|10.22.21||Internet|| AKA "Dune: Part I" AKA "Half of Dune." On one hand, I'm a big fan of Villeneuve. I think he's got a strong sense of confidence and vision with his movies that make them stand out which is increasingly rare these days (basically we've got Tarantino, PTA, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, and Villeneuve able to play with AAA budgets and still tell interesting stories), but on the other hand I consider myself an 80s David Lynch Dune apologist. While that movie has some serious narrative flaws (namely you can't tell what the hell is going on unless you've read the book), it offers some iconic design and stellar scenes that, to me, represent the gold standard of how Dune looks. So I was pretty mixed going into this updated telling, firmly ready for it to either be great or a dumpster fire.|
Well it's not a dumpster fire, and I think it succeeds where Lynch's adaptation fails (in that it probably makes sense to people who haven't read the book) but at the expense of being incomplete. There's a huge assumption baked into this movie that there will be a sequel, it'll be just as good, and it will forever live in film history as basically one big 5-hour movie (like Lord of the Rings). If any of those things don't happen, I think this movie will fade away as another well-intentioned but fatally flawed attempt to adapt the classic novel.
But all that said, I think it was a good move to not even attempt to tell the whole story. That's where Lynch's film really falters... but I think that given the fact that we're only covering half the book... the running time might be a tad indulgent. I mean I get that it's hard to show someone having visions without them acting all out of it, but it makes most of the movie seem a tiny bit like it's at .75x playback speed. And again with most of those visions you're writing checks that the second movie will have to cash. And with all this runtime he still had to cut down the dialogue in the Gom Jabbar scene? Stuff that was in the trailer? Maybe the most famous dialogue in all of the book!?
And I could probably do with less singers in the score wailing every time Paul does something weird, but I guess you have to integrate the clearly-arabic influence that back-in-the-day readers took as exotic sci-fi lingo, but the music sometimes was too on the nose for me. Mostly it was great, just sometimes a bit much.
But at the end of the day these are minor nitpicks. Mostly I think Villeneuve did a good job of bringing the (first half of the) book to the screen and it was interesting to look at and wasn't too confusing and makes me wish I could immediately watch Part II. If all those things mentioned above happen and we do get a worthy sequel then I think it will be a great and definitive adaptation. So I think that means I liked it quite a bit!