Dune Review: Denis Villeneuve’s Sci-Fi Recital

Dune Review: Denis Villeneuve’s Sci-Fi Recital

Here we are with the Dune review. Desert Planet by Denis Villeneuve took its place in movie theaters. Here are our reviews, including comparisons with Frank Herbert’s cult science fiction book.

Here we are with the Dune review. Here are our first comments on Desert Planet, adapted for the cinema by Denis Villeneuve from Frank Herbert’s cult sci-fi series.

Dune is a production that presents you difficulties in starting to examine, reflect on, and even consume, like any work adapted from a book to a movie. Should you read the book before going to the movie or wait for the movie to present a stand-alone whole? It raises such questions. Nor are these unjustified concerns for Dune. So, let’s talk about the details with spoilers.

I met the name Dune a long time ago, but I read the books after the director was named Denis Villeneuve. My expectations from the movie changed a few times because of this reason. I’ve watched all of the director’s previous works, including Sicario, about whom I wrote a review for Lost Dock. There were some things I expected from the movie as I am someone who loves them all individually. Calm and confident scenes, meaningful and character-driven action, and most of all, a powerful visual narrative. Desert Planet thankfully does most of this very well. However, this film is a little different from other productions in terms of adaptation.

Dune Review: What Adaptation Is Desert Planet?

The biggest difference from Denis Villeneuve’s other films is that this story has been adapted much more faithfully to the main text. For example, another sci-fi movie, Arrival, is not an original script. A production adapted from the Arrival in Ted Chiang’s collection of short stories called The Story of Your Life. But while filming it, they kept the essence, theme, and tone of the story and changed most of the rest. Dune, on the other hand, adapted some scenes so closely that while watching the movie, I saw the paragraphs I read in the book on the screen. This approach did not yield very elegant results for every scene. Take, for example, the scene after Jessica and Paul thopter (spacecraft) crashed after a sandstorm in the desert. This part can be summarized as follows:

After finding the Fremen, the two want to join them, but Jamis from Stilgar’s group is against it: he doesn’t want to include Jessia and asks him to choose a warrior to represent her in one-on-one combat. Without saying anything, Paul prepares for the fight and beats Jamis several times and asks him to surrender, but learns that this fight is to the death. He hesitates because he hasn’t killed anyone before, and Stilgar, who watches the fight, gets angry because he sees it as a mockery.

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This scene, as described in the book, is especially important for Paul, as it is the place where the idea of ​​the “terrible goal”, which will always occupy his mind afterwards, is strengthened. The narrative of the fight is written in a way that explains Paul’s inner world; It is mentioned that after each attack, Paul remembers his training and moves differently because he is used to using a shield. In the meantime, we read Jessica’s realization and worry and then witness Paul’s hesitation about killing.

This scene is almost exactly the same in the movie, both in terms of tempo and content. However, seeing the same tempo in the movie feels strange in terms of the feeling of the scene. There seems to be a blockage in most of the events in the scene. I couldn’t tell from the camera how we should feel about the fight itself. Stilgar’s conversation with Jessica is oddly structured. While the fight choreography will feel tense, it seems limp and the scene ends in silence. The part of this scene that is important to the Fremen, that is, “one’s body belongs to himself, but his water belongs to the tribe” is not even shown. Similarly, there were a few other things that were adapted from the book exactly and did not look very good in the cinema. Fortunately, however, the entire film was not adapted in this way; some parts are conveyed in really creative ways.

For those who want to get to know the Dune universe, apart from a six-book main series signed by Frank Herbet, there were also texts included in a separate book series from the main series called Dune Atreides Dynasty and Harkonnen Dynasties, which tell the main actors of the events in the first book, the Atreides and Harkonnen dynasties. The authors of this series are Frank Herbert’s son Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I was very happy that there are books that describe these dynasties in more detail, because I think that neither the book nor the movie has enough time.

Sound Design
In addition to these books, Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack album was released on September 17. While listening to the composition, I was not very impressed; Frankly, I couldn’t distinguish it from the sounds that play in every big-budget action movie in the last ten years. Except for two tracks in the whole album, there was no sound whose melody was memorable. I must say that I was disappointed, especially after the Lord of the Rings comparisons that I read in many places. Considering that there are dozens of melodies in the first movie that can be remembered even after years, I decided that this comparison was meaningless.

