Dune: Part 1 (2021 Movie)

Oh man. What a movie! When this was being produced and talked about, I had my reservations. The gender change for Dr Kynes smacked of pure woke bullshit. The “Part I” let us all know it wasn’t a complete movie and that was worrisome as well. As an avid fan of the Novel by Frank Herbert (having reviewed it 3 times since 2011), I do consider myself a bit of a snob when it comes to Dune.

Thankfully, I follow a couple of people who reviewed Dune Part 1 when it hit the cinemas back in October. Those reviews relieved all my fears and actually got me excited to watch it. I pre-ordered the blu-ray as soon as it was possible and it was released January 11. Because I’m a member of prime, I got it that day. Since then, I’ve watched it 3 times plus all the “extras”.

Let’s deal with the “problems”. Kynes being changed to a woman didn’t matter because they completely neutered the character’s impact on the story. In the novel Liet Kynes is not only the Royal Ecologist for the Emperor, but is also the de facto leader of the fremen, leading their secret ecological fight to transform Dune into a watery paradise. In the movie, Kynes helps Paul and Jessica escape and then is killed by Sardakar almost by accident. It was laughable, in a pathetic way. I “almost” felt bad for the woman playing Kynes but not that much and she was just such a non-entity that the change didn’t bother me like I thought it would. The other issue of this being Part One has already been resolved as this was such a success that Part Two is a green lit.

This follows the first half of the book and ends where Paul and Jessica head out into fremen society. As such, this was a real setup movie with lots of introductions to the universe. I thought they did a good job and kept it interesting with the whole Harkonnen / Atreides feud. I also liked just about every casting choice except for Lady Jessica. As minor as it may seem, her hair wasn’t red enough for me. I know my mental picture has been influenced, greatly, by the SyFy (that’s syphilis to the uninitiated) Channel’s miniseries in the early 2000’s. That is a very minor complaint though, so I’m not sure I can even really call it a complaint.

Saskia Reeves was a wonderful Lady Jessica from the tv mini-series

One thing I did miss was the dinner scene soon after the Atreides take control of Dune. It is very memorable and informs the reader/viewer about a lot of the political scenes going on. I didn’t miss it on the first watch but on the second and third I realized it was missing and did feel it rather keenly.

The musical score was absolutely top notch. I felt like Hans Zimmer watched the finished movie and then wrote this weird, throat singing, chanting, atonal sound track that fit the barbarity of the desert of Dune and political fighting and betrayals that occur. I thought the music fit the movie perfectly. However, as a musical score on its own, it’s an abysmal failure. I listened to it on youtube and it was shudderingly jarring and I gave up before I got to the halfway mark. I will NOT be buying the cd of this sound track. Here’s the youtube embed so you can listen for yourself.

Since I got the bluray I also watched the extras. What few there were. While there were many in number, a lot of them simply repeated the same things or the same scenes over in a different way. There was no commentary track (something I tend to like) nor were there very many of the technical “making of” parts. There were a few bits and bobs of that stuff, but not anything close what I have come to expect from extras. There were no interviews with the cast, another thing I tend to enjoy.

Looking at this, it comes across as a check list of issues I had with the movie. The problem with that is that I really did enjoy the movie but it can be harder to write about what I enjoyed than what I didn’t. For instance, I thought Timothy Chalot was a great Paul. He was small and wiry and looked like a young adult and not just a small old person. The Bene Gesserit “Voice” was done wonderfully too. I liked how the ornithopters were portrayed. I’ve always imagined them as mechanical sparrows but the change to make them more like dragonflies than birds worked aesthetically. The little bit we see of the sandworms and how the sand acts around them fit perfectly too. There were enough “little” touches that I wouldn’t mind getting a directors cut some day 😀

My issues in watching this (and hence why I’ve watched it 3 times so far) is because it is VERY easy to mix up what I’m watching with the previous Dune screen incarnations. The 1984 David Lynch version was such an odd duck that you almost have to like it just for its weirdness but trying to keep track of what was from that movie and what was from the book gets intermingled in my mind. Then throw in the aforementioned SyFy mini-series and it’s sequel series, Children of Dune and suddenly, well, there is a TON of information to keep track of. What was original to this movie, or what came from the 1984 film or the Mini-series OR the book itself? I think it is a testament to Frank Herbert that Dune has inspired so many incarnations and that us fans continue to lap them up and give them a chance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and am very glad I bought the bluray. It is making me look forward to the sequel that much more. If you are tired of Super Hero movies but still need that bigger than this world feeling, Dune Part 1 might just fit the bill. If you liked the book, I think you’ll like this too. It IS an adaptation but one that I am quite glad has been realized. A solid thumbs up.

