Transcribed Ep 30: Dune (R.2021)

REEL Film Reviewed Podcast Episode 30

REEL Film Reviewed –  Show Transcript

Dune

Intro

Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series followed by a deep dive discussion.

Brought to you by your host Kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.

Episode

Welcome back to REEL Film Reviewed. This episode I’m looking at the film Dune that just hit theaters. 

I did not read the book. Many of the films are based on books I usually have not read. I have seen films based on books that I’ve read and sometimes it’s done well and others it isn’t. I think a lot of the time when people say the film isn’t as good as the book, it’s because what was presented to them on screen did not match their own imagination. It also can be because of poor script adaptation.I have not read Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, so I can’t say if this one does or doesn’t, but I quite enjoyed this.

Let’s get into the spoiler free review. 

This is the adaptation of the science fiction novel by Frank Herbert; Years into the future. The son of a noble family and possibly a prophet, is entrusted to protect the most valuable asset and vital element in existence. We get a look at Paul Atreides and life in the future in other worlds, on other planets in the year 10 191. We see how Paul’s family and daily life are as well as kind of how the social and government structure is, but I really like the advancement in weaponry.

There are some cool fight scenes. While the future is kind of barren, there are some advancements that are pretty cool, some futuristic aircraft and other technology, which I will talk about more after the break. 

They had a pretty solid and expensive cast, which had me curious about the budget for this film, which was roughly $165,000,000. Opening day was Friday, October 22 and so far it has grossed about $220.7 million. Looking at the cast, we have Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Stellan Skarsgård to name a few.

This film delivered a wonderful aesthetically pleasing film that I suspect will make production design top list for Academy nominations in 2022, along with costume design.

There were a few things noted by critics who had read the book and compared them to this on screen version. More on that after the break. 

This is not the first film adaptation of the story. The older films were fairly true to the original story and there were a number of previous adaptations. There was a 1984 film starring Kyle MacLachlan, directed by David Lynch, which was essentially the same story. 

There was also a miniseries in 2000 which was rather popular, starring Alec Newman and William Hurt. 

My real view for this film four and a Half Star.

This film was really a five star film in terms of its main points, and there’s only one reason why I scored it down, but I will have to go into that more after the Spoiler alert, I will say that it has to do with the storyline presentation. There were also some outer world images that were pretty outrageous and I know there were beings from other planets in this film, but some visuals were a little out there while others were freaking awesome.

There were so many pieces to admire about this story, the first being the visual components that I mentioned a moment ago, but I also have to mention the incredible sound mixing and the scoring. 

The second would be how they were able to create this future world. I’m a big fan of world building and films, especially when a lot of it is not CGI.

And the third call out, which I will mention, but this film is not limited to just these three areas, but the cast really brought out the character of the different worlds. Some parts in the Galaxy are very political and others are very spiritual, some are more modern and others are more native and remote. 

Overall. A wonderful addition to expand your mind and dive you into some new concepts and ideas. I enjoyed what they were able to accomplish on screen with this film. Dune was released in 2021 and was directed by Denis Villeneuve, starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem, among so many others. 

Dune is rated PG 13 and has a run time of 2 hours and 35 minutes. It can be viewed in theaters or on HBO Max. 

All right, here is the Spoiler Alert warning.  Those new to REEL Film Reviewed after this point, I will discuss this review further, potentially and likely revealing spoilers. 

Thank you for listening to the spoiler free review. I’ll be back after a word about my sponsors.

Spoiler Alert 

Welcome back, everyone. All right. 

Getting into Dune, I want to first make the statement that I have not seen the television series, nor have I seen the 1984 version of the film. I also haven’t read the book. My opinion is based entirely on this film and this presentation of the story. I know that there’s been a lot of activity as far as people not liking it as there usually is with releases of films, there’s usually a pretty decent variety on controversial films like this, especially world building films. 

But I think honestly with the reception of a lot of other world building films such as Avatar and the Mad Max movies, it’s not necessarily world building, but it is kind of a rebuilding of a world. I guess Star Wars would be another example. Star Trek, all of those, those are examples of world building and outer world, and I think really due to the reception of those, I’m thinking that the reason why — well, two reasons. Two reasons why people don’t care for Dune, and I think that is people that read the book and don’t like how it was adapted on screen, and the second being that people may or may not have read the book, but they didn’t care for the fact that this is going to be a two part series, and that’s as far as what I’ve heard is that there’s going to be a part one and a part two.

