It had been a good while since I’ve seen the original 1984 film version of Dune. I think what got my interested in seeing it in the first place was that scene where Sting yells “I will kill him!”. I was so curious, I wanted to know where it came from.
I think I even rented it at the library. Never underestimate the library for media. Most older films I’ve seen is because I checked them out at my local place when I was younger.
I really wanted to rewatch the 1984 Dune in preparation for the much anticipated 2021 version. Instead of seeing if it was streaming on Amazon or something, I went the lazy route, finding a fanedit on YouTube. I have no idea what the difference is, but I’ve always been a fan of these edits, even doing a few myself.
I’ve never read any of the Dune books, however I have seen the Sci-Fi Channel version and sequels. And from what I remember I enjoyed those as well.
Since I’ve never read the books this is based on, my only comparison has to be to the 1984 version.
I did stop the fanedit where the 2021 version leaves off and if a part 2 ever comes out, I might revisit it.
I guess I should let you know this going in, since I was oblivious to this, as I think everyone was, the 2021 version of Dune isn’t a full movie.
It has no 3rd act, leaving off right when Paul and his mother make it to the desert, meeting the Fremen. I’m bringing this up now because choosing to do it this way honestly kills the movie.
I’ll tell you right now, because this isn’t a full movie I can’t give it a rating higher than a RENT. It might seem kind of harsh, but I feel this way for a few reasons which I’ll get into now. Why wait.
For one, I don’t think anyone knew going into this that it wasn’t a full film. But the first thing you see is Dune part 1. Instantly you’re hit with a what the fuck moment. It honestly seemed added in at the last minute, knowing people would be absolutely pissed if they didn’t give some early warning.
The film is only 2 hours and 30 minutes. That’s nothing compared to some epics these days. People are used to 3 and half hours or whatever the hell Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League was. 4 hours? Point I’m trying to make is, this movie did not need to be cut off, this could have been a completed movie, running well past the 4 hour mark and no one would have complained.
And hopefully if the film does get a part 2, which is all up in the air with no plans, once the films are complete only then do I think I can give this the rating it deserves. Because almost everything else is absolutely fucking fantastic.
Now aside from the fact there’s no 3rd act, the movie still has some issues.
For one, it’s way too clean. Mostly I mean very PG-13. The only bit of blood you see in this is a bloody palm. This also wouldn’t be that big of a deal if not for the fact everyone fights with goddamn swords. And not a single person sheds a bit of blood when getting slashed or stabbed.
It’s just so tame at times when it really shouldn’t be. One thing the David Lynch film has over this is the grittiness of it, especially when you get to the rival house Harkonnen and their planet Giedi Prime.
In Lynch’s version it was like something out of damn Hellraiser. Everyone seemed like they just got summoned from the cube.
Where as in the Denis Villeneuve version it was giving me Rise of Skywalker vibes.
Visually speaking, the 2021 film is stunning. Truly a visual masterpiece with so many sweeping vistas.
Half the runtime was just sweeping vistas.
One thing the Lynch film does which I didn’t care for was all the exposition almost every single character spews before anything happens. I swear the first 40 minutes in the 1984 version is just characters trying to explain shit to the audience.
And to do that we get slide shows and internal dialogue of people talking to themselves in their heads.
Thankfully none of the is in the new version, instead we get the special sign language Paul and his mom use. Which I don’t think we ever see until Children of Dune the Sci-Fi Channel mini series.
Most of the 2021 film just drops you in this world, letting you figure it out on your own with very little handholding.
I enjoy that more, being such a fan of the Game of Thrones HBO series, also never have read the books. If you’re used to that, you really shouldn’t have that hard of a time following along without unnecessary scenes of characters trying to explain it.
However, the 2021 film does seem to gloss over a few things that might upset a few fans of the books/Lynch film. For instance the topic of the robots that enslaved humanity is gone from this version. Never even brought up. It seems like kind of a big deal, but also a whole movie on its own.
Also missing are the… can’t remember what they are called, but the space travel time folding beings. They were featured in the Lynch film, even showing us how time and space gets folded for travel.
From what I remember hearing, these beings are never meant to be seen, but Lynch wanted to show them. Basically they’re space turds that fart spice.
Speaking of the spice, the 2021 version doesn’t really focus that much of that either. Since this whole thing is centered on the spice melange, you’d think it might be worth your time. But in this version it’s kind of an afterthought.
So this spice is only found on one planet Arrakis. It has this property to fold space for interstellar travel. It also has anti-aging properties which the 2021 version never touches on. The spice is just a really big deal in this universe and it’s barely touched on in the new Dune movie.
