‘Dreams make good stories, but the only thing that matters is what happens in the real world’ says Duncan. Well, not actually since dreams often foretell the real world, or even guide the actions of those in the real world. There have been attempts before to adopt and adapt the complex sci fi novel of Frank Herbert before, for instance in 1984, which had a young Sting in it, and frankly was not all that great. Hard to believe the novel came out in 1965, originally as 2 separate serials in Analog magazine. Remember magazines?
Full marks to Director Villeneuve for picking a particular story line from that material and pursuing it– for over two and a half hours! This makes the story much less of a head scratcher. Here’s the blurb summary about the movie— “Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.”
The movie is filmed mostly in the beautiful desert at Wadi Rum in Jordan. But there was also filming in Norway and elsewhere. The acting was pretty good. Timothy Chalamet was alright as Paul Atreides, and Zendaya only had a minor speaking part. Much better and more convincing were Rebecca Ferguson as Paul’s mother Jessica, and Jason Momoa as Duncan. Oscar Isaac was also good as Paul’s father the Duke. There are a variety of epic scenes in this film that make it reminiscent of some of the ancient classics— like Lawrence of Arabia for instance, also set in the desert. Much of what you see is CG when it comes to buildings, battle scenes and of course our old friend— Mr. Sand Worm.
One should not go to this movie expecting any comic relief, like one has in Star Wars, as there is none. It is a serious drama from start finish—- and it isn’t finished. Another part is coming down the road. So don’t expect plot resolutions in this film. My main complaint about this film is that it moves too slowly, even slower than the first appearance of the Worm. The film does have some good dialogue and one liners like my subtitle above, and the quip about stories.
The plot involves rival houses— house Harkan and Atreides, living on separate planets and in the house theme has some echoes of Game of Thrones. But why would anyone go to Arakas you ask and mess with the indigenous desert people and rip off their resources? For the spices which apparently can be used for everything from medicine to jet fuel! There is a religious side to this story, with priests, witches and the like as well, which also resembles some aspects of Game of Thrones. This movie is so big in scope that it is totally immersive and sucks you in. Honestly, while I was glad to see, I enjoyed the 2.5 hour Bond movie better. But all you sci fi folks need to see this one.