But from what I understand, I believe that there were three books that were mentioning this story or reviewing this story, but it was, I guess, not necessarily considered a classic, but I guess, a classic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel. So in the science fiction world, it was a pretty famous book. I can understand the not matching in the adaptation, typically, that’s the reason why people don’t care for the film is they don’t care for the adaptation. And it’s kind of unfair to judge adaptations based on; one matching the imagination that you had of the characters as the reader, you envision the characters as the author described, and it may not match what the author saw based on their description. What you see might be slightly different, so it’s more a question of taste. 

But then the other piece, too, is — a lot of people will say, well, that’s not how it happened in the book, or it was better in the book. Okay, it may have been a better story in print, but on screen, a lot of things are modified for better reception on screen and for points that are able to be made in person through movement and body language and vibe and on screen chemistry and different types of things. It’s just a different type of art.

Books inspire the stories. I understand film adaptations have their own challenge because there’s always going to be a group of book readers that say, well, the book was better than the movie. That’s your opinion. Other people who didn’t read the book may have still loved this movie, and that’s kind of always been my thought.

I have a lot of people in my life that are close to me that are readers, and one of which is forever recommending great books to me. And I have this ever growing list, and at one point I thought about why I never read them because it’s not–I mean, yes, I have a limited amount of time, but I do manage my time. Obviously, I have the time to watch and review movies and make a podcast. 

So you make time for the things that you really enjoy and at one point in my life, I really enjoyed reading. I no longer have the attention capacity to really focus on reading. I will say that audiobooks change that and that was also a suggestion by one of my close friends to me. My cousin, who recommends a lot of great things to me. So audiobooks is actually pretty good. That’s something that’s very helpful, something that I don’t necessarily have to set out time for. I could just be in the car anyway and instead of listening to music, I can listen to a good book. So I have actually started doing that. So that’s nice. 

But getting back to my point about books versus film, I don’t really think it’s books versus film. I think art inspires art and I think authoring books is a form of literary art. Visual art is what we do as filmmakers and even though we may tell the same story, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be exactly the same story. 

I don’t necessarily mind when films go the other way. I will say that as somebody who has read books, I have seen a lot of the books that I’ve read adapted into films, and sometimes it hits and sometimes it doesn’t. I absolutely hated I Am Legend, not because it was a bad movie, but because I read the book first, and I had kind of a history with that book. I had seen the cover and then like two or three years later–I didn’t end up getting it, but two or three years later I ended up finally getting it and reading it and loving it and then I think almost ten years after that it was made into the movie and by the time it was made, I was pissed. So I get it. [Laughs] 

Harry Potter, I thought was fantastic to me. I couldn’t have chosen the cast any better. I thought every single character was perfect and I had read the first book and loved it and was about halfway through–I think I read actually the first and second, and I was about halfway through the third when they started coming out with the movies and I think I gave up on the book. [Laughs] but they were because I knew the third book was the last of them being smaller and once you got to book four, they were like 800 pages. Well, I don’t think they were. I think they were like 400 to 600 pages for those, so they were fast reads, I will say that. The Harry Potter’s I do remember that I would just fly through those and it was like watching a TV show, I loved it.

So I do remember the imagination and how great it is to read books but I just feel that people are sometimes unfair when it comes to stories that were inspired by the film. And I think it’s also unfair for them to be marketed as film adaptations of books, even though I know that part of that is crediting the author that wrote the original story so that they’re not fully capitalizing. But honestly, if the story is slightly different or whatever it is, it’s fine to pay respect and credit in the film and obviously with the financials. 

But sometimes it’s not necessarily really–I knew it was a book. I knew it was a book. I knew it was an old movie. I really thought about it as an old movie, and I was like, oh yeah, and it was based on a book, but I didn’t really think of that first. So, me just being a film person, I just thought of, oh yeah, it was an old movie that they’re remaking and I wasn’t too curious about it.

I said I would see it because it appeared to be something visual that I thought that it would be pretty interesting to see and I read the storyline and I felt that as long as it wasn’t difficult to follow that it sounded pretty enjoyable. So I gave it a shot and I really enjoyed it.

I’ve watched it three times now I think? Once was the initial time. The second time was just catching up on little things and making sure that–not necessarily that I missed anything, but just kind of re–seeing how it hit me the second time. I usually like to watch a film a second time so that I can compare it to how I felt the first time. Or possibly maybe that I misunderstood something in the first one that maybe hits me better. But I didn’t feel confused after the first time I watched it. I enjoyed it.

