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Made in gb
Dakka Veteran






So, Dune...

Not the upcoming film but the original 1984 David Lynch film.

I'm sure back in the mists of time I've watched it before, but recently I thought, as I don't recall doing so, I'd watch it again. I don't read books much these days, so I try to watch the best film adaptations of books instead, however I'm aware that Dune so far doesn't really have a "best film adaptation", they'll all kind of the best of a bad bunch.

I've tried watching the extended version that floats around and a version with some weird animated opening, but hadn't been able to get past the homo-erotic sadomasochistic scenes featuring Baron Harkonen and only got as far as the Harkonen vs Atreides battle on Arrakis before I gave up and switched off.

Tonight I watched the original theatrical cut and finally managed to get all the way through the film.

And...

...I don't "get it".


Here's what I do "get" -


Spoiler:

There is an imperium, that spans a galaxy. A source of it's income is something called spice. Spice is only found on 1 planet, called Arrakis, which is controlled by the imperium.

You've got 3 feudal type groups running the imperium - house Atreides, house Harkonen and whatever the emperors house is called. Then you have the navigators guild, a bunch of weird slug creatures that can fold space (i.e. warp travel), and the Gesserit, a women only club of "witches". The emperor plots to ruin/destroy house Atreides because he believes they want to/will overthrow him. The Gesserit are waiting for and trying to engineer, usually by way of selective breeding, a "super being". And the navigators guild want Paul Atreides dead (presumably because they believe that he will become that "super being").

Arrakis's native people's are the Fremen. They're plotting to take the planet from the imperium at some point and have been stockpiling water (akin to gold as Arrakis is a desert planet).

Paul Atreides, after house Atreides is destroyed in an attack by house Harkonen, joins the Fremen, kind of becomes their leader, drinks some magic water and becomes the "super being" the Gesserit's have been waiting for.

Paul and the Fremen then battle it out with the emperor and Harkonen's, win, and Paul Atreides then creates a storm that brings rain, and it appears seas, to the desert world of Arrakis.


What I don't "get" -

What actually happens to Arrakis and the spice and what impact does whatever happens to it have on the imperium? What happens to the emperor, Paul, his sister, and the Fremen? What was the point of it all?


Thank you in advance for any enlightenment.

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2021/03/19 23:29:53


 
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Ok so the film basically doesn't do a good job because it ran out of time to fit everything in so a fair few things get a bit squashed.

The BEST answer is to go read the books because to answer all your questions requires a lot of spoilers


Spoiler:

The Empire is basically a feudal system. You have the Emperor on top, but underneath are various feudal houses which each have their own powerbase like lords in their castles (only they are rules of planets). The Emperor has his own powerbase and "house" as well, his is simply the most powerful that rose to the top and keeps the others in line.

We only interact with 2 of the houses in the film, but there are others in the stories and background.


Alongside you've got the Navigators who basically control all intergalactic space trade because they can use Spice which allows them to fold space and see the future which helps them with their space folding skills. The Spice Must Flow basically means that the Navigators don't care who rules the Empire, nor the powers of the various houses so long as the spice comes from Arrakis and does not stop - for if it stops then space travel stops and the Empire falls.

The House that controls Arrakis basically gains supreme power and income from the Spice trade and harvesting; however its only allowed for a limited time per house. This way the Emperor stops one house (including his own) from dominating the spice trade and thus inciting uprisings from others (Again the Navigators don't care and will transport armies between worlds for the houses that pay). There are even rules of war just like we have today - eg no use of nuclear weapons and such.


Then you've got the Gesserit who are basically a religious order.


The aftermath is that Paul basically joins the Fremen in a huge uprising on the planet, shifting the base of power from the Emperor to Arrakis and to the Fremen and remains of House Atreities. The point of it all for the Fremen is to retake their world; the point for Paul is revenge on the Harkonans and Emperor who all plotted against him and his family.

The book goes to about a similar end point and further stories carry on the tale for others and it should be noted that Paul isn't so much a super-being as a person who can see into the future from exposure to the Spice and the afterbirth water from a worm (that's the magical water - since regular water is poison to the worms)


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 Rob Lee wrote:
So, Dune...

Not the upcoming film but the original 1984 David Lynch film.

I'm sure back in the mists of time I've watched it before, but recently I thought, as I don't recall doing so, I'd watch it again. I don't read books much these days, so I try to watch the best film adaptations of books instead, however I'm aware that Dune so far doesn't really have a "best film adaptation", they'll all kind of the best of a bad bunch.

I've tried watching the extended version that floats around and a version with some weird animated opening, but hadn't been able to get past the homo-erotic sadomasochistic scenes featuring Baron Harkonen and only got as far as the Harkonen vs Atreides battle on Arrakis before I gave up and switched off.

