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Villeneuve's DUNE


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7 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

DUNE is the Lord of the Rings of science fiction.

Lord of the Rings will be seen as the Dune of fantasy.

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4 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Interestingly, Tolkien said he didn't like Dune...

 

Completely unsurprising, it's definitely not his cup of tea.

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I agree. Tolkien was trying to build a mythology where there was a lot imagined beyond the borders of his concepts. The barely explained magic systems are one example. Frank Herbert wanted to wow us with the logic of his systems and how they all fit together to make a statement. Dune is more of a manifesto, in a vague way. Tolkien clearly wanted to write a timeless tale with timeless morals. Herbert, a novel with forward-thinking ideas that stimulated the mind. Not that Herbert didn't have an interesting story to tell but notice that it relied on multiple twists. He's clearly trying to be clever. A different kind of clever than Tolkien. That's my take.

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I tried and failed to read the book last year, gave up before I reached the end of part 1 of book 1 I think. I'm sure this is where everyone tells me it was just about to get good, but what my subjective impression was is that I've seen/read all this before, the characters, the dialogues, the events felt cliché - which is weird because this is probably where they originated and all the inspirations and copycats I got to first followed it a tad too close, so close that I got little to nothing out of the original source material in a hundred or more pages. Whereas when I read Hobbit and LotR, I didn't feel that at all, even knowing a ton of things they inspired, they felt fresh and original in what they were doing and how they were doing it and in what depth they were doing it.

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I've intentionally abstained from reading it or watching the Lynch Dune, purely so that I can see Villenueve's film through fresh eyes and purely as cinema.

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2 hours ago, Holko said:

I tried and failed to read the book last year, gave up before I reached the end of part 1 of book 1 I think. I'm sure this is where everyone tells me it was just about to get good, but what my subjective impression was is that I've seen/read all this before, the characters, the dialogues, the events felt cliché

 

I don't find it an easy read (which is certainly why I remember little from when I first read it some 20 years ago), but I do find it fascinating. And Herbert could write a suspense-packed scene, like the political banquet in part 1.

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So someone mentioned above the first book features a 2-3 year jump at some point in the narrative.  Does it seem likely that the first film would therefore include up to that jump and Film 2 would pick up with each character a little older, or is that jump not at a good splitting point of the story to structure the films that way?

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13 minutes ago, Jay said:

So someone mentioned above the first book features a 2-3 year jump at some point in the narrative.  Does it seem likely that the first film would therefore include up to that jump and Film 2 would pick up with each character a little older, or is that jump not at a good splitting point of the story to structure the films that way?

 

It would be actually. It's hard to get into specifics without revealing things but I and think probably all other Dune fans know where the split will be. It will probably be slightly unexpected in some way but general whereabouts seems inevitable.

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56 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

Tolkien didn't have "anti-heroes" as we'd think of them today, at most he had heroes that were flawed, and he made clear they were flawed in ways one shouldn't aspire to. And in any event, they existed within a mythological framework. He also basically hated what we'd now call "postmodernism".

 

I'm fine with discussing the work on this more conceptual level. I don't mind getting a general feel for what the work is: that's probably helpful.

 

I think there's a difference between a tragic hero who has flaws and psychological complexity, but exists within a clear, moralistic framework where his flaws have to be payed-for by a reversal of fortunes (Peripeteia), and an antihero where his would-be "flaws" aren't being judged by the narrative, or are even meant to have the audience sympathize with them in an anti-institutional "sticking it to the man" type of scenario.

 

Tolkien writes many tragic heroes. In fact, he probably writes more tragedy than comedy (here in the Aristotelian sense). The very impetus for his writing his legendarium was to rework a classic tragedy, the Kallavela, and the resulting character of Turin Turamabar has a very complicated psyche indeed.

 

But I really think a better example of how you can write extremly complex people into a story with a clear moralistic framework is in Der Ring Des Nibelungen: Wotan is an extremlly complex character, but he's in no way an anti-hero: he's a good person who is reduced through compromises into all manner of questionable deeds, and ends up paying the price. Really, all the heroes of the cycle - not just Wotan but also Siegmund, Sieglinde, Siegfried and Brunhilde are patently "the good guys" and yet they have a great deal of psychological complexity.

 

Anyway, we'll see how much of this "moral relativism" is retained in the film: the marketing seems to positiong Timothee Chalamet's character as a young hero, and I bet that's how they wrote him for the scren, too. I don't really want to watch a very morally relativistic work: I abhor that kind of stuff just as much as Tolkien did.

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20 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

Anyway, we'll see how much of this "moral relativism" is retained in the film: the marketing seems to positiong Timothee Chalamet's character as a young hero, and I bet that's how the wrote him for the scren, too. I don't really want to watch a very morally relativistic work: I abhor that kind of stuff just as much as Tolkien did.