This situation I am talking about happened before I watched the movie. When I went to watch the movie, I realized that I had not taken into account a very important detail: the sound design. Hans Zimemer and Denis Villeneuve talked about composing music based on Dolby Atmos technology in their pre-release interviews, but it was impossible to predict that it would be this impressive.

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It’s shocking to hear such sudden, wide-ranging and incredibly powerful bass tones, especially in scenes where Bene Gesserit and Paul use the “voice”. The fact that one of Villeneuve’s – and almost all the actors involved in the promotion of the film – was “watch the movie in the IMAX theater” was one of his two sentences, which made me think that the images would be strong. But obviously sound design is also part of that equation. The fact that the sounds do not distort as the volume increases and the width of the intervals make a real contribution to the story of the film. All scenes with ship and gun battles create much more striking and sedate sounds. But among them, Sand Worms are the most fed by sound design. There is no shortage of visually describing their arrivals, closeness and movements in the sand sea. It feels great to be three-dimensional enough to touch the sound waves with your hand.

IMAX Experience
Let’s come to the quality that iMAX gives to the image. Among the previous works of the director, Blade Runner 2049 is the film with the highest use of visuals in storytelling and the most impressive film in my opinion. Beyond the beautiful images, the fact that they play an active role in telling the story makes the cinematography a remarkable element. I’m sure it didn’t make things difficult to have a cinematographer like Roger Deakins by his side while doing this job. But Greig Fraser, who did the image direction for Desert Planet, didn’t do a bad job either. There are several wide-angle shots reminiscent of Blade Runner, especially during slow transitions from large areas with flying vehicles. Moreover, I can happily say that these shots are one of the best parts of the movie with their story, theme, tone and atmospheres.

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IMAX Experience
Let’s come to the quality that iMAX gives to the image. Among the previous works of the director, Blade Runner 2049 is the film with the highest use of visuals in storytelling and the most impressive film in my opinion. Beyond the beautiful images, the fact that they play an active role in telling the story makes the cinematography a remarkable element. I’m sure it didn’t make things difficult to have a cinematographer like Roger Deakins by his side while doing this job. But Greig Fraser, who did the image direction for Desert Planet, didn’t do a bad job either. There are several wide-angle shots reminiscent of Blade Runner, especially during slow transitions from large areas with flying vehicles. Moreover, I can happily say that these shots are one of the best parts of the movie with their story, theme, tone and atmospheres.

It’s a great experience to see the dialogues of the movie as a real part of the main narrative and not something that exists as a supplement. I’m really happy to watch all these images in the IMAX hall, because it’s not just about the big screen. Being closer to the screen rather than size makes the experience meaningful. Because talking about a large screen only implies that images -especially wide-angle shots- can be more impressive, and almost every scene in the desert uses this power to the fullest. But nothing, including the suggestions I received from my friends, the compliments written on the internet, and even the insistence of Villeneuve, could not describe the sincerity that IMAX provides, the feeling of being in the picture. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely experience this movie by watching it in the IMAX hall.

How Successful Is Dune: Desert Planet Casting?
I would say that there is not a single wrong casting choice in the production, which includes names such as Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, David Dastmalchian, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac and Javier Bardem.

Still, two of them seem much more carefully studied, and both are Swedish. I was waiting for this situation for Rebecca Ferguson because she was one of the most involved in the promotion of the movie after the director and they talked a lot about making a special preparation for Lady Jessica. The results of this study can be observed very easily while watching the movie. It reflects the conflicts that the character experiences, both within himself and with other characters, with slightly different amounts and intensities than in the book, through the contrasts he experiences.

Rebecca Ferguson

As in the book, Lady Jessica is aware of some of the problems that may arise from her son being a special person and is a character who can foresee the things she needs to do to overcome them. By the time things get to the point in the story – thanks to the Bene Gesserit training he has received – he has already learned to control his inner conflicts. But the movie prefers to show us rather than tell us. With Rebecca Ferguson’s great acting, we see how much Jessica is affected by the decisions she had to make and how hard she is. While witnessing the difficult moments, the camera does not immediately run away, on the contrary, it stands there and makes us a part of that experience. Jessica looks inward to her fears and sees that it will not serve her in protecting her loved ones and herself, because as we all know, “fear is the mind killer”.