Tonight I watched the original theatrical cut and finally managed to get all the way through the film.

And...

...I don't "get it".


Here's what I do "get" -


Spoiler:

There is an imperium, that spans a galaxy. A source of it's income is something called spice. Spice is only found on 1 planet, called Arrakis, which is controlled by the imperium.

You've got 3 feudal type groups running the imperium - house Atreides, house Harkonen and whatever the emperors house is called. Then you have the navigators guild, a bunch of weird slug creatures that can fold space (i.e. warp travel), and the Gesserit, a women only club of "witches". The emperor plots to ruin/destroy house Atreides because he believes they want to/will overthrow him. The Gesserit are waiting for and trying to engineer, usually by way of selective breeding, a "super being". And the navigators guild want Paul Atreides dead (presumably because they believe that he will become that "super being").

Arrakis's native people's are the Fremen. They're plotting to take the planet from the imperium at some point and have been stockpiling water (akin to gold as Arrakis is a desert planet).

Paul Atreides, after house Atreides is destroyed in an attack by house Harkonen, joins the Fremen, kind of becomes their leader, drinks some magic water and becomes the "super being" the Gesserit's have been waiting for.

Paul and the Fremen then battle it out with the emperor and Harkonen's, win, and Paul Atreides then creates a storm that brings rain, and it appears seas, to the desert world of Arrakis.


What I don't "get" -

What actually happens to Arrakis and the spice and what impact does whatever happens to it have on the imperium? What happens to the emperor, Paul, his sister, and the Fremen? What was the point of it all?


Thank you in advance for any enlightenment.


Arrakis becomes the center of government for the Empire. Spice remains the substance that keeps the whole thing moving (literally, their space travel method depends on it)
The old emperor is forcibly retired, and Paul becomes Emperor.
Paul's sister becomes his right hand
The Fremen become Paul's legions, and stomp the rest of the Empire into submission.

The point (of the Lynch film) is largely revenge, survival, and shenanigans with nobility. The messianic and philosophical elements (the metaphysical and moral implications of prescience, just government, personal and species survival, human mind and will over machine assistance, etc) from the books are largely dropped from the film... in favor sonic blasters and making it rain, because apparently miracles need to be melodramatic to count.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/20 01:00:28


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SoCal

The book makes it more clear that Paul is less a messianic savior than a charismatic tyrant.

   
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 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
The book makes it more clear that Paul is less a messianic savior than a charismatic tyrant.


I wouldn't say that. Paul really ends up trapping himself as neither.

But Dune plays up the messianic role for his rise among the Fremen. Messiah ironically follows his failure to escape the consequences of that mantle- the role matters a lot more than the man.

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North Wales

One thing to note in the David Lynch film is that the rain at the end doesn't happen in the book.

It was added to the film to give it the sense of a happy ending - because obviously, the whole problem with the universe was that Arrakis and by extension, the Fremen was suffering and oppressed because of the lack of water.

Didn't happen like that in the books. That sort of thing would have monumental consequences.

Paul Atreides in the film got reduced to a saviour type character for familiarity in the books it's not as simple (or as happy) as that.
   
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Leicester

Dune is effectively a deconstruction of the hero’s journey (which the film basically ignores); Paul doesn’t actually want to rule the Empire, but he has no choice; initially he is fighting purely for survival, later he adds a good dash of revenge into that and also trying to free his adopted people. There are multiple points, even at the climax, where he tries to find a way out that doesn’t require him to wage war against the whole of humanity, but even as a near omniscient superhuman, he can’t override the weight of history and societal pressures. Basically humans will be humans, and there’s nothing that anyone can do to stop it and precious little you can do to even direct it.

Think Monty Python’s Life of Brian, but done seriously.

So, to more directly answer your questions; Paul now has direct control of spice production, which is the basis of the entirety of human civilisation (not an oil metaphor at all, no siree!) His power is used to completely stifle any dissent from other factions and unleashes the Fremen on a holy war across the galaxy to enforce compliance and annihilate any opposition. He ends up moping on a throne in a giant palace on Arrakis, unable to really control any of this. Oh and he’s married to the former Emperor’s daughter, so it’s all technically legitimate and the Emperor just “retired” back to his home planet (alive, but effectively under house arrest).

As for his sister, that’d be spoilers.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Fun, huh?!

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/20 09:47:35


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It’s been a while since I’ve read Dune, and this is from memory, so if I’ve made any mistakes please correct me!

Spice is highly addictive and withdrawal is fatal, and at the time of the first book and movie, it is unable to be artificially produced so as Arrakis is the only source Arrakis is very important. Spice is used for many purposes, and is known for its mind expanding abilities and most of the nobles in Dune are spice addicts, so controlling it is very powerful.

