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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 06/02/11, 13:17:16

Everyone repeat after me "Books are not movies. Movies are not books. What works in one format doesn't in another." Here endeth the lesson.
Whenever someone starts on about how something was different than the book or the book was better, I stop reading.

TC wrote:i will re-watch the 3h version to see if it succeeds any better.

Now that would be a painful experience. I highly advice against it.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby TC on 06/02/11, 21:25:45

as i understand it, the original draft of the screenplay only covered about the first half of the book. to me, even if the sequel never happened, that would have been worth the bet - make the best film you can with the material. a 2h+ film based on the first half or so of the book would have been do-able, i think.

when you start cutting corners to fit the story into the format, it's a square peg in a round hole and you do both print and film products a disservice. people see the film and wonder what all the hubbub is about the book, and the movie then completely short-changes characters and/or entire races so that they become so thin as to be virtually transparent to the point that no one gives a shit about them at all and the movie fails. i completely blame the studio and not the filmmakers here. i would much rather have had a too-much-detail ala the most recent harry potter film that covered the first half of the book and the massive battle sequences in the second. but meh. i feel bad for lynch here - such a wealth of great material and knowing how to do it right then the studio telling you how you're going to do it, which you know is going to fail. you do the best with what you can i guess.

which leads back to my question - what is up with this version? how is lynch's name on it?
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 06/02/11, 23:01:36

TC wrote:which leads back to my question - what is up with this version? how is lynch's name on it?

Because he wrote it, directed it, and Lynch was involved in the theatircal edit, even though it wasn't his original intended cut. Remember, this was only Lynch's third film, and only his second as a director for hire. Having to make compromises was a new experience for him as Brooks pretty much left him alone on Elephant Man. At this point he hardly had the clout to demand final cut, and taking his name off it would have ruined his relationship with De Laurentiis thus there'd be no Blue Velvet. The film is still largely his, and honestly, even if Lynch had been left to completely do his own thing I don't think it'd be the slavish adaption of the novel you seem to be looking for. If anything it'd probably be even less like the book as Lynch caught his own ideas. He's admitted he'd never even read the book before he accepted the job, had little interest in science fiction, and saw it more as a framework to explore possibilities in. As for the script, it always covered the whole book. The sequel Lynch started writing covered Dune Messiah.

O-dot mentions bad dialog, but is it really that different from any of the out there lines in Lost Highway, or Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire? Dune (in its theatrical form) very much is a Lynch film. I'd say it's his weakest film, but it still feels like his. It wasn't a case of Lynch trying to make a film and the producers coming in and saying "no, don't do that!" It's more a case of Lynch realizing the producers wanted a certain kind of film and him making compromises internally to try to deliver what he thought they wanted.

And either way, I really think you have to look at Dune the film as a completely different creature from the book. Which, again, I'd say about any movie based on a book. Herbert was satisfied with the film. He understood the two mediums are different. Honestly TC, I don't think we're ever going to see eye to eye on this one. But I do have to ask, how many other films have you read the books of? Because most of them go way further off the path of the original book than Dune does. Pretty much anything adapted from a Richard Matheson or Philip Dick story comes to mind.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 01:16:36

A few quick thoughts--I've probably watched Dune 20 times over the years, and despite its flaws think it's a delightfully kinky anti-Star Wars. That will never change. Problematic as it is, there are a million shots/lines/designs/moments that I love. Killer cast, too. So much to recommend if you don't take any of it too seriously--it is after all Hollywood sci fi, and as much as we all love it, it's not a genre that lends itself to perfectly executed, high quality film a lot of the time. Speaking of which, as far as the source material goes, I tried to read Dune but my english degree got in the way about 20 pages in and I couldn't stomach the terrible writing anymore. Bradbury, Dick, Ellison and others have proven over and over that sci fi can be extremely well written, but Herbert ain't in the club. So I don't hold the original as anything approaching sacrosanct. Yes, I didn't read it all, but I know a stinker when I see one.