 It was a long movie, so I anticipated with the way that the story was going, that it was going to lead into a sequel and possibly more than that. Especially with it being a remake and a miniseries and things like that. There’s got to be a lot to the story that made sense to me. I had kind of clocked it it’s 2 hours and 35 minutes, so I clocked it at about 2 hours. There’s no way that they’re going to be able to cram all of that into these last 35 minutes and if they do, I don’t know if I’m going to enjoy that. It’s going to feel like a firecracker at the end, that everything was slow paced and developing, and then we got this wide span of action at the end. So I was already paying attention to the time and the storyline, and I typically do that. So I kind of feel when you’re going to watch a movie and you go into it knowing that it’s going to be long. Not necessarily that you don’t have a right to be pissed off. But I feel that people only got angry at the end. You would have known with the way that that story was going, that it was not going to be completely over within a half hour.

When I was watching it at 2 hours, I was not–I mean, it was lengthy, yeah, but that’s the beauty of not being in the theater and watching it. I chose not to go to the theater this time to watch that I did for the last couple of premieres. I have gone to the theater, but I did want to watch this one at home just for the length. I don’t like to get up–I definitely don’t like to get up in the middle of a movie. Never my thing.

I made sure that I watched this one at home so I could stop and pause it if I needed to and get some food and stop for food and water. [Laughs] And it was pretty interesting, and it wasn’t something that I was waiting for it to be over. Maybe in the theater, I may have been getting a little bit anxious and uncomfortable, which is the reason why I chose not to watch it in theaters. I do believe that it is worth seeing in theaters. 

I would say; absolutely a better way to see it would be in theaters, but it is also a great story on screen. If you have a decent at home set up–a home theater system, you can get a decent experience, but definitely if you have the option, the theater is the way to go for this film because it is, in my opinion, going to be nominated for several Academy Awards. 

One of which I’m very certain will be I don’t necessarily think–costume design, possibly because Star Wars–I believe one of the Star Wars films was nominated for costumes, so it could be. Because it’s kind of you know outer world bummish, except for the little suits and stuff that they wear. So there’s not really too much in terms of costume. But I mean there is a lot of coolness to it, too, but the production design and the visual effects I think, are going to be what gets the film nominated more than anything. 

Potentially best picture, potentially best picture. It just kind of depends on the Academy and how they’re feeling. 

The performances I definitely feel will be nominating material, and those that I felt would be nominated would definitely be Oscar Isaac. Probably it, as far as appearances in the film, maybe Rebecca Ferguson, who played Lady Jessica. 

Timothée Chalame, he is coming up in a couple of decent films. I’m really excited to see his take on Wonka, but in this film, he was pretty much Keanu Reeves. He was very expressionless, there wasn’t really too much of a demonstration of his acting ability or skill, really in this film. There wasn’t a whole lot of challenge, not to say that anybody could have played that role, but his mannerisms, while subtle did say a lot. So he was good at it, but I just felt that the way that this film was laid out, it didn’t give him much of an opportunity to do very much with the role. Yet, Dune 2, I think, is going to be a lot better. 

Particularly because of how he responds at the end where his mother wants him to go off world and basically get back to safety. But he’s saying no, he’s going to go with the desert people and fulfill what he needs to do. And he’s dreamt about this and he knew that this was something–I knew that he wasn’t going to go with his mother and I was kind of curious as to why she wanted him off world anyway. I know, to keep him safe, but if he’s dreaming and she thinks he’s this profit, it didn’t make sense to me that they would leave off world. So I figured that he would do that. And the statement that he made just before he took off and turned to go with the desert people or the Fremen, as they say, are in search of the Fremen. 

His mother, I don’t necessarily know, I mean, we’ll see if she goes. We don’t necessarily know what her take is on all that because the movie ends. But I feel that the character development, the build up, it was the right combination of different.

Stellan Skarsgård plays, and I love Stellan Skarsgård is one of my favorites, him and his brothers. I really enjoy him and when he stood up in the film, obviously he’s like massively tall. I must have rewound that three or four times just to get an idea of the visual and what was going on with him standing up and being like 15ft tall. So that was something that I enjoyed was–there was the right combination of different and outer world and the right combination of blandness to give the backdrop the Outerworld image, the poverty stricken outer world.

Obviously, the resource that they cover most is spice, but the other resource being water, two things that are extremely important that are extremely rare technically in the galaxy. Because there’s one planet that has the spice production, and it’s what controls everything. It’s this vital resource that they need to protect. But at the same time, you’ve got people that are killing people for the water in their bodies and their suits. There’s this struggle between poverty, you’ve also got the rich family Atreides, who is Paul and his mother and father.

