53 Comments

Splendid post. I am so appreciative of you taking the time to basically read my mind while I watched this movie.

I agree 100% about Brolin's grim and flat Gurney Halleck. I think Cary Elwes would have been a better choice... Gurney is like one of the Musketeers (albeit a broody one), and that dimension is wholly missing from the portrayal.

I also think the Irullan quotes would have helped. I also missed Pitor the twisted Mentat and the Suk School conditioning, but oh well. You know Denis probably fought a room full of executives for this and that they gave him a very, very hard time about everything. They never read the book and only want $$$$. They are like the CHOAM company, but really fucking dumb.

I get it that Denis can't take the time to explain the Duniverse, but it's hella confusing to try to minimize the central themes of the novel (a sociological story centering on ecology, political ambition, and religious fanaticism) and focus on images. This will never be Star Wars, but I think he learned from the failure of his brilliant Blade Runner 2049 that a public trained by the MCU to favor simple stories riddled with puerile narrative and "character development" is easily bored. Hence Timmy and Drogo and Thanos to beef it up some, since Ryan Gosling seems to be better at refusing cereal than selling movie tickets. (which by the way is as antique a concept as Herbert's idea of computers, since now a movie's or show's success can be tracked with precise metrics on who watched it when and where and for how long, what they bought afterward, what they said, what they shared, etc. This should have been a 13-part HBO series that was also screened in theaters. That would have been a first).

One more thing: the Sardukar precedent always seemed to me to be much more like the Gurkha regiments who did the Crown's dirtiest fighting, a group that believed more in its culture of warrior invincibility and fighting esprit than any British dogma. They were like SEALS or recon Marines in that they look no further than their own group for validation.

Again, thanks for doing such a great and funny job of work here. I hope they haqve enough balls to all the way to God Emperor so we can see Leto the Sandworm and his Amazon clone guards and the endless spawn of clueless Duncan Idaho clones.

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

i think the one thing the movie was missing was "pop-up video" style appendix entries. so thanks for this.

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

“Max Read! Max Read! Max Read!” goes the refrain. “A million deaths were not enough for Max Read, who followed me on Twitter @jimmyjazz1968 immediately before quitting Twitter, destroying my Klout Score!” — FROM “A CHILD’S HISTORY OF GAWKER” BY THE PRINCESS IRULAN. Anyway I subscribed.

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

Because I have a problem in my brain, I should point out that it's: Combine Honnete Ober Advance*r* Mercantile*s* which does not matter at all in this Very Excellent Post that makes me happy that Dune Fans are still The Only Good Online Fandom

Expand full comment
Oct 27, 2021Liked by Max Read

In the book, if I remember correctly, the Sardaukar-to-be criminals are thrown in Salusa Secundus to weed out the weak/make the rest desperate, and then religion is offered as salvation/control tool. They don't rebel against the emperor because he is their God, more or less. Another parallel between the Sardaukar and post-Paul Fremen.

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

(Zendaya is Meechee voice)

Zendaya is Chani

And Chalamet is Muad'dib

Bauuutistaaa is Glossu Rabban

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

At one or two points in the movie, the HBO Max subtitles indicate the speaker using Chakobsa. Unfortunately can’t recall who or in what scene!

Expand full comment
Oct 26, 2021Liked by Max Read

IIRC the guild navigators are closely held secrets of the guild, staying almost entirely in space. They don’t actually appear in the books until Dune Messiah, so those are probably just regular guild members. Hope they appear in part two though since they are so cool.

Expand full comment

The "dreams are messages from the deep" line is in Sardaukar language according to the captions, not that that makes any sense

Expand full comment
Mar 9, 2022Liked by Max Read

"(Nice thing about Dune the book is you get a whole dictionary and set of appendices. Filmed media could never!)"

But they did -- theater audiences in 1984 got a printed "Dune Terminology" handout on the way in ( https://gizmodo.com/david-lynchs-dune-was-so-complex-moviegoers-were-given-1622703689 )

Expand full comment
Oct 27, 2021Liked by Max Read

Something about the "Dreams are messages from the deep" quote at the beginning that I found interesting:

If you watch the movie on HBO Max with subtitles turned on it says that this quote is spoken in Sardaukar. In the theater, I thought this was supposed to be Leto II's voice but I don't see why he (or any other character this could be) would be speaking Sardaukar.

Expand full comment
Oct 27, 2021Liked by Max Read

Really fun and cool read!

As someone who got through the first book half-way and then read the books, I still was disappointed a bit about the spoilers. Could you maybe preface/hide them even more? The movie kind of inspired me try to and pick up the books from where the movie left off (if that is even a good idea). So you might want to take into consideration the people that want to read the rest of the books after seeing the movie.

Loved the read though!! Was super interesting!

Expand full comment

Interesting "change" from the book: The shot with the Reverend Mother flying into the Guild Highliner, passing through it and flying down to Caladan (around 20:40). It also has a point of view from the Highliner's front where we can see another planet (probably Wallach IX, the BG homeplanet). The shot seems to imply that the Highliner itself doesn't "travel"/"jump"/"whatever" but seems to function as a sort of stargate/wormhole.

Expand full comment

Re: the question you pose about hand-held weapons: I often wonder about the obsession with mano-a-mano battle in movies like this, and especially in Hollywood super hero films. Humans seem to worship one on one "analog" fighting no matter how otherwise sophisticated the tale is, or how far forward into an incredibly advanced technological setting the story is set. There has to better ways to solve disagreements.

Expand full comment

Few people know that the ships in Dune are actually academic libraries from the 1960s and 1970s, preserved over millennia because Art Brut will never die whatever you try to do to it. See this fine example from Syracuse University: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bird_Library,_Syracuse_University.JPG

And the Atlanta Public Library, later a Sardaukar troopship of some distinction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlanta_Central_Library

Expand full comment

Could maybe do with a bit of a primer on how the shields work? I don't remember them touching on it or explaining it beyond the red/blue coloring.

Expand full comment