'll show you the ways of the desert" set up a satisfying realization and resolution, in particular. It also manages to convey the breadth and chaos of Paul's nascent prescience.

I'm not sure how much of that stuff is informed by my knowing the book, though. It might have just been kind of confusing to someone who'd never read it (or not).

I liked what they did with Duke Leto's final moments, the tooth and the gas. In the book and previous adaptations, it was always kind of a wet fart of a scene, just a "Even that failed for no discernible reason. Sucks, huh." Here the Baron does get hit and only barely manages to survive because of his suspensors letting him hide on the ceiling while the gas wipes out the entire rest of the room, and he has to recover from it later. Does it make a big impact on how the story did or will develop? No, but it makes what should be a big moment feel a little more significant.

It also manages to portray the vast scale of the houses and the worlds much more memorably and convincingly than I've seen before, or that you often get from even the books; the scenes with all the fleets of huge landing ships and rank upon rank of soldiers in vast array really stick with you.

Slight criticisms: There could have been a little more of the political intrigue, just one or two scenes to flesh it out a bit. Not because the film suffered for it, just because I like it. With the intrigues backgrounded, the Harkonnens were as well, and I do think there could have been more of the Baron. He's a much larger character in the book and previous adaptations, one of the most memorable ones (for better or for worse), often managing to steal the scene, and here his presence was very toned down. I feel like the decision to make the Baron (and Rabban, and come to think of it, every Harkonnen) bald instead of giving him the original's curly red hair can be seen as a microcosm of a lot of things about this adaptation's approach to aesthetics. The Baron still fulfills his role in the story as evil schemer and villain, but doesn't really have much character to show for it anymore; he's just kind of flat, ultimately, kind of a regular old Bad Guy.

One interesting adaptational change: Jessica's motivation for having Paul. Now, the backstory here is that the Bene Gesserit are running a millennia-old breeding program to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, and the last step is to unite the Atreides and the Harkonnens. Thus the Bene Gesserit order Jessica to bare a daughter, so that she may be wed to the Harkonnen heir Feyd-Ratha; but she defies them and bares a son (Paul). In the novel, this is an act of love: Leto wanted a son, so she gave him a son. In the film… she thought she could bear the Kwisatz Haderach herself. This is certainly a change to Jessica's personality, and also raises questions about what she knew about the breeding program. Curious to see how this plays out in Part Two.
I did not get that impression; it felt roughly the same as the book's treatment to me. I think Mohiam accuses her of having a boy just because she wanted to bear the KH herself, but she's accused of the same thing in the book, too, and I don't think it's any more true in the movie than it was in the book. She seems really anxious, even terrified, as he starts to awaken. She has a very oh shit look on her face in the "You can't possibly know that" scene. Of course, in both book and movie, she trained him in the BG ways from childhood, which is very against the rules, so she obviously has some sort of special intention for him that went against the plan in any telling of the story. I'd need to read back through Dune, and probably Messiah and maybe even Children, to remember the exact picture of what she knew and when, though. Was there anything in the film that laid it out more explicitly?
 
Yes, this was awesome.

I kept faith in Villeneuve even when the marketing department released cookie-cutter trailers, and my faith was rewarded. I think this is the least I've felt the length of something that could be classified as a blockbluster in quite a while. Two and a half hours, and I would have watched the next one immediately after, if it was already out. But also it didn't pass quickly because it was fast paced in a traditional sense. It's definitely a big action blockbuster, but it also takes time to linger and get weird, exactly what you would hope for in a Villeneuve Dune.

Absolutely loved the cast, especially Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica. I also remember people being skeptical of Momoa early on but he nailed it. I think because he does big dumb movies and has kind of a bro images that sometimes that occasionally people forget that Momoa is actually just a pure manifestation of charisma when he's used properly.
 

John

(he/him)
I watched both the Lynch movie (original cut, not Alan Smithee) and Sci-Fi miniseries leading up to this, and though the new movie's the best of the three, I felt the miniseries was slightly more faithful when it came to the story, and especially with the political intrigue. It did make the new take feel slightly redundant in a way, but that will come when you watch the same story being told three ways, kind of a Rashomon effect. I still really liked it, but felt that Timothee Chalamet was more of a blank slate that the story was happening around. I hope as Paul matures into Usul/Muad'dib, that Chalamet's acting also grows into the role.

I thought that Arrakeen was intensely sterile in this new depiction, just lifeless stone buildings. They didn't spend time exploring the city or its inhabitants, only briefly talking about the palm trees that the gardener was watering, and showing some people hiding inside from the sun. I liked that they converted the scene of the water sellers and the squeezings into this one, shows the wastefulness of the Harkonnens but that some residents are also complicit. The gardener rebukes Paul's question of getting rid of the trees to save the water out of a sense of tradition and hope, but he's also most likely in the upper class, with access to all the water he needs, so a status quo shakeup will hurt him.

All my quibbles are minor, and mostly because I'm familiar with the source and the other adaptations. If I was going in blind, this would be the one to go to. Casting wise, outside of Paul and Jessica, pretty much every other major actor's famous from superhero movies, which I guess is just pop movies nowadays. It was fine, but does make it feel a bit like a who's who amalgamation of media, moreso than a typical blockbuster.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
Forgot to say, I think the film also did a great job at depicting some of the more abstract visuals/elements of the story, like the personal shields and the Voice. I haven't seen the miniseries, but the Lynch film struggled with both, so it was refreshing to seem them done well. I don't think they totally nailed the Voice, but it's not really a concept that's easily shown off the page, and it's tough to imagine it done better.

Was there anything in the film that laid it out more explicitly?
No, just that scene. I'll have to look at it more closely on a rewatch.

I still really liked it, but felt that Timothee Chalamet was more of a blank slate that the story was happening around. I hope as Paul matures into Usul/Muad'dib, that Chalamet's acting also grows into the role.
I think that's inherent to the role; Paul spends most of the first half of the novel just going along with things and getting swept up in events, not really doing much himself. Chalamet doesn't have much to work with, but I thought he was fine when he did.
 
This was really good.Never read the books, but I do think I wanna read them now, so mission accomplished...

Great looking movie. Timothee Chalamet is better than Kyle Machlachlan here who didn't seem suitable in Lynch's version. (only saw a few years ago) Rebecca Ferguson was incredible.

The only major issue I have with the film is that Arrakis doesn't look nearly hot enough. That's going to sound a bit nitpicky, but way it's shot— clean photography, the land a bright, pale yellow— doesn't evoke heat, which conflicts with how the characters talk about the place. The palace workers begin to close the doors and tell Leto to come inside, because the rising sun will soon make the outdoors unbearable, but it doesn't look like anything more than a bright sunny day. It really needed a more vibrant colour, and possibly a hazy filter or something. What's funny is that Paul's visions of the planet look like that— so it's a little disappointing the rest of the film doesn't.
I agree that it doesn't look hot (presumably bc it was filmed in a desert at a time of day when working wasn't too unpleasant) I didn't have an issue with this but yeah, it was noticeable. My favorite parts of the movie were in like cool, smoky palaces and I actually don't want to spend time in the desert which like I get is a major part of this... I understand that...

Last thirty minutes were boring. A rando appears and challenges Timothee Chalamet but like he's not a threat.
 
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