 

I can appreciate both approaches to a story but this is one moment where I hope Paul is painted in darker shades of grey. It's one of my favorite things about the novel Dune and I would be disappointed if they simplified Paul into being a hero or tragic hero. I don't think he is an anti-hero either. Paul is a unique take. It would get into spoiler territory to explain properly.

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Ther'es nothing "simple" about a good tragic hero. That was my point.

 

And I'll take "simple" over morally-relativist crap any day.

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39 minutes ago, blondheim said:

It would be actually. It's hard to get into specifics without revealing things but I and think probably all other Dune fans know where the split will be. It will probably be slightly unexpected in some way but general whereabouts seems inevitable.

 

Would it be a good point?  It's 363 pages into a slightly less than 500 pages long novel, so not quite the middle… I figured he first film would cover part 1 and leave parts 2 and 3 for the second film. That would certainly make for a dramatic finale and cliffhanger. But there's obviously stuff from part 2 in the film.

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Just now, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Would it be a good point?  It's 363 pages into a slightly less than 500 pages long novel, so not quite the middle… I figured he first film would cover part 1 and leave parts 2 and 3 for the second film. That would certainly make for a dramatic finale and cliffhanger. But there's obviously stuff from part 2 in the film.

 

I think so. A lot happens in that finale, it definitely needs spread out for a blockbuster audience to understand. If there are loyal to the novel that is. Inevitably more time will be spent on action sequences during that final sequence, both adapted and newly-created. I also suspect some of Dune Messiah may wind up in there too. I hope not because I think the ending of the book is such a slam-dunk but it's a possibility.

13 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Ther'es nothing "simple" about a good tragic hero. That was my point.

 

And I'll take "simple" over morally-relativist crap any day.

 

Fair. You haven't read the novel and my opinion comes from having read them all.

 

I didn't mean simple as simple-minded, which isn't always the insult I think people think it is but that's beside the point. I actually think simple things can often be more complex than people realize, such as in the case of Tolkien's archetypes mentioned above. I definitely think being grey to be grey is annoying and done far too often to mimic depth. But done right, I really like a lot of what you seem to think of as morally relativist characters.

 

Somewhere between tragic hero and anti-hero lies Paul. He is complex is my point. He's The Matrix by Don Davis, not The Lord of the Rings by Howard Shore. Complex complex vs simple complex. I lean into the darker interpretation of Paul but I have more knowledge of the character. I don't begrudge you wanting a more Tolkien-esque story but the comparisons between the books are only relevant in the influence they had in their genres. They are very different books with very different agendas. I think it would be wrong to force Herbert's book into archetypes and tragic heroes. But that's just me.

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21 hours ago, blondheim said:

Somewhere between tragic hero and anti-hero lies Paul.


Yeah I think this is right. He’s not a tragic hero, at least in the  way Tolkien, or even Shakespeare thought of a tragic hero. But he’s also most certainly not an anti-hero. He’s a complex creation, and there aren’t many like him in literature. 
 

Villenueve compared Paul to Michael Corleone, and he’s also been compared to the T.E. Lawrence of the film. I don’t think either quite captures who Paul is, but I also wouldn’t call the comparisons unfair. I think part of Herbert's message is that there are no heroes, and if there are they aren’t to be trusted.

 

In any event, while Paul certainly isn’t on a hero’s quest (though perhaps he starts out that way), I think for the first part of his journey the film will portray him as a hero. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

Villenueve compared Paul to Michael Corleone, and he’s also been compared to the T.E. Lawrence of the film.

 

The Godfather: Part II notwithstanding, those are both tragic heroes.

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3 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

 

The Godfather: Part II notwithstanding, those are both tragic heroes.

 

He does say neither fits. It's probably for that reason. Paul is hard to pin down because he requires reader involvement. He is used to expose your own feelings about certain issues. Every person's experience with Paul is different, at least in the books. That is understandably difficult to adapt to the screen so I've always imagined some simplification but I hope that they remain true to who Paul truly is, that thing that isn't necessarily what I want him to be or what you want him to be either.

 

I agree with the above statements that he will probably be portrayed as a hero at first, which I can understand although it is a dangerous choice to do so imo. Without alluding to something deeper, darker, his darkness will inevitably be looked at as some kind of 'fall' if it's left til later which is exactly what we don't want. Well, it's what I don't want.

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I don’t necessarily see Michael Corleone as a tragic hero. He’s certainly a tragic character, but he’s most assuredly a villain, even if he’s one we can occasionally sympathise with. Michael isn’t a good person with flaws. He starts out relatively good and eventually becomes irredeemably corrupted. Others might disagree, and that’s fine, but I see Michael more as Macbeth, not Hamlet. He’s a protagonist who also happens to be a villainous thug.