So, enjoy it for what it is. Plenty of fantastic Lynch technique on display, a pretty serviceable sci fi Jesus savior action story, some nice kitsch. I love it.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby TC on 07/02/11, 07:44:45

darkness wrote:As for the script, it always covered the whole book.


http://cgi.ebay.com/Dune-very-different ... 3364800b4d

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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 07/02/11, 09:55:17

TC wrote:
darkness wrote:As for the script, it always covered the whole book.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Dune-very-different ... 3364800b4d
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The reason the first draft only covers the beginning of the book (really about a third of it) is because it was never finished it due to creative differences, not because they intended the flim to only cover part of the book. The first draft is not a finished script. The second draft is the first one that was fully completed, and it does cover the whole book, as does every finished draft from then on.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby TC on 07/02/11, 14:16:41

ok, well that explains that. thanks.

but wasn't a version of this a smithee film at one point as lynch removed his name from it? i know i didn't dream that.... that was my question. i thought it was the 2h version that was smithee, which is what's on this BR. how is it no longer smithee?

darkness wrote:I really think you have to look at Dune the film as a completely different creature from the book. Which, again, I'd say about any movie based on a book. Herbert was satisfied with the film. He understood the two mediums are different. Honestly TC, I don't think we're ever going to see eye to eye on this one.

oh i get that. while i stand by my criticisms of the film in its own right, that doesn't mean i don't like it. i'm pretty sure we do see eye to eye on it.

i'd be very interested to see/hear herbert's POV on it, as so much of it differs so greatly from the source material to the point that it might as well be its own creation.

i'm just really annoyed at some of the changes. i get that when you're making a film, you have to decide on which story you're going to tell and remove everything that doesn't help tell that particular story. they picked one, sort of, and went with it. while the book tells a great story of the origins and pitfalls of a religion, the movie ignores that completely with paul being a god upon introduction to the planet. he didn't have to earn a thing. the film completely devalues the fremen in every conceivable way. they were a necessary tool to tell the particular story they chose otherwise it seems like they might as well not be in it. once paul joined the fremen, the movie felt a lot like flash gordon.

the movie also completely ignores any political intricacies and/or motivations on every level. other than the initial voice-over (which, btw, is awful and destroys so much of the story in the initial two minutes of the film that novel enthusiasts probably walked out), irulan is completely ignored. her role in things goes much deeper. the harkonnen nephews are pretty much ignored and are just there as space-filler. gurney's loyalties and suspicions were never explored when paul re-encountered him in the desert, with his mother.

the alia voice over is terrible and hammy. speaking of alia, the casting of duncan idaho is disturbing in this, considering a sequel was ever a thought. duncan and alia get together. given the casting, it would be very hefner-esque and shudder-inducing. also, paul is supposed to be 15 at the onset of the film. yeah, he was 15 like andrea was in high school on the original 90210. but meh, i digress.

i could go on forever nitpicking the film, but the point is that i think many of the book and storyline's strengths were completely ignored or at best totally undermined by making necessary shortcuts to fit the entire thing into a nice, neat 2+ hour format. the film does no justice to the story, and as such, i feel like the dune books have been largely missed by many. consider the sales of the LOTR books after the successful films. a lame argument/point, but it is maddening to see a great story reduced to what appeared on the screen.

darkness wrote:But I do have to ask, how many other films have you read the books of? Because most of them go way further off the path of the original book than Dune does. Pretty much anything adapted from a Richard Matheson or Philip Dick story comes to mind.

yeah, we talked about blade runner a bit previously. i understand. but i feel like blade runner at least kept the essence of the characters intact, even while ignoring many of the points and much of the symbolism in the novel. i think the original novel could have been done easily enough and i don't really understand why they made some of the changes/omissions, but i feel like the film was true to the essence of things in general. it's an example of a film that went kind of off the reservation in its adaptation while still retaining the depth of character and intent of the original, for the most part.

in answer to your first question - silence of the lambs, fight club, the black stallion are some examples off the top that were extremely faithful adaptations. fight club is almost a script. amazing that films that are faithfully based on good books turn out good....

(as an aside and maybe better suited to the watchmen thread, i think zack snyder did a decent job of filming "the unfilmable". he used the source material as essentially a script/storyboard and succeeded. some of the nuances of the story are what didn't work, like all the epilogues that were excerpts from the novel and/or news stories that helped set the tone. you can't put print on screen and there is no way to really convey that without breaking up the story. to me, that's what makes it "unfilmable" as per the legend. also, exclusion of the tales of the black freighter was a tough, but necessary, call. but again, for the most part, i'm one of the few that think it was done pretty well. but all things considered, that may be one example of where being extremely faithful doesn't really work, ultimately...)

alexhead wrote:Speaking of which, as far as the source material goes, I tried to read Dune but my english degree got in the way about 20 pages in and I couldn't stomach the terrible writing anymore.

well, i don't have an english degree, but shoddy writing tends to really stick out and annoy me to the point that, unless it's used as some sort of literary construct, i typically quit reading. i'm on book three right now and haven't yet found anything like that in herbert's writing. i'd be curious to hear some specifics on this point. how long ago was this? were you going through some narcissistic, ego-maniacal phase, or perhaps riding upon a giant horse? ;)
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 16:21:08

For me, narcissism and egomania are more long-term lifestyle choices than some passing fad, and yes, my mighty steed is jet black and snorts fire, thankyouverymuch.

