Finally, a good Dune adaptation!

Finally, a good Dune adaptation! March 15, 2024

Image: Wikipedia

The headline is of course a touch unfair. The Sci-Fi channel version of Dune was respectable enough. But the David Lynch Dune is best left unmentioned–so bad that fans of the novel twist themselves into knots trying to find ways to like it. (The fact that it was the only game in town for almost two decades went a long ways to towards bringing people into its camp.)

And let me go ahead and insert my standard position on the novel here and get it out of the way: if you think that you are the type of person who will only ever read one work of Science Fiction, then you should read Dune by Frank Herbert. If you think you might read more than one if you like the genre, then you shouldn’t start with Dune but instead should pick up either Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein or Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Both are better introductory hits that will get you hooked on the genre. But again, Dune really is the big one.

And as science fiction classic adaptations go, Villeneuve’s two part (so far) epic is excellent and absolutely worth your $, especially on the big screen. The spectacle is a great reminder (particularly post-Covid) that there is a reason to see things in theaters, and that Marvel hasn’t really cornered the market on sci-fi epics. The filmography is exceptional and worthwhile in and of itself, and the film is both a faithful adaptation and respectful of the source material (looking at you, Rings of Power).

Just as important, Villeneuve’s film holds to most of the themes of the books. Sure, the environmental message is largely left to the wayside–it’s not nearly as ground-breaking or edgy today anyway. But the questions of power and responsibility, love and fate, and the temptations of political office are all there. These are of course all things we as Christians should be thinking carefully about, not because the Bible speaks to each of these and includes dire warnings to those of us who would abuse our responsibilities and relationships in the world. Dune is an excellent contribution to this conversation, and one you should go see in the theater.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

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