As for the plot, I’ll try my best to kind of sum it up for you in case you have never heard of Dune before. Which could be a possibility, I don’t know.
It is the year 10191 and a cluster of planets are ruled by The Emperor. But there are several houses that make up this empire two of which are House Atreides our Starks if you will. And the opposing house House Harkonnen. Think House Greyjoy, the house Reek belonged to.
For years they have had control over the planet Arrakis a desert planet where only the spice melange can be mined. It rakes in unheard of amounts of profit, making a fight for control over that planet worth setting off an interstellar war over.
Of course the reason behind the Emperor handing over control is deceiving, as he fears the popularity and influence House Atreides has been getting lately.
Not sure if this is a David Lynch thing or if it’s in the books, but in the 1984 version they were worried about this new weapon they were developing that uses voice. It’s kind of dumb, so I’m glad it wasn’t included in the new version. It just smells of something Lynch thought up. But you never know.
The Emperor is basically sending House Atreides to this planet to fail, knowing the Harkonnens will retaliate.
Now here is where things do start to get complicated. On Arrakis there is a prophecy of a chosen one, think Jewish messiah. It has been long prophesied that the chosen one would return to the planet and free the people. Sound familiar?
This was actually one of the things I never really cared for in Dune, it just seemed so disconnected from the rest of the story. Like you’ve got this political intrigue going on with the spice and the Emperor and these other houses, then you toss in basically Jesus and it just doesn’t work for me.
Anyway! Turns out that chosen one is Paul. His mother belonged to a group of women who people refer to as witches. She left the group to have a child with Paul’s father Duke Leto, in hopes that she would give birth to this messiah.
They also have this ability to control you with the sound of their voice. Paul is still learning, so he isn’t the best at it. He’s also really reluctant to take rule once his father is gone.
Can’t fight fate it seems as Paul is starting to have visions of Arrakis and Chani, a Fremen fighter who he hasn’t met yet. And who we don’t meet until the last 10 minutes of the movie.
Once House Atreides arrives on the planet Arrakis they see the bad shape the Harkonnens left everything.
Paul even evades an assassination attempt. By who we never really find out. We just cut to a body of some person stuffed in a wall.
After that it’s a quick trip to check out how they mine the spice. This is the first time we get a glimpse at the sandworms, which look less like Graboids like in Lynch’s version and more parasite leech looking.
To take down House Atreides, Harkonnens go to the Sardaukar, which are these elite fighters, think the Dothraki from Game of Thrones.
There are a few scenes I really loved and one of them is showing the Sardaukar doing this ceremonial bloodletting sacrifice. I don’t know if they were dead, just hundreds hung upside down, sharing some blood.
The Sardaukar and the Harkonnens attack at night with the help of the Atreides doctor Yueh. He betrays them because the Baron has taken his wife.
In the Lynch film it kind of didn’t make a ton of sense why he betrayed them as he knew his wife was already dead. This time he is acting under the assumption that she is still living.
Either way he lowers the defenses and serves Duke Leto up to the Baron. But not before replacing a tooth with a poison capsule.
Duke Leto is able to engulf the whole room with poison, killing everyone but the Baron, who managed to escape using his floating ability.
Now that I remember it, the other scene I loved was this glimpse of a pet the Baron keeps. This ant human pimp looking thing. I don’t know what it was but it creeped me out. About as close as the film got to David Lynch’s take on Giedi Prime.
Anyway, back to the story, Paul and his mother escape, but crash their ship in a sandstorm, eventually taking shelter with the Fremen.
And that’s pretty much where the movie ends, most likely not getting more for a few years at least.
So was it worth it? Kind of. Visually like I said is impressive. Maybe too impressive, as a lot of the runtime is spent on showing off. Did we really need an extended shot of Paul walking around, sticking his hand in water?
I loved the design of the ships, looking like dragon flies. It was giving me Lexx vibes, maybe my favorite sci-fi series ever made.
I didn’t mention him but Jason Momoa’s character is such a damn badass in this. He was my favorite character and kind of fitting with all the Game of Thrones references I’ve been doing.
I loved the score, however it did get a bit too much especially when characters are whispering and the score is booming over them. It made it really hard to hear what they were saying most of the time.
I don’t know what else to say other than I’m disappointed we weren’t given the full film. It isn’t like Infinity War where keeping it a part two was kind of a secret. They should have told us this was only going to be the first half of the Dune story. Maybe that’s just me.
So horror month ends Sunday, still not sure if I have anything else to review, we’ll see. I’m still doing the Week of Horror Mon rundown of every horror movie I watched that week. So I’m not sure what you’ll be back with. God, it might be Army of the Dead prequel.
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