I realize this is a bit longer than my usual posts, so thanks for sticking it out to the end. Cheers!

62 thoughts on “Dune: Part 1 (2021 Movie)

    1. Those bagpipes were weird. I don’t know if they electronicized them or what, but they had their own twist, that’s for sure.

      I am really looking forward to the second part. Who knows, if it’s popular enough, maybe we’ll get the whole Dune Chronicles….

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I really enjoyed this iteration of Dune. I was pleasantly surprised. I have mixed feelings about Lynch because I think he goes out of his way to be weird and quirky, so I didn’t like the 80’s version perhaps as well as others. Anyway, I was not disappointed with this latest film, and that’s saying a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Lynch film was definitely out there. I couldn’t recommend it to a casual fan of Dune or to someone who had never read the books. But as an “adaptation”, I was fully on board with it. But it was NOT the story that Herbert told with his novel.

      THIS film felt much more like the novel. I felt like it had the epic feel that Dune has come to have, like a cloak draped across the shoulders of an emperor.
      Did you see it in cinema or at home?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did at the time. Today it seems a little outdated to me, but it’s classic space opera in a grand manner. I thought it would be hard to film, and the Lynch movie was a bit of a miss. It had some nice stuff, but the sand worms are hard to get right, and something about people walking around with nose plugs just seems silly. It makes me think of Battlefield Earth.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Battlefield Earth. Now THERE’S an abomination of a book to movie translation.
          I had hopes the movie was going to be good, as what’s his name is a cultist, but I guess a movie stars ego is bigger than doing justice to their grand leaders seminal SF work. I mean, it wasn’t even the same story!

          Now back to Dune. What is it, can you say, why the noseplugs bothered you? To me it seems completely logical if the most important thing is preventing moisture loss.

          Like

  2. I feel like I want to like Lynch, but he just annoys me. 😂 Oh, well. I saw this latest film in the theater. We went on opening night. The funny thing is we took my son and his friend, and they were soooo bored. But they haven’t read the book and were confused about what was going on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, if you’re annoyed by Lynch, then nothing else matters. Enjoying films are like enjoying books. No one size fits all 🙂

      That is interesting about your son and friend. I wondered how a Dune virgin would view this movie and I guess that answers that question.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t seen a timeline for Part 2, but I hope we don’t have to wait too long.
      The new paradigm of filming movies back to back has really spoiled me in terms of release schedules.

      Like

    1. Yeah, I am rather surprised at how much I did like it. Hollywood in recent years has shown me that they can’t be trusted with good ideas, so I’ve become very skeptical about movies in general. So color me pleasantly surprised.

      I agree, Torres had that “class” that would have translated very well to a bene gesserit. I don’t know if she could have pulled the red hair thing though.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I have not checked out BL2049, mainly because I didn’t like the original story by Dick nor did I like the movie with Ford. With that kind of dead weight it is hard to want to watch a sequel. If it was ever free on prime I’d probably give it a go though, just to pass the time.

          I take it you have seen it?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Nope. Going off semi-trusted review sources and my own inclinations (y’know: it’s current-year Hollywood making it) it didn’t sound great.
            More, I happen to like the original version, and I don’t happen to like reports of the “TWIIIIIST” involved. /eyeroll/ So….

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not a total Dunehead like you, but I did read the books back in the way back, and I’m glad you feel the movie does them justice. Babylon Bee satirized the movie as “90 minutes of large spaceships taking off and landing reeeeallly slowly,” which had me worried. As with Lord of the Rings, this seems to be the kind of series where fans adore it and everyone else finds it baffling and boring.

    I am listening to the sound track as I type this, and it’s exactly the kind of thing I love.

    “I realize this has been a bit longer …” Hey, sometimes you have something to say. Just one question: was this scheduled far out beforehand, or is it written in the context of you and Mrs. B. feeling better?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I don’t know how non-fans of the book would view this movie. At some point Mrs B is going to watch it with me and she’s vaguely familiar with Dune so I’m hoping to get her reaction for that segment of the population 🙂

      You really like it? Good for you. You can listen to it for me then!

      That is a good question. Normally I schedule things out well in advance but this was written the night before (so Friday night) as I had nothing planned for that Saturday and I had been watching it so much in the preceeding 2 weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very glad you liked it! So aside from the hair, didn´t you thnk Jessica was portayed as too weak too, or didn´t that bug you?