I really enjoyed Oscar Isaac in this role, and he’s really impressed me with a lot of the roles that he’s done since Star Wars. At first, I didn’t really care that much about him, but I have enjoyed him in the roles that he’s done since those films. I guess I’ll say that and him playing Leto and this was really good and I know–I always forget his first name, (William) Hurt that played him in the 2000 version.

I haven’t seen the 1984 version. I don’t actually plan on seeing it because I can imagine–this film was very good and it was very aesthetically pleasing, It was very well put together. I thought that the casting was great, the timing was great, the story was great. The character development, the music, especially was really good. The sound mixing was awesome. It was overall a really well done film as far as a cinematic moviegoer experience.

It may not have been what everybody was anticipating, but if you hadn’t read the book and didn’t have any expectations going into it, I thought it was pretty good. It did not disappoint me that it was going to be broken up into two films. I did see somebody say that they never understood why–but that can hurt the value that can hurt viewers to going and seeing the first one if they know it’s going to be broken up into a second one because they’re like; Well, I’ll see the first one when I can see the second one because we’re so spoiled now with things like Netflix that drop seasons of new things all at once and we just want to binge and watch everything all at once, and we have no respect for anticipation and build up and development of a good story.

That makes sense to me from a marketing standpoint, I wouldn’t tell anybody that this is the first of two or three or anything like that. I mean, you find that information out online when you want to. Typically, the films have that information. If you go on, you can see what the movie actors have signed on to do. So you can a lot of the time see that, especially if you have IMDb pro.

But anyway, overall, there wasn’t really too much that I could call out visually that well, not visually, but story, but overall there wasn’t too much with the film. There were a couple of disappointing things, such as I think it’s Liet — That’s how you say it. With her dying at the end, I did like how she went out, and I don’t necessarily care too much when characters go. I felt it was a little soon for her to go.  I don’t know if that was in the original story or not, but it was a little bit soon. I felt for her to exit as well as obviously the ending, how it just kind of ends. 

When a film presents and it’s not a whole story and it’s very open ended, clearly, we know there’s going to be a part two. I can’t judge a whole story. I’m just part of it. I usually when there’s going to be three and this is a new release. But if I know there’s going to be more than one, I will sometimes hold off until that second film, but it kind of just depends. 

Movies that have passed already. I have no problem reviewing those as a whole. I like to break down films individually, such as the Scream trilogy, don’t worry, that’s coming. I will get that out before the end of October. 

So I promised Scream and I will do that and I will include 4. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do that now or if I was going to do that before the release of number 5 that is coming out. I don’t know if I’m going to do that, and then I might just do one for this month. I haven’t decided yet, I might do a poll. So you guys let me know what you think. If you want to poll on that. If you want me to do the Scream movies this month or if I should wait for January when Scream 5 comes out.

But anyway, getting back to Dune. And overall what my opinion was on that, because it was only one part of the story I couldn’t really REELview it [Laugh] with a full 5 stars because there were pieces missing. However, overall, as I mentioned in my spoiler free review, I did feel that it was a very well done film and it was about 5 stars in my mind and how I felt about it. 

But in terms of technicalities and what my official review of it was because I will say there was a little bit of disappointment as an audience member. I wasn’t necessarily angry at the filmmakers, but there was obviously a little bit of disappointment because it was a great story and I would have liked to have seen the ending in this one but I can completely understand that I also did not want to sit through a four and a half hour movie. That makes a lot of sense.

I still have not watched Zack Snyder’s four hour cut of Justice League. I don’t know that I will, but I’ve heard great things and people say it’s dark and I know that it is and I watched part of it, but it’s just lengthy man nobody has time to just sit there for 4 hours. 

But then I can sit there and kill 8 hours on the TV series. Who knows? Maybe I’ll give it a whirl one of these days. But that is my REEL view. 

Before I go, I did want to announce that we now have subscriptions available for REEL Film Reviewed. So don’t be alarmed if you get a little pop up when you are listening on your devices and you want to get to the next episode.

If the next episode happens to be paid content, you will not have access to that. But there is contact information on my website and my Linktree

If you go where it says REEL Film Reviewed extra content, that will be where you can sign up for a membership and each of the memberships come with a really awesome fan pack, plus individual benefits. 

So be sure to check those out. 

Thanks for listening everyone, catch you next time. 

Outtro

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Transcription service by Podcasting Network

Happy watching everyone.

Published by Kris C.

Kris is the host of the REEL Film Reviewed podcast, the owner of REEL ProduCtions, LLC, (the capital C is intentional) and is an independent filmmaker.

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