One of the best ways to show something’s true power, meaning, and place on a larger scale is to show the opposite of it first. Seeing Jessica struggle before she can control herself also shows her true strength much better. Just like seeing the waters of the Caladan seas before entering Arrakis, the seas of sand there, the waves in the sand; things that exist with their opposites and gain meaning against them.

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The other Swedish actor mentioned is Stellan John Skarsgård, who we see as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. Baron is a piece that is exactly like the one in the book with its tone of voice, movements and eating, and that’s why it’s great. He was one of the most iconic characters in the movie for me, with his effect on the characters around him, his make-up and his dialogues that sounded like death threats despite speaking in a calm tone. It is not known whether the director’s cut or extended version of the movie will be released, but if it does at some point, one of the characters I would like to see more on stage will definitely be Baron.

Does Dune Movie Alone Live Up to Expectations?
Let’s get to the main question. Unfortunately, for someone who has not read the books, the story is not in a form that can stand on its own. Dune is such a huge universe and it’s impossible to describe it all in one movie, even if it takes almost three hours. It is not a job to explain in two nice films, but at least if the second movie, which is currently under preparation, is shot and the expanded versions of both are published, maybe then -even if not as detailed as in the book- a whole that works coherently within itself can emerge.

For example, let’s compare many common features such as their budgets and their place in the industry with similar two-part films. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame will serve as examples. In these productions, which were published in two parts, each film has its own small climaxes (climax) with a beginning, middle and end when considered alone. The things our characters are trying to achieve, and the consequences they will face if they fail, are clear as day. Compared to Dune, I have to say that they are tighter narratives. But the biggest problem for Desert Planet is not the temporary absence due to being Dune: Part One, but the absence of some large stones in this state.

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For example, the traitor to the Atreides family, Dr. The fact that Yueh’s motivation is narrated in one sentence, and Baron Harkonnen’s mention of the Lansraad dynasties in one sentence prevents many events in the movie from being in the context of cause and effect relationship. In addition to these, there are many things that we cannot justify being in the movie without knowing the whole story. Not to mention the fact that ecology, which occupies a very important place in the book, albeit between the lines, and many of the readings that come with it, are not radical in the film.

Game of Thrones and The Godfather Comparisons
There are comparisons to Game of Thrones, and it’s not hard to see why. Both texts take place on a political plane with great dynasties trying to turn the balance of power in their favor by using valuable resources and making political movements. There is no doubt in what form this kind of narrative works best; This is not a story that can be conveyed in a single movie.

Although technically a trilogy, another production that I liken to Dune with its first two films is The Godfather series: There are characters who suddenly have power in complicated political circles, great sound designs and powerful images that set the standard for the world of cinema. But The Godfather explains the motivations of the characters, their success and what can happen if they fail, that the audience is ready for anything when they enter the third act of the first movie. The same goes for Dune, for audiences who only know the books and don’t mind filling in the blanks themselves.

Denis Villeneuve made another interpretation from the same universe by comparing Paul Atreides to Michael Corleone in The Godfather.

Final Words About the Movie Dune
There’s something about Dune that’s different from all the movies I’ve compared. This is the part that remains in mind after leaving the hall: The production does not create itself through dialogues and plot, but as a collection of images and sounds. It is a quality that is difficult to convey in writing, but when I try to describe it, the word that comes to mind is cinematic. Despite its shortcomings in the aforementioned departments, Dune met my expectations, at least as an introduction.

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As someone who has read the books, I really enjoyed the movie Dune: Desert Planet. I hope that one day we can see longer versions of this story, and perhaps more detailed versions of the series. Let us remind you that The Sisterhood series, which will take place in the same universe, is also on the way and if it is shot, the Dune 2 sequel will focus on the character of Chani from Zendaya.

What do you guys think of the movie Dune?

Source: https://kayiprihtim.com/ Nazmi Uçar

 

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