I dunno, it's been a good long while but it just seemed like pretty consistently ticky-tack prose. I think more truly talented writers have been coming to the sci fi and horror genres over the years, but back when Herbert wrote Dune it seems there were still a fair amount of people with story ideas but not a lot fundamental wordsmith skills. Dune's popularity in the geek community has given it a certain "classic" sheen, I suppose, but nothing I saw on the page made me think Lynch had taken a shit on the Bible with his adaptation, if you get my drift. Maybe I'll revisit it at some point.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 16:22:35

And I must say I agree wholeheartedly that Fight Club is a great adaptation :rofl:
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 07/02/11, 17:36:19

Alexhead wrote:And I must say I agree wholeheartedly that Fight Club is a great adaptation :rofl:
So no reason for me to read the book it seems.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 07/02/11, 22:52:31

TC wrote:but wasn't a version of this a smithee film at one point as lynch removed his name from it? i know i didn't dream that.... that was my question. i thought it was the 2h version that was smithee, which is what's on this BR. how is it no longer smithee?

The blu-ray is the theatrical cut, which has always had Lynch's name on it. The one he took his name off of (for both the directing and writing credits) is the extended cut, which is a little less than an hour longer. Before you start thinking this is a good thing because it might flesh out the story more, it's not. The extended cut is what I like to call Dune for idiots. It does put some extra footage back (though often clearly in completely different places from where it should have been), but it also replaces the narration with a new generic one that describes the characters and story in ridiculous detail. For example, the first time Paul comes on screen, the narrator says something along the lines of "This is Paul Atreides. He's the...." and goes on about him as if introducing him on a game show. It does this for most of the main characters. This sort of thing happens all throughout the film. Imagine if someone took one of those text trivia tracks that are all the rage on blu-rays these days, but instead actually spoke it and you couldn't turn it off. That's pretty much the extended cut in a nutshell. It was originally created by MCA/Universal for syndication on tv back in the late 80's. The latest dvd release reproduced it (for the first time in the proper aspect ratio), but it was left off the blu-ray, probably because they didn't want to spend money on redoing it in hd. You aren't missing anything.

TC wrote: i'd be very interested to see/hear herbert's POV on it, as so much of it differs so greatly from the source material to the point that it might as well be its own creation.

He speaks about it some in the Making of Dune book, and he's featured quite a bit in the EPK. I'll try to dig out the tape and encode sometime soon.

TC wrote: he didn't have to earn a thing. the film completely devalues the fremen in every conceivable way. they were a necessary tool to tell the particular story they chose otherwise it seems like they might as well not be in it. once paul joined the fremen, the movie felt a lot like flash gordon.

I disagree. In the film the Fremen teach Paul almost everything he knows, from how to fight to how to call and ride the worms. Paul does have to work to become what he does. And he has to hook up with Sean Young, which is the most horrible sacrifice of all considering how annoying she is. BTW, as an aside, you can totally see her bare breast including nipple in the picture of her on the back of the original laserdisc release of Dune. This has nothing to do with our discussion, but amused the hell out of me 20 years ago, so I feel it must be mentioned. But I digress. :) As for the Fremen being necessary to tell the particular story...um, yeah, and? Since they're not telling another story, there's no reason to make them anything more. Again, you're coming at this from the standpoint of the book and not within the context of the film. No one who hasn't read the book notices this. In fact, pretty much everything you mention after what I quoted is stuff that has nothing to do with the context of the story in the film and things that are only nitpicks about what you wanted to see from the book that wasn't there.

TC wrote:in answer to your first question - silence of the lambs, fight club, the black stallion are some examples off the top that were extremely faithful adaptations. fight club is almost a script. amazing that films that are faithfully based on good books turn out good....
You kind of blew your argument with that last one. ;) Really, I could name just as many films that were extremely faithful to their book source and suffered because of it. The first two Harry Potters for example. For every good faithful book adaption there's a bad one, just as for every good adaption that strayed from the source there's a bad one.