Spice is also what allows navigators to fold space so is vital in order to maintain a galaxy spanning empire. The fact that spice is needed for this is a closely guarded secret of the navigator guild, which Paul discovers.
   
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The film is a glorious mess of 80s nonsense trying to overthink it will not end well

I'm still not sure why the change to Navigators, I'm fairly sure like 40k the ships engines do the space folding/warp jump and the navigators are needed to make sure you end up in the right place, and the Spice ups their mental ability to function as computers, as like 40k AI is forbidden, but again 80s

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Thanks guys. That makes a little more sense now. I guess that film is one of those you just have to write off as 2 hours ish of your life that you'll never get back. A shame because the aesthetic of the film is so good.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/20 18:43:26


 
   
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UK

 Rob Lee wrote:
Thanks guys. That makes a little more sense now. I guess that film is one of those you just have to write off as 2 hours ish of your life that you'll never get back. A shame because the aesthetic of the film is so good.


I view it more as a companion to the books than as a film to write off. Visually it captures the feel of the book fantastically well. It makes some changes and it rushes a good latter half of its own story (basically a huge amount of story after Paul escapes from the attack and joins the Fremen is missing and what is there is glossed over very fast) but in part that's because its trying to cover way too much book in one film. It's a film that makes more sense if you're already a fan of the book.

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 Turnip Jedi wrote:
The film is a glorious mess of 80s nonsense trying to overthink it will not end well

I'm still not sure why the change to Navigators, I'm fairly sure like 40k the ships engines do the space folding/warp jump and the navigators are needed to make sure you end up in the right place, and the Spice ups their mental ability to function as computers, as like 40k AI is forbidden, but again 80s


That is correct. As far as I can remember from the Butlerian Jihad books (they are a trilogy about the machine crusade, and describe the "invention" of the Navigators and Space folding travel.) Space-folding was invented first, but with no scientific way to see/measure planetary movement in real-time or even extrapolate into the future (because all we can see is where things were millions of years ago because of speed-of-light), lots of ships ended up flying into planets and suns. Safe travel was pure luck, with fleets loosing like 10% of their ships with each jump, and even those jumps were purposefully shorter to drop it down to that 10%.

But then the first of the Navigators was a genius inventor that discovered that copious amounts of Spice (which was worthless at the time) let her see across space to see where all the planets and spacial bodies in a system would be, so a ship could be guided to exist warp travel in a safe spot. But it also turned her into a monster with a giant brain and stunted limbs.

Without spice space travel is possible, but A: super slow, even by using super fast engines, or if using space folding tech, insanely risky.



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This thread is full of heresy.

The Lynch film rules! Sure, it may not be THE book Dune, but just a dune film, but it is amazing in its own right.

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Fixture of Dakka







For an alternative you might want to watch the Dune Miniseries from the SciFi channel. Although, it's less kind of a miniseries and almost more, 'a theatre production with some turn-of-the-century budget CGI.'

However, the additional length helps explain and flesh out the story more, the Baron very much is more of a Shakespearian type villain and character.

There's also a follow up film to this, called 'Children of Dune' staring a very young James McAvoy, that covers the next two books. It also has significantly better CGI, and looks more like a proper miniseries.
   
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 Easy E wrote:
This thread is full of heresy.

The Lynch film rules! Sure, it may not be THE book Dune, but just a dune film, but it is amazing in its own right.


Did you once see me say I didn’t like it?!

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MN

 Jadenim wrote:
 Easy E wrote:
This thread is full of heresy.

The Lynch film rules! Sure, it may not be THE book Dune, but just a dune film, but it is amazing in its own right.


Did you once see me say I didn’t like it?!


Good man! Good man. Carry-on!

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Aash wrote:
It’s been a while since I’ve read Dune, and this is from memory, so if I’ve made any mistakes please correct me!

Spice is highly addictive and withdrawal is fatal, and at the time of the first book and movie, it is unable to be artificially produced so as Arrakis is the only source Arrakis is very important. Spice is used for many purposes, and is known for its mind expanding abilities and most of the nobles in Dune are spice addicts, so controlling it is very powerful.

Spice is also what allows navigators to fold space so is vital in order to maintain a galaxy spanning empire. The fact that spice is needed for this is a closely guarded secret of the navigator guild, which Paul discovers.


Melange also extends your lifespan. So it's highly valuable at a personal level and a galactic level.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Compel wrote:
For an alternative you might want to watch the Dune Miniseries from the SciFi channel. Although, it's less kind of a miniseries and almost more, 'a theatre production with some turn-of-the-century budget CGI.'

