Dune – a remake that surpasses the original movie

“Dune” is a very good, complex movie about Frank Herbert’s complex novel. Yet, unlike the OK first movie, the remake did not take it on as one movie. So, there will be a sequel forthcoming.

Dune is a science fiction story around the politics and power of controlling production of a spice that aids in the navigation through the universe. The spice is found on the desert planet of Arrakis, where only the resilient can survive, primarily a vast tribe of people called the Fremen who value water and survival of the fittest.

The patriarch (the Duke Leto) of the Atreides family has been asked to oversee production on Arrakis by the emperor, but he is being set-up for failure. The story is more around his son Paul and his mother, the Lady Jessica who both have a capability that makes them each a powerful force. Paul is played by Timothee Challamet, Lady Jessica by Rebecca Ferguson, and the Duke by Oscar Isaac. Zendaya plays Chani who Paul dreams of and finally meets on the planet. 

Dune has a great ensemble cast to support the primary characters. Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard, Jason Mamoa, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Babs Olusanmokun, et al, all add value to their roles. Skarsgard is quite good as major antagonist Baron Harkonnen, who used to oversee the spice production. Bardem and Zendaya will feature more in the sequel as Paul and the Lady Jessica have shown their worth to the Fremen toward the end of the movie.

The screenplay was written by the director Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth. They deserve a lot of credit for boiling the plot down from the book. While the movie includes violence, the underlying story of intrigue comes out. Plus, there is an allegiance to the unrelenting desert life in the filming. For example, Lady Jessica appears without make-up throughout which would not serve her well in the sandy heat. The Fremen debate whether an infiltrator is worthy of being kept alive versus the water his or death would result in for their benefit. The mechanical transport and machinery must withstand the deterioration of the sand.

I will leave out more detailed plot description. The movie is quite good, even for those who are not huge science fiction fans. Yet, I don’t want to undersell the plot intrigue and otherworldly context. It helped me to have seen the first movie. One of my sons has read the novel, so he said this version is more closely resembling the book the earlier one. So, he and my other son join me in giving it a thumbs up.

17 thoughts on “Dune – a remake that surpasses the original movie

  1. I watched this version of Dune. But perhaps not being familiar with the entire story, it felt a bit slow paced. The second movie will probably answer more questions. I’m not so much a fan of the murkier emotionally driven dramas. I like my epic adventures to be simpler, highly action-oriented, with good guys always winning in the end.

    • Rose, murky is a good word, as it is complex. Any movie where you have to be told who the protagonist is complicated. I still enjoyed it, but it may be due to having seen the first one. Keith

  2. Note to Readers: I enjoy science fiction, but I like a good story. It dates back to my love of Star Trek reruns after school practice sessions were over in the early 1970s. One of my favorite sci-fi movies is “Outland” with Sean Connery, sort of a “High Noon” in space. On the flip side, Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver lead a good cast in a Star Trek spoof called “Galaxy Quest.”

  3. Your son is right. The Villeneuve version is much closer to the Novel than the Lynch was. This is a great movie, I saw it twice in theater and wrote how much I like it in my own review. This is the kind of film that deserves the big screen.

  4. I’ve read the book seven times, it is my favorite book of all time. I saw the first movie and in my opinion it wouldn’t take much to surpass that. The mini-series that was on TV (Sci-Fi channel, I think) was far superior to the first movie, but it was 6 hours long. I hope this movie comes out on DVD at some point so I can get it, haven’t seen it yet. Thanks for the review.

  5. Note to Readers: The first movie at least had a stellar cast as well, including Kyle MacLachlin, Francesca Annis, Linda Hunt, Richard Jordan, Max Von Sydow, Everett McGill, Patrick Stewart, Sean Young, Jurgen Prochnow, Jose Ferrer, et al. Even Sting made an appearance.

    • Jessica, thanks for stopping by. I must confess, I do not know if it is sans pug or with pug. Please check it out and let me know. To pug or not to pug, that is the question. Keith

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