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Dune Review: An Old Story Reshaped For The New 2021 Audience

Villeneuve’s rendition of Dune did it justice. The new 2021 dune movie is an excellent rebirth to the old story published in the 50’s.

Villeneuve recognized the epicness of Dune and reshaped it for our time. As a teenager, I have read all Dune books – there are many of them. A trilogy happened 10,000 years before the original story, there were six direct sequels to Dune itself, and there were also sequels to that saga of books. The world of Dune is vast and epic.

This movie is one of the best iterations ever made for Dune. It recognizes the vastness and respects the drama. It has incredibly great music, even if a bit overbearing at times. The characters were less strict than their book counterparts. This movie shows more than it tells and caters to new fans of the franchise. And that’s what we need in 2021. Let’s discuss more in-depth below.

Dune Epic Fully Realized

This rendition of Dune recognizes the vastness of the universe, the drama that should have always been there, the disguise which Dune wears upon itself – masking itself as a science fiction story. Truly Dune is a story about people fighting for independence in a universe that sees their world as a simple resource—expecting to abuse it without question.

That epicness is why I always had a big problem with David Lynch’s rendition of this story. It didn’t feel as though that story recognized the vastness of the universe. It is easy to leave Arrakis and find a whole new story somewhere else, even though Arrakis is the center of the universe.

This movie made sure we knew – right from the beginning – that Dune is a vast universe. And it didn’t have Imperial Princess Irulan to tell us the introduction. Instead, it set up the story from the Fremen’s point of view. It is a genius perspective to use as we are about to be in Paul’s shadow as he discovers them. 

Dune’s Music is Epic

I have profoundly enjoyed the music of this movie. It was epic and extremely overbearing when it needed to be. I read some people’s reviews and discovered that I shared my experience with many fans, but not all. Some people thought the music was too much, and I get that. 

Music, like food, is a matter of taste. What I find enjoyable, you might find disturbing, and vice versa.

The music was spot on to my taste, accompanying the scenes and making sure we felt that we watched something glorious in motion. And if you read the books, all of them, you know that it is a big deal. Paul’s early days are revered in this world in the same way people revere holy religious texts in our world.

Dune’s Characters Remade for 2021

One of Paul’s actual lines in the Dune book was, “I should be feeling something. Why am I not feeling anything?” This line is something that the 2021 audience can’t relate to like the original audience for this book could. 

In 2021, we’re all about emotion, feeling deeply, and following that emotion. Following our feelings lets us work towards our dreams instead of staying at the same job for 30 years as our parents and their parents before them.

Even Thufir Hawat (a human-computer) was more like a friend than an employee.

Liet Kynes was a male in the original books. This movie chose to put a woman as Judge of Change (and much more if you read the books). A decision that excited me by its freshness.

Lady Jessica is a powerful woman in the original book, yet her interactions with Paul diminish her as he thinks of her as slow of thought. Something we don’t like to see in 2021 – and for a good reason.

Every book is a product of its time, and every great storyteller knows how to adapt an old story to a new audience. I believe Villeneuve received a lot of hate from diehard Dune fans for making these changes, but I fully support him.

2021’s Dune Shows More Than it Tells

As a teenager, I couldn’t read the original Dune without going back and re-reading some pieces of the story where I zoned out. It has a lot of information dumped on you in the first half of the book.

For example, the tent scene between Paul and Jessica is much longer in the book than in the movie. But in the film, we have already been given all the info we need in other scenes.

Elements included in this scene in the books include: Paul telling his mother he knows she’s pregnant. Or Paul reprimanding her about the future and how she has made decisions for him. How he’s here before “they” (meaning Bene Gesserit) planned. He’s telling her he “knows” Leto is dead and such. And also even bit about the future and the Fremen.

This scene was a lot to take in when reading the book. And it wasn’t too much at the time. Books like Lord of The Rings were on the rise. The audience wanted lore dumps. Our attention span is much shorter in 2021. That’s why giving us information in the form of showing instead of telling is especially powerful in this era.

Conclusion

Dune was and remained one of my top favorite books of all time. Villeneuve’s movie did it justice by giving it the glory it deserves.

The movie realized Dune’s Epicness, Gave it astounding music, remade the characters for the 2021 audience, and showed more than told.

I, for one, have enjoyed this movie a lot, and my single regret is watching it on HBO Max instead of going out to experience it in the movie theater.

There will be haters like there always are for any new movie. Yet, Dune’s fans who want to keep it alive and introduce it to new audiences will agree that this movie is a fantastic way to do so.

If you have a chance to watch it, please do so! If you already, what did you think about it? Let’s discuss it in the comments.

Books, Dune 2021, Dune Movie, Dune Movie Review, Film Review, Jason Momoa, Return to Arrakis, Timothee chalamet

  1. Skeezix says:

    Two words: It stunk. It was much too long and too slow. Too much dark, depressing sepia and gray with almost no other colors. Ridiculously impractical costumes. Too much focus on cinematography/CGI and not enough on the story. The music was mostly just noise. Sorry, but the original was better. If this is the sort of thing millennials like, they are welcome to it.

    1. Oren Cohen says:

      I think our tolerance for Films is very similar to our tolerance for video games. For example, once I’ve played a game like The Witcher 3, I can’t go back and play The Witcher 1. I feel like the movie, as a whole, transferred over the idea of Dune to young audiences pretty well. If they want to dive deeper, they could always read the books. I personally read all Dune books that came out by Frank Herbert and his son. Do I feel like the movie misses some things compared to the book? Absolutely! But still, those are things I would have removed anyway. I don’t need an inner monologue in Paul’s mind about how his mother is too slow of thought and about the possible futures he witnesses in his mind.

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