However, the additional length helps explain and flesh out the story more, the Baron very much is more of a Shakespearian type villain and character.

There's also a follow up film to this, called 'Children of Dune' staring a very young James McAvoy, that covers the next two books. It also has significantly better CGI, and looks more like a proper miniseries.


Those miniseries handle some of the book themes better. Theater production is a good way to describe the style. They aren't bad.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/23 21:44:14


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 Rob Lee wrote:


What actually happens to Arrakis and the spice and what impact does whatever happens to it have on the imperium? What happens to the emperor, Paul, his sister, and the Fremen? What was the point of it all?


Thank you in advance for any enlightenment.


Mind you answer to these would require reading further books and reading storyline involving thousands of years. Dune is only the start.


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Yeah, and they get consistently more... I'm going to go with confusing, with every further book.

Other words are available.
   
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Would not be the first time a movie tried its best to put on the screen an enormous book - heck, even a short book can't easily be translated to a two-hour film.

I have always been of the contention that changes made to movies from what was done in the book come from books being a cerebral, thinking experience; whereas films are more visual, so something that works in a book would not work so well in a film. Mostly, it works to the film's advantage, but not always!

I was a big Dune book fan and read the three, and it was a hugely complex world and character development - any movie would struggle, unless it does the LOTR three movie run, but I think it would bog severly and then they might have to add more exciting 'fluff' (The Hobbit comes to mind) that just more confuses things, so I do not know what the answer should be.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/24 14:22:09


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IIRC, part of the issue for Lynch was that the studio mandated a 2-hour runtime. So it was a fool's errand. He shot a whole bunch of extra stuff...some made into that TV version, other parts didn't.

Of course, he also didn't help himself by wasting precious screen time on odd gak that wasn't in the books and didn't help move the story. Weirding modules, milking kitties, etc.

I'm a big Lynch fan and a big Dune fan. But IMO the result of those two colliding was some serious destructive interference. It's not a good movie.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/24 15:24:45


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 Compel wrote:
Yeah, and they get consistently more... I'm going to go with confusing, with every further book.

Other words are available.


I think they actually oscillate. I mean, they all have a hefty dollop of incomprehensible dialogue, but compared to Dune Messiah, Children of Dune is a fairly breezy adventure. Then comes the plodding God Emperor of Dune which is the make-it-or-break-it sequel for most people. Heretics of Dune is practically a pulp era space opera in comparison, with new factions, gadgets and powers. Chapterhouse Dune was more of the same, although I set it aside halfway through in that I left it in a suitcase and couldn’t find it until I had switched to another book.

Really hope that Marty and Daniel plot pays off.

   
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Huh. I'd call Children the plodding one. Its basically nothing but children-that-don't-act-like-children ruminating over nonsense philosophy the whole way through.

Its like someone re-wrote the Frodo & Sam bits of LotR and said, 'Ok, now do it again, but less interesting and more pretentious.'

With a bonus ending of 'Oh, I found a safe way out of this logic trap.' 'Well, crap.'
Spoiler:
'Right, nevermind that, time to marry you off, make a big show of a fake incestual marriage and go on with the terrible plan anyway'

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/25 00:34:45


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I think one problem with Children is that Other Memory just isn't as compelling as prescience as the chief power wielded by the protagonists. It's actually kinda creepy in some ways. Maybe a lot of ways.

I still like it though...it completes 'the thought' of the original trilogy. If you skip Messiah or Children, you miss Herbert's point.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/25 01:37:16


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Dune also had some plodding parts. Children has intrigue, more action than Messiah or God Emperor, and an assassination plot involving trained tigers. Then it ends with what I can only describe as one of the squickier superhero origin stories. Maybe if I hadn’t read it right after Messiah I would have found it more tedious, but to me it had the same pacing as the first book.

   
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When was Enders Game published? Maybe Herbert thought he also needed precocious children looking at the emperors new clothes as well

Please excuse any spelling errors. I use a tablet frequently and software keyboards are a pain!

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Ender’s Game was published almost ten years after Children of Dune. Might have been less of you consider the original (and superior) short story that Ender’s Game is based on.

   
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Ah, fair enough

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Cool character posters are here. Gotta love that cast!

https://nerdist.com/article/dune-character-posters-paul-chani-stilgar-baron-harkonnen/

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I got tickets to see the first 10 minutes/exclusive footage of the new movie tomorrow night including the new upcoming trailer. No phones allowed in, but I don't think I have to sign an NDA and can speak about it afterwards. I'm not even 100% sure i'll make it there, it's going to take hours to drive there. But I am going to try and make it. Despite having a pass they aren't guaranteeing a seat either.

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