Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday Night Criticism

What I was saying about movie adaptations of beloved books. Maybe it's the "action hero" excuse (a narrative we all accept without question; that's another issue for another time).  More likely it's the matter of exposition.  "Giving water to the dead" is a key point of world-building in the book, which is on a planet that is one giant desert.  The natives wear "still suits" to recapture the moisture of their bodies (ALL the moisture, including the nose and, get the idea).  It's a key issue that Arrakis, a/k/a "Dune," is DRY!

Usul is the protagonist.  His first kill is in a duel with a native (Fremen), and he weeps at the funeral, which amazes the other Fremen.  It's a key scene in winning their hearts and minds, as he leads them to revolution and justice (which is pretty much just another form of oppression, or damned near). It also impresses Usul/Paul with how important water is on this planet.  But if this movie is divided in two (the novel is practically War and Peace in length and scope) I'm guessing that scene comes near the end (and before the revolution), or too damned early, lopping off lots of exposition needed at the beginning of the story.

This is Lord of the Rings territory, except Herbert didn't conveniently divide it into three books which could be three movies (and even then we lost Tom Bombadil altogether).  Dune could easily be three movies; but I understand the second half is planned, but not approved yet.

So I'm going to satisfy myself with Wes Anderson's new one (you love him or you hate him), and wait for "Dune" to hit my home screen.


  1. A propos of nothing, when I was in law school, Ralph Bakshi did a big budget animated Lord of the Rings—or rather, the first half of it, counting on the box office to finance the second half. Except it wasn’t very good, and the second half never got made.

    I never really liked the David Lynch Dune, but it had enough of that squishy nauseous feel to it so typical of Lynch that it was occasionally kind of compelling. This new one looks more like a now-conventional messianic space western from the ads. But I shouldn’t judge by that. The ads for The French Despatch don’t look great either. But I can’t wait to see it. Anderson kept us sane on election night as we spent the wee hours of the morning with the returns turned off watching Moonrise Kingdom with hope and wonder.

  2. I’m gonna love the new one, or hate it. But I’m willing to take the ride.

    I always get excited about new movies early on, but by the time it’s arrived if I’m not still excited, I take it as a good reason to pass. It’s not an infallible system, but I’m stuck with it.

    I go to Anderson the way I used to go to Kubrick: I always know it will at least be interesting.