The new Dune movie

My wife and I went to see the new Dune movie. Anyone else seen it yet? Here are some quick impressions. I am assuming people reading this are familiar with the novel. I haven’t seen any of the prior movies. I don’t think there are any big spoilers ahead.

  1. It’s a movie full of large-than-life scenes and ought to be seen in the theater.

  2. The sound is often overbearing. Maybe that’s the way action movies are these days? I rarely get out to the theater.

  3. Dune is the only other book I’ve read that is on the same level as LOTR in terms of world-building. Someone who had not read the novel might have a harder time following the narrative thread in the movie.

  4. Corners were necessarily cut in the storytelling to fit the first half of the novel into a 2 1/2 hour movie, but this didn’t bother me anywhere as much as it did in the LOTR movies. Maybe Denis Villeneuve did a better job than Peter Jackson, or maybe I care less about Dune, or it’s been longer since I read the novel and don’t remember as much.

  5. I really liked the portrayal of the relationship between Paul and his father, Duke Leto, and between Paul and his father’s two chief retainers, Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho. There was warm affection between the three men and Paul, and it was obvious how all were helping him grow to mature manhood.

  6. Multiple scenes emphasize that the core attribute of a man is faithfulness to what one is called to do, not doing what one feels like doing.

  7. The intense two-way loyalty between the duke and his men presented a very different vision of life than what we see in America these days.

  8. The Dune universe is filled with schemers and supermen, and Duke Leto and his men, down to the lowest soldier, came off as the only real humans in the movie. Actually, the Fremen came off as human, too, though they don’t show up so much in this first movie.

  9. The humanity of Duke Leto and his men is tragic because the movie makes the point that their faithfulness and honor is what enables the schemers to send them to the slaughterhouse. I wonder if this will be further explored in the second movie as Paul becomes a superman.

  10. Surprisingly (at least to me), Lady Jessica is portrayed more negatively in the movie than in the book. In the book she disobeyed the Bene Gesserit and bore a son instead of a daughter out of love for Duke Leto, but in the movie it is said that she did so out of pride in hope of breeding the Kwisatz Haderach. But Jessica’s worry over Paul during the episode of the Gom Jabbar acts to humanize her.

  11. The ambiguous nature of Lady Jessica is further deepened when Duke Leto appeals to her to save their son, not only from the Emperor and the Harkonnens, but also from Bene Gessirit. No answer is given.

  12. Although not in the book (at least that I remember), the movie has a scene in which Paul’s father tells him that all he needs to be is his son, even if he doesn’t want to be a duke. In contrast, Paul complains to his mother that she made him a freak (also not in the book, I think). I think it is interesting these days that a movie would give a positive portrayal of fatherhood and an ambiguous portrayal of motherhood.

  13. Perhaps more so than in the book, Paul in the movie struggles with his sense of identity, but I will need to reread the book to see if this is really the case. Although neither the book nor the movie uses these terms, I thought of the difference between being begotten and being made.


I had never read Dune until starting it just a few weeks ago and I juat watched the movie as well. I was able to read enough to cover the material that the movie covers and I look forward to finishing the book and to the future movies from Villeneuve. I agree with your observations and offer one of my own. Kynes is an older white man in the book but is portrayed as a younger black woman in the movie. It was strange to me that Villeneuve would pander to PC culture by turning a powerful character into a black woman only to kill off that character prematurely. I wonder if he plans to use Stilgar in the movie in the place of Kynes from the book.

I’m working from memory here, but I do seem to recall similar scenes in the book. (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I’m eagerly anticipating the opportunity. Thanks for confirming that this one should be seen in theaters.)


Our review comes out tomorrow. We were collectively pretty disappointed.


I’m looking forward to hearing it!

(Of course, I also remember that you didn’t like Tenet, so there’s that… :wink: )