I think I know what this is really all about. You're just jealous because you don't have the Dune pop-up book and the coloring books and I do. :)
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 23:08:06

The real tragedy is, I had the action figures and of course just threw 'em out when I went to college. Seriously, I HAD THE RAT STRAPPED TO THE CAT in action figure format!!! Randomly enough, it came with Feyd. But still!

Between my comics and my toys from the 80s I could've been an eBay millionaire 10 times over (recently reminded of my complete collection of Tron action figures, speaking of which). I'm going to go weep now.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 23:11:09

Now I'm just torturing myself...damn you, eBay...
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 07/02/11, 23:20:48

Alexhead wrote: The real tragedy is, I had the action figures and of course just threw 'em out when I went to college. Seriously, I HAD THE RAT STRAPPED TO THE CAT in action figure format!!! Randomly enough, it came with Feyd. But still!

I have most of the original Dune merchandise. I have all the action figures and the small vehicles, as well as the viewmaster, the coloring books, the activity book and the pop-up book. It's amazing how they tried to market this like Star Wars. I'm bummed I never got the sandworm though.

Alexhead wrote:Between my comics and my toys from the 80s I could've been an eBay millionaire 10 times over (recently reminded of my complete collection of Tron action figures, speaking of which). I'm going to go weep now.

I sold a lot of my toys when I entered college. I had it all, Star Wars, Star Trek, Tron, Buck Rogers, The Black Hole, you name it. I sold them on usenet since it was the pre-web days. I probably made a good $1500. Of course now I probably could have made more. My GI Joe stuff I gave away to a friend's kid. I kind of regret that now, only because I really want to play with some of that stuff now. :) My comics from the 80's I do still have all of. But unfortunately our storage back in Lincoln where they were for a good while had a habit of flooding, so some of them were damaged. Not sure what any of them are worth, but I figure another 20 years or so I'll find out.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 07/02/11, 23:31:26

Alexhead wrote:Now I'm just torturing myself...damn you, eBay...

Here's some more torture for you...
dunetoys.jpg
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 23:31:52

Dude, I did the exact same thing with my GI Joes! Star Wars stuff went to him too, I don't even remember the lucky kids' name. I think the rest got packed up and trashed as we moved out of our house in the early 90s. I had the Black Hole figures, the Buck Rogers figures, Micronauts, Shogun Warriors, a really stellar collection of both Marvel and DC action figures, Tron, Dune...hell, I even had Castle Greyskull and all the He-Man toys. Never did spend a nickel on a Go-Bot or Transformer though. Seriously, the 80s get way too much love from the nostalgia crowd but our toys were indeed the fucking shit.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 23:34:06

darkness wrote:
Alexhead wrote:Now I'm just torturing myself...damn you, eBay...

Here's some more torture for you...
dunetoys.jpg


I forget, did Jack Nance get his own action figure? I would seriously eBay duel you for that one. That's a great collection, I don't think I had Big Ed but I did have the rest. Seriously, I think I liked Dune better than Star Wars for a while there. Hell, pretty much still do. The soldiers were great too, much creepier than Storm Troopers, and that's saying something.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby Alexhead on 07/02/11, 23:36:46

Hah, think about it for a second, an action figure of a pervy floating fat man covered in boils? You can't make this stuff up. Lynch's Dune rules.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby darkness on 08/02/11, 00:36:50

Nance never got his own action figure unfortunately. I have all the ones that were actually produced. There were prototypes of Gurney and Jessica, but they never were actually released.
My Master's of the Universe stuff is the one bit that did actually get thrown away. I couldn't find anyone who wanted it either to play with or sell at the time. It just never seemed to have the cool factor that Star Wars or Joe had.
I owned a total of one transformer, and only because my mom thought it looked cool. I was all about the 3-3/4 action figures.
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Re: New Dune-movie

Postby TC on 08/02/11, 06:52:44

amazing collection! yeah, i sold a ton of stuff before i went off to college, like a dumbass. i mean, i didn't make as much money as i wanted, i just couldn't move it and didn't want to leave it so it went for way less than it all should have. the money lasted a couple weeks at best. should have kept it.

i did keep some things though. for example, i'm looking right this second at mumra's tomb.... :)

and yes, i've been perusing ebay for dune stuff. really want to play that boardgame, and of course have to get the sandworm.
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