    As for the generic disease mini-series (great joke, I lol-ed), would you recommend that? I tried half an episode long ago, but could get past the crappy acting. Maybe I should reconsider?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On my first watch I was surprised at how emotional Jessica was. It was one of those departures from the book that I found acceptable. I think the director chose to portray more of the Mother than the Bene Gesserit.
      Once I decided that, I had zero problems with her portrayal on the re-watches. Even in the book, the fact that she chose what her duke wanted (a boy) over what the sisterhood wanted is a pretty good indicator that she allowed her emotions to rule her, albeit more tightly and with not as much crying as shown in the movie.

      I really liked the mini-series. Part of that is because I saw it when it came out and I was in my early 20’s so it hit hard. It was pretty faithful to the story. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched it so I don’t know if I can comment on the acting. I do know the scenery was “budget” but that kind of thing usually doesn’t bother me. I’d recommend at least trying it as a whole. If you hate it, then you know not to bother with the sequel 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point about she disobeying the Sisterhood with Paul. Looking forward to a rewatch too, could indeed be a matter of mindset.

        As for the series: if I ever come across it, I’ll give it another go, but I’m not going to hunt it down.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I will say, which I didn’t in my review, that I went into this movie absolutely determined to like it. I just love Dune and this was another form of it. Whatever the differences, I wanted to like this already. That definitely plays a huge part.
          An opposite example is the Wheel of Time. I enjoyed the series but after hearing the changes that have been made to the tv show, I won’t be watching it. I’m not a big enough fan to want anything but a straight up book adaptation.

          Good call.

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          1. That´s interesting. I went in with a neutral mindset, and I still liked it a lot. I guess that speaks for the movie. Part 2 should be awesome, can´t wait.

            As for the Wheel: I think I´ll watch the series, and skipp the books 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

                1. I agree completely. Which is why I think I am drifting away to other genres, slowly but surely. Or at least spreading the genre love around a lot more than I did in the past.

                  Like

  5. Watching – and rewatching, since the DVD came out – this movie I can only reaffirm my conviction that finally someone translated the book into a movie worthy of the original material. I believe the difference here, compared with previous iterations (and especially the Lynch movie) comes from the fact that Villeneuve is a fan of the Dune saga, and therefore knows it intimately and not only through someone else’s movie script, which can, for example, lead one to create a final scene where torrential rain pours down, totally ignoring the fact that it would mean the end of the worms and the spice. Ok, the snark ends here 😉 One of the things I most appreciated is the subdued quality (for want of a better word) of the “bad guys” portrayal, in particular of Baron Harkonnen, who here becomes a truly menacing presence despite the limited screen time. And I’m in love with the soundtrack (but I’m a huge Zimmer fan, so I might be biased): listening to it without having previously seen the movie might not work as well as when you are able to juxtapose the score with the images.
    I’m more than looking forward to part 2. And maybe other movies that carry on with the saga? pretty please? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How did you like the mini-series?
      I just consider Lynch’s version a drugged out whackadoodle loose “adaptation” so all that stuff doesn’t bother me. That way lies madness! 😀

      Yeah, I thought the Baron was menace-filled without being ridiculous. I’m afraid that the Lynch portrayal has ruined multiple generations. In the book he’s menacing too, so Villeneuve’s take is pretty faithful imo.

      I was hoping that I could enjoy the soundtrack but I just can’t. It’s too out there for me.

      I am desperately hoping that Part 2 is so wildly successful that they do at least up through God-Emperor. That would be just fantastic. But the more realistic part of me isn’t planning on that. I’m planning on enjoying Part 2 and calling it a day 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The SyFy miniseries was closer to the original material, story-wise, but the quality of the overall acting (particularly the guy playing Paul) was far from stellar and the sets and costumes showed the low budget quite clearly. But SyFy has a long, sad history of going for the low standards and not caring for quality… (and here I was trying to keep the snark down! SIGH 😛 )
        Getting Part 2 – in consideration of the lack of faith shown for this production – will indeed be wonderful: everything else we might see afterwards will be a bonus…

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Weirdly, the movie manages to undercut two of its most important female characters: Jessica and now Kynes.

    It is pretty, and well made, but lacking in vitality, and I have a hard time getting over the fact that it is only half a movie. I still prefer the Lynch effort, I think (I DO like it for its weirdness).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t feel Jessica was undercut, just used differently from how Herbert used her in the first half. In many ways, this movie version felt more true to her as a sayyadina as herbert wrote her in the second half.

