‘Dune’: Why Hollywood keeps retelling the story and why this latest adaptation may be the one that takes off
However the film is not the very first onscreen adjustment of the unique — a much-maligned movie came out in 1984, while a television miniseries followed almost 20 years later on. However, the source product has long been thought about almost difficult to adjust.
Set on Arrakis, an unwelcoming desert world valued for its hallucinogenic “spice,” the unique follows the journey of young Paul Atreides (Chalamet) whose household has actually been charged with managing the world — filling in their competitors, the Harkonnens. The story includes whatever from spaceships and extraterrestrial life kinds called sandworms to styles focusing on betrayal, politics and religious beliefs.
The world developed in “Dune” and its follows up has plenty of layers, a number of which have actually been challenging to equate to the cinema. Here’s an appearance back at previous adjustments and why audiences today might be most likely to value Villeneuve’s adjustment.
The very first adjustment of ‘Dune’ didn’t do so well
“Producers crossed their fingers and hoped that everybody who has read the books will want to see the movie,” his review concluded. “Not if the word gets out, they won’t.”
Sci-fi and film aficionados have a few theories about why these early attempts to tell the “Dune” story onscreen didn’t click.
Both Jodorowsky and Lynch “were trying too hard to be eccentric in their own way — to balance their own style and the [source material’s] complex features — and as a result their efforts came across as somewhat contrived and perhaps overdone,” said Marina Hassapopoulou, a professor of Cinema Studies at New York University, in an email to CNN.
Unlike “Star Wars,” which used its opening crawl to catch the audience up on the story and provided reasons to be invested in the characters’ journeys, Lynch’s adaptation of “Dune” immediately “dumps all of these terms and names and information on you,” Willems said.
“It is just about two hours long and they tried to fit so much into it that it really feels like a CliffsNotes version of a textbook,” he said. “You can see the elements of a compelling story — it’s just that it’s so condensed, and it feels much more like an information dump than an actual emotional story about characters.”
A 2000 miniseries fared better
Of course, while these takes on the “Dune” story found their audience, they did not have the same wide reach a big-budget theatrical release typically has.
Despite the complex source material, directors remain drawn to ‘Dune’
“Dune” has often been considered “unfilmable.” As Hassapopoulou puts it, “the source material is too sublime to be adapted (and limited to) an audiovisual medium like cinema, and that makes it challenging to adapt from book to film.”
“It was very important for me that we not explain everything,” he told the Times.
Despite some of its denser themes, the “Dune” story has many universally recognizable elements. The feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen is a trope readers of classic literature — such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Wuthering Heights” — are already familiar with.
“It’s the kind of thing people have been making movies about since the dawn of cinema,” Willems said. “Aspects of the story are really universal, but then you’ve got sandworms, you’ve got spaceships — you’ve got all these fun, strange sci-fi things to play around with.”
Are audiences ready for 2021’s ‘Dune’?
While the film’s ultimate performance at the box office is not yet known, Hassapopoulou believes “Villeneuve’s ‘Dune’ will be the most commercially successful out of all adaptations so far,” pointing to the director’s previous works as reasons why his vision will succeed.
Plus, mainstream audiences today may simply be more ready than ever for a “Dune” adaptation than they were before. Hassapopoulou said Hollywood’s output since the 1990s has been “increasingly demanding more intellectually active and critically engaged viewers,” which means the new “Dune” may appeal to newer generations who “are not put off by aesthetic experimentation and convoluted narratives.”
While “Dune” is something people have heard of, it isn’t necessarily a “familiar proven franchise” either, he said. But that hasn’t stopped his own excitement to see the movie.
“I’m really curious how the general public will react and respond to it,” he stated. “We don’t get an awful lot of movies like ‘Dune,’ so personally I hope that people show up for it.”
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.