Book vs. Movie: Dune (2021)

Hello, my darling readers!
After taking a closer look at David Lynch’s take on Dune a few days ago, we of course also need to check out the latest attempt at adapting Frank Herbert’s novel!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, heir to a noble family tasked with ruling an inhospitable world where the only thing of value is the “spice” melange, a drug capable of extending life and enhancing consciousness. Coveted across the known universe, melange is a prize worth killing for…

Book vs. Movie:

So, after reading the book and watching the David Lynch adaptation, I was really hoping for this to be a step up. I am happy to report Denis Villeneuve did not disappoint. While reading the novel I kept thinking that this would look stunning on screen but considering just how expansive the first book (the only one I have read so far) is, this is not without challenges. While I enjoyed the story, the book did drag on a bit at times, and I just didn’t like it as much as I had expected.

One of the biggest challenges an adaptation of Dune has to overcome is depicting all the sci-fi stuff, the creatures, and the world described in the book. The David Lynch movie failed almost ridiculously in that regard. But, to be honest, it never really stood a chance. Now almost 40 years later technology offers new options and actually gave the filmmakers a decent shot at bringing this story to the screen. In this take on Dune, the CGI is absolutely on point. Just about everything looks flawless and I think they did a tremendous job bringing Frank Herbert’s creation to life.

But good CGI alone can’t save a film. Another big fail with the OG adaptation was the writing. Many bits felt straight-up ridiculous together with some of the acting choices. I mean, Kyle MacLachlan was doing his very best but other than that Dune 1984 just wasn’t it. The new version also did a much better job in that regard. Simply where the film starts is a good example. 2021 Dune immediately situates the audience very well in this world we know nothing about and begins teaching us about it. The old film kicked off with a scene that had me in stitches it was so bad. One thing that irritated me about both the book and the first film was where it ended. There are more books, but leaving off where it did struck me as weird. I don’t want to spoil anything here but had I been the writer I would have stopped a bit earlier. It makes a lot more sense in my head and also would have been a lot less confusing to read. Furthermore, the universe itself and the story on top of that is already so expansive, that it’s difficult to stuff it into one film, even without that additional bit of story that does occur after some time had passed. So, in Dune 2021 they actually cut it off a little earlier than I would have but it works perfectly as is. Normally I am the first to complain about it when somebody tries to turn one singular book into a cash cow by producing numerous films off of it (looking at the Hobbit here). Here it really serves the story, though. There is so much going on, that it can be a bit difficult to take in. I am actually glad I read the book beforehand. I probably wouldn’t have been able to make heads or tails of the old film without that. The new one sure is easier to follow, as it feels more natural and organic in the world-building. You are introduced to this world a lot more. But it still is nice to already know about Dune beforehand.

I am actually excited to see the next movie installment. The actors and actresses chosen do such an amazing job, it’s not only the CGI I want to see more of. That was another thing with the OG adaptation. Some of the let’s call it acting choices were simply not it, ruining the film further for me. Well, in this one everything is on point. Even the music just hits so much harder than it has any right to. I have no complaints! The pacing was great, there were no boring moments, and even the story flows really well – which is a stark contrast to the former adaptation.

This take on Dune is such a well-made adaptation of a book that is certainly daring to take on. To be honest, I think I actually prefer the movie over the novel as it was somehow more captivating to me. Definitely two enthusiastic thumbs up from me!

Did you prefer the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: Dune (2021)

  1. Pingback: Wrapping it up for May! | The Punk Theory

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