      I’d have a problem with the Part 1 too if we didn’t know we were getting part 2. But since we know that, it just feels nit-picky to me to allow that to be a problem. I don’t know, maybe I used up all “I care” on the Wheel of Time, but this movie was pretty faithful as far as I’m concerned.

      I’m not sure what you mean by vitality though. Could you point out some instances of what you mean so I can know what you mean?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks. So it’s just one of those things. Can’t argue with that 😀

          As for that link, I stopped reading when he admitted he only “mostly” liked the book. His credibility with me went down to that of a cow patty.

          If Dune Part I isn’t to your taste, I have no problem with that. But it feels like you are trying to claim it is somehow a bad movie or inferior “to something”. I might be reading too much into what your saying, so I’ll ask, are saying the movie is bad, or that you just don’t like it?
          (it’s really hard to be objective when I like something so much so I want to make sure I’m not mistaking anything on your part)

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have some bad news about my own view of the book…

            I don’t think it is a bad movie, I just don’t like it as much as the Lynch movie, which I like to quite a bit. (I’ve also only seen it once and obviously haven’t seen part 2, so my view might change.)

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ahhh, see, if I had known how you feel about the book then that would have given me a more accurate picture of what you feel about the movie. If you’re not a huge fan of the book and series, I couldn’t expect you to love the movie so much.

              It would explain why you like the Lynch movie better, as it’s a different story.

              Thanks for explaining. Now I know (to ignore all things Dune related that you say from now on, hahahahaha!) 😀

              Liked by 1 person

  7. Awesome! Glad to see you enjoyed it. It’s on my queue so I hope to watch it within the next month or so. I’m always leery of remakes, but there seem to be many people who feel this one was worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I watched the movie before I had read the books and am currently reading the series when am done will be posting up my comparison blog, I will also watch be watching the earlier redintions of the movies….
    But for now would say the adaptation does not disappoint I would definitely be waiting for the next part

    ~B

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since you had not read the book, how did you like the movie on it’s own?
      I am definitely looking forward to any post you have on it. I am a big Dune fan and like all discussions about it 😀

      Like

  9. I think once Villeneuve finished the screenplay and realized that Kynes wasn’t going to do much, he decided to cast a woman to do two things. First play the “woke” crowd to get them to pay to see the movie, the second to upset the anti-woke crowd only to put egg on their face when he just kills her off without doing anything. Villeneuve tricked both sides and got away with it.

    This film is amazing. Loved Oscar Isaac’s Leto, to me the best performance of the film, followed by Rebecca Ferguson’s Lady Jessica. I think in Part Two Timothee Chalamet is really going to shine, but while he did a great job in this film Isaac and Ferguson were better IMHO. The Hans Zimmer score…amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I laughed at your first paragraph because if that WAS his plan, it certainly worked perfectly 😀

      That one battle scene dream sequence gives me real hope for Chalamet in Part 2. I hope he kicks butt!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m overly happy that this worked so wonderfully for you! In all honesty, I had doubts that you’d have found it disappointing considering how loyal it was to the book too! I honestly can’t wait to see how things will be handled in Part 2.

    So rare to see such a long and mostly positive post. When it does happen, you know you were quite pleased by what you read/saw! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once I started writing it just flowed. It made me realize that I enjoyed it more than just as pure entertainment. Asterix is pure entertainment and fun, but I can struggle to write about it. With this movie, it just hit me in all the right places and even the changes didn’t bother me. It was so nice to actually ENJOY a movie that hadn’t been destroyed/messed with by some douchebag (looking at you Matrix 4!) director with their head up their ass.
      I can’t say that about many movies anymore 😦

      But part 2, oh I am looking forward to it so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I never seen the Lynch’s version or the mini series. I only read the book and seen this movie. The movie capture the tone of the book quit well. I can’t wait for part two.

    Maybe part one and two will be release on DVD as a expended edition. Kind of like what they did with LOTRs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you would like to see a completely alternate “take” on Dune, and you like really weird movies (not scary, just plain old fashioned weird) then I’d highly recommend the Lynch version.
      The mini-series is much more faithful, but lower budget and it shows. It was still the best as far as I was concerned, until this movie came out anyway 😀

      I really hope a directors cut/extended edition comes out. I’d buy that in a heartbeat 😀

      Like

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