 

On the other hand, Lean’s Lawrence probably is a tragic hero, his flaw being vanity. 
 

But as I said, those comparisons only take you so far, and neither really sum up Paul.

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15 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

He starts out relatively good and eventually becomes irredeemably corrupted.

 

Well, that's tragedy for you.

 

I think the term "hero" in "tragic hero" is misleading. You could substitute it for "tragic figure." Michael of the original The Godfather is exactly that: he starts as a good person who doesn't want anything to do with the family buisness, and gradually gets dragged into it, and he does suffer for it.

 

I do always say that The Godfather is "more Macbeth than Othello" in the sense that he's the kind of tragic hero/figure that's first reduced to bloodshed quite early. But its nevertheless a well-established version of the tragic hero/figure.

 

Actually, Lawrence is first reduced to bloodshed quite early, too, but the circumstances are very, very different.

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5 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

That's tragedy.


You’re confusing mere tragedy with the tragic hero.

 

5 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I think the term hero in tragic hero is misleading. You could substitute it for "tragic figure."


Well, yes, and tragic character is exactly what I said. You’re the one who called Michael a tragic hero, I was responding to that. 

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"Hero" is here strictly in the sense of "main character." Not in the literal sense of being heroic.

 

Michael Corleone is a tragic hero.

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I started to type a response, but then I remembered this was a Dune thread and suddenly I lost interest. Sorry. 
 

And really mate, there’s no reason to devolve every conversation into a battle over excruciating minutiae. Read Dune and decide what Paul is for yourself. 

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Meh, I wasn't a fan of the jokes. They reminded me of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the worst possible way.

 

I wouldn't want for Villeneuve (whose films are as far from comedies as it gets) to "Marvel-ize" Dune to help the box office.

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I agree, based on the type of humor, it feels like Villeneuve is trying to be Marvel (or at least he's trying to appeal to their audience).

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We don't know how much of that kind of humour is in the actual film, though.

 

I mean, you have to have some humour in there. And sure, I HATE MCU-style humour, but if there's just a pinch of it in a 2.5-hour movie? Not an issue.

 

We shall see.

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4 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

I hope Villeneuve marvelizes the fuck out of Dune just to annoy the snobs

Dune is kind of like his audition to direct an MCU movie

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Well as a Lord of the Rings snob, I can say to Dune snobs: Be careful what you wish for. The last thing Dune fans should want is a big hit with massive cultural impact. Otherwise the future is the complete commercialization, exploitation, bastardization and dilution of a work of literature that they love, with Dune themed Denny's menus, Dune salt & pepper shakers and Dune slippers.

 

Which is nothing compared to what will happen when the Twitter and Reddit crowds inevitably descend into vicious, hyperbolic, pseudo-academic arguments about what they think Frank Herbert's real intentions were and whether the cast is appropriately diverse. Or too diverse. And they will.

 

I love the Lord of the Rings films, they're perfect. But the trade-off has almost not been worth it. Dune fans should hope that the film does just well enough to warrant a sequel and then quietly slip out of the popular zeitgeist.

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Just one sequel?  Wouldn't Dune fans want films to me made out of all 6 of Herbert's original novels?

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4 hours ago, Jay said:

Just one sequel?  Wouldn't Dune fans want films to me made out of all 6 of Herbert's original novels?

 

I'm sure. But anyone who knows those books knows that there are even more challenges to making the latter books appeal to a mass audience than the first one. 

 

We'll see. I frankly don't think it will come to that, IMO the story just doesn't have the kind of culture defining appeal that Lord of the Rings or Star Wars has.

 

 

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35 minutes ago, Nick1Ø66 said:

IMO the story just doesn't have the kind of cultural defining appeal that Lord of the Rings or Star Wars does.

 

And the circumstances of its coming out and creation are different.

 

Star Wars came out in just the right timing, which is more than could be said for Dune.

 

The Lord of the Rings was essentially a serial shown to audiences over a three-year period, which is already different to the circumstances in which Dune was made: that Warners chose NOT to make both installments back-to-back (indeed, there isn't even a completed script for part two) is evidence enough that in their mind its not "the next Star Wars."

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19 hours ago, Edmilson said:

"Marvel Studios presents: Avengers 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve and music by Hans Zimmer"

 

Now I kinda want this tbh. 

 

Get Deakins on board as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I guess you have to have a character poster. But the one I'd frame and put on my wall is the desert planet one.

 

Curious how "cold" the new one looks in comparison though. Even the desert is bluish.

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2 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I guess you have to have a character poster. But the one I'd frame and put on my wall is the desert planet one.

 

Curious how "cold" the new one looks in comparison though. Even the desert is bluish.

Blue on a blue background does have a Dune connection...

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