Posted in: Dune, Movies, Reviews, Role Playing Games, Science Fiction

Spoiler free thoughts on Dune

The latest Dune movie adaptation finally came out. As I had mentioned in my James Bond: No Time To Die review, I was planning to see Dune in the theaters. Today my wife and I had some free time to go catch a matinee showing. Not only did I love the movie, but it made me think back to the long relationship I’ve had with this franchise. As I’m writing this blog entry, I can turn my head to the left and see the 1984 Dune movie poster displayed in my office.

Dune is another of the many science fiction and fantasy interests that I inherited from my Father. I remember him being excited for the 1984 David Lynch Dune movie. The advertising was everywhere including a poster on the door at my neighborhood 7-11 store. When the different versions of this movie (with different intros giving more background than the theatrical release) were aired on television, we had to record them on our VCR. On one trip to see family out-of-state, my parents picked me up and we listened to one of the books on CD (it was one of the House books). I remember trying to read one of the later Dune books in high school (I didn’t get very far). But I was able to read not only the first book, but several of the books by Bryan Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. The remaining books are on my reading list to complete.

I don’t recall much from the two mini-series released by the Sci-Fi Channel (now the SyFy Channel). While I’ve watched the 1984 movie again on several occasions, I’ve never sought out the mini-series. I’ll have to make an effort to re-watch these so I can recall them for times such as this one.

Being very familiar with the source material helped me watch this latest movie. No, if you are going in cold you won’t be lost. There is a very rich universe that was created for the book and it may be a lot to take in at once. I wouldn’t be surprised if several showings are needed to take in the rich detail. But being familiar with Dune, I noticed little details that made me appreciate the efforts that went into the making of this film. Seeing these smaller items made me appreciate the film even more.

In the 1984 movie, the music was performed and assembled by the band Toto. Finding the rare CD of the music was one of my goals for the longest time. When I finally found a copy that wasn’t overpriced, I snatched it up and listened to the heck out of it. The soundtrack that was played when the Harkonnens were attacking is still one of the best movie music moments that I’ll never forget. For this new movie the very talented Hans Zimmer put together the musical tracks for this movie and he didn’t disappoint.

There are a few familiar actors in this movie and several that I’ve never had the pleasure to watch before (that I know of). Jason Momoa was an excellent Duncan Idaho. Our Duke Leto was played by Oscar Isaac, better known for his role of Poe Dameron in the last round of Star Wars movies. I didn’t recognize him right away as he had a very full beard. I hope we see more of Dave Bautista as the Beast Rabban in the second Dune movie. While he had some good lines in the first movie, his character has a big part in the story. Josh Brolin also delivered as well. Of the cast I was not familiar with, our young Paul Atreides is played by Timothée Chalamet. He actually did quite well in the roll. I felt that this character was green at the start of the movie and was developing by the end. Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica was another high point in the movie. I think that the producers put together an excellent cast for this movie.

The special effects were also really good. The Guild Highliners were very well designed on a grand scale. The ornothopters also had a very good effect that even my wife commented on it. I felt like we were really on a hostile desert world. The sandstorm did give me one moment that I wanted to heckle. I wanted to say out loud (but stopped myself) that I could see Mad Max and Furiosa could be seen driving the rig into the sandstorm. Not to say that this was a bad moment, it just gave me a flashback to the Mad Mad: Fury Road scene. I also really liked how they did the special effects for the personal combat shields. You could tell that there was

We did get to see the Sardaukar Troops and I felt that this interpretation was much better than what we saw in the 1984 movie. The books really described them as a nasty bunch of soldiers and I felt that we got that in this movie. The Fremen that we get to see in this movie also give you an excellent feel of native members of Arrakis. They were brutal and aware of what was happening. We actually got to see the rhythmic walking on the sand.

I had typed in a few additional thoughts on the movie that I then had to remove in order to keep this review spoiler free. They were minor concerns that I hope are resolved in the second movie, Dune Part Two, that was just announced.

And the last note I wanted to make was about Dune: Adventures in the Imperium Role Playing Game that was just released a few months ago by Modiphius. Thanks to a birthday gift card to Amazon I was able to pick up the hardback core rule book. The 2d20 system was similar to what I saw in Star Trek Adventures, but it was better laid out. There are some differences between the two books but after talking with players of the other 2d20 systems from Modiphius, I understand that this is common. I was pretty impressed with how they set this RPG up. There was details about political intrigue and duels.

The next movie that I’m interested in seeing in the theaters is the new Matrix sequel. I don’t think that is one I’d want to watch on my home television. With the matinee viewing the theaters haven’t been too crowded and it has made for an enjoyable experience.