Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Who Will Control the Spice?

There will hopefully be a cure for the Coronavirus for Christmas because Dune 2020 is scheduled to open on December 18.   Vanity Fair reported today:

Paul & Jessica Atreides


It wouldn’t be Dune if it were easy. Herbert’s novel became a sci-fi touchstone in the 1960s, heralded for its world-building and ecological subtext, as well as its intricate (some say impenetrable) plot focusing on two families struggling for supremacy over Arrakis. The book created ripples that many see in everything from Star Wars to Alien to Game of Thrones. Still, for decades, the novel itself has defied adaptation. In the ’70s, the wild man experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky mounted a quest to film it, but Hollywood considered the project too risky. David Lynch brought Dune to the big screen in a 1984 feature, but it was derided as an incomprehensible mess and a blight on his filmography. In 2000, a Dune miniseries on what’s now the SyFy channel became a hit for the cable network, but it is now only dimly remembered...

 Villeneuve intends to create a Dune that has so far only existed in the imagination of readers. The key, he says, was to break the sprawling narrative in half. When Dune hits theaters on December 18, it will only be half the novel, with Warner Bros. agreeing to tell the story in two films, similar to the studio’s approach with Stephen King’s It and It Chapter Two. “I would not agree to make this adaptation of the book with one single movie,” says Villeneuve. “The world is too complex. It’s a world that takes its power in details.”
 Chalamet’s character, Paul, thinks he’s just a boy struggling to find a place in the world, but he actually possesses the ability to change it. He has a supernatural gift to harness and unleash energy, lead others, and meld with the heart of his new home world. Paul comes from a powerful galactic family with a name that sounds like a constellation—the House Atreides. His father and mother, Duke Leto (played by Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), take their son from their lush, Scandinavian-like home world to preside over spice extraction on Arrakis. What follows is a clash with the criminal, politically connected House Harkonnen, led by the monstrous Baron Vladimir (Stellan Skarsgård), a mammoth with merciless appetites. The baron, created with full-body prosthetics, is like a rhino in human form. This version of the character is less of a madman and more of a predator. “As much as I deeply love the book, I felt that the baron was flirting very often with caricature,” says Villeneuve. “And I tried to bring him a bit more dimension. That’s why I brought in Stellan. Stellan has something in the eyes. You feel that there’s someone thinking, thinking, thinking—that has tension and is calculating inside, deep in the eyes. I can testify, it can be quite frightening.”

It is encouraging to read Villeneuve's for Dune.  JJ opined a year and a half ago:

The Lynch production was ambitious but flawed.  The stellar cast was betrayed the the studio's decision to shorten the movie to a little more than two hours.  The plot was changed to include the idiotic weirding modules storyline.  The Harkonnens were turned into cartoon characters when they were much more devious and dangerous in the books.  The Sci-Fi Channel production was more true to the books but the cast was really sub-par.

It is is heartening to see a director of Villeneuve's quality attempt to tackle Dune yet again.  Unfortunately for him, Frank Herbert's son, Brian, will be the executive producer.  He managed to take a science fiction masterpiece and butcher and bastardize it with a series of prequels and sequels.  A Nazi-style book-burning of those books would not erase the sins that were committed against the Father on their pages.

However, one can hope against hope that Mr. Herbert will stay out of Villeneuve's way and that Dune will finally receive the cinematic portrayal it deserves.

Check out the cast.

  
 Duncan Idaho

Gurney Halleck

Lady Jessica

Chani

Not quite the Ginyu Force


18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Echoes of the Ghostbuster remake. Think male characters replaced with women of color. It's going to be hot garbage. This will be the third attempt to translate Frank Herbert's novel to the big screen. And the SJW touch isn't bringing anything new to the plot.

Anonymous said...

Bill and Melinda Gates should be sued by companies and class action law suits by people who suffered a loss because of their incompetent model.

People were harmed psychologically and financially because of the government's action based largely on a model presented by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Those people deserve to be made whole.

Anonymous said...

@11:38

They changed one character. Also, as the child of Fremen, doesn’t it make sense for Liet Kynes to be black?

If this change bothers you, you’re going to be really pissed when you find out that they changed the lead character in Passion of Christ to a white man.

Anon-E-Mouse said...

Here’s hoping they can pull it off.

I’m a big fan of Dune.

Anonymous said...

@8:25 AM
It won't bother me because I stopped giving Hollywood my shekels long ago. There is far more to life than the next big video game or movie.

Kingfish said...

Um, yeah. One minor character will be black and you freak out? Funny.

The Benne Gesserit were warrior priestesses in the later books. Book 5 explored their capabilities. Jessica's character is in keeping with how Herbert described them.

Anonymous said...

The majority never complains when movies are white-washed, but they are up in arms when creative license is taken to cast a character not of a Caucasoid persuasion.

If you know a movie is inspired by a book, you probably shouldn't watch it. I still have yet to see a movie that is as good as the book. While there have been some good adaptations, the book is usually far superior to the movie.

Anonymous said...

Okay just want to bring awareness to an amazing female African-American science fiction author named Octavia E. Butler. Here is a reading on youtube of her short story Bloodchild. when you finish it, realize that work like hers gets ignored so Hollywood can recycle Dune for easy cash.

Kingfish said...

You're talking about probably the best science fiction novel of all time. Don't know a thing about her and I will definitely check her out so thank you for the recommendation.

However, Dune is a literary masterpiece as is Les Miserables. It's not being recycled when it was never done right in the first place. It is very challenging and only a few ambitious directors are even mad enough to take it on. This is the K2 of book adaptations.

Anonymous said...

looking forward to it. the best version I've seen so far is the sci-fi channel mini-series. even if it's bad, the story is still good.

Anonymous said...

hold my beer fish. I'll take lord of the rings for 600

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I enjoy Dune. But you should know that it is literally the story of T.E. Lawrence retold in a SciFi allegory. But lots of great SciFi and Fantasy are allegorical. But "masterpiece" is a stretch.

Unknown said...

I could not wait as a 17 year old to see Dune in the theater back in 1984. What a disappointment. Probably the worst movie ever made. Sting and all....

Anonymous said...

I second the recommendation of Octavia Butler. For you tried and true southerners, start with Kindred.

Anonymous said...

@2:07, Yeah, Octavia won her Hugo Award alone. Frank Herbert's was a tie. Masterpiece my ass.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who read the series of Dune books like me is addicted. No matter how inadequate the screenplay may be I must see it. Hollywood knows it. They'll keep remaking Dune until all Dune junkies die out. Long live the junkies!

Anonymous said...

Dune video games are great. There were 2 for the Sega. Virgin Interactive made a great CD rom based game for the Sega CD Westwood Studios made Dune: Battle for Arrakis and Dune:2000 for the Playstation. They were all on the PC as well but I only had Sega back then.

Anonymous said...

Dune is good. LOTR is perfect

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