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XionHorsey

Hi! Hi!
I watched Dune last week and loved it. I consider it the best adaptation overall. However, the first Baron and De Vries will always be my favorite(“It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.”). The other parts coming out was a foregone conclusion.

The Sardukar scene sticks out big time. Loved the throat singing.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
I watched Sonic the Hedgehog with my daughter because she loves Sonic, at least enough to pay attention to a third of the movie. I was sadly disappointed, sad because I ever thought I might not be disappointed. I figured Jim Carrey mugging would at least provide some nostalgia, but it just wasn't the same. Anyway, still a contender for best movie based on a video game... again, sadly!
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Seeing Dune tomorrow. Renting out a whole theater with a group of 8-10 friends.

I watched Sonic the Hedgehog with my daughter because she loves Sonic, at least enough to pay attention to a third of the movie. I was sadly disappointed, sad because I ever thought I might not be disappointed. I figured Jim Carrey mugging would at least provide some nostalgia, but it just wasn't the same. Anyway, still a contender for best movie based on a video game... again, sadly!

Sonic… yeah you know what, it wasn’t nearly as bad as i thought it’d be. Not that it’s GOOD. But yeah, merely lame and not raunchy. That’s a win for video game adaptations! Perhaps even more surprising is that Sonic somehow continues to manifest cultural relevance for kids from the air itself. How does Sonic even matter to them anymore?
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Seeing Dune tomorrow. Renting out a whole theater with a group of 8-10 friends.

Wow, that's dedication to the experience. Genuinely hope you enjoy the movie and have a great time.

Sonic… yeah you know what, it wasn’t nearly as bad as i thought it’d be. Not that it’s GOOD. But yeah, merely lame and not raunchy. That’s a win for video game adaptations!

Yeah, it's a winner in performance relative to expectations, but I'd already heard it wasn't bad so actually hoped it might be legitimately clever or something (the first Pirates of the Caribbean is the ultimate example of this "so not bad it seems good" phenomenon). Sonic was likable though, it had some jokes land, is largely innocent fun, and of course they pull the whole "he's my friend" routine at the end that's won hearts and minds and watered little eyes in kiddie movies since our day. It also basically just stuck Sonic into a generic light kid's comedy rather than making "a Sonic movie." In this regard it was aiming low but at least hit its mark; the ball is in your cinematic court, Chris Pratt Mario... *shudder*

Perhaps even more surprising is that Sonic somehow continues to manifest cultural relevance for kids from the air itself. How does Sonic even matter to them anymore?

My daughter likes that he's fast, bright blue and wags his finger at you. As ever, it's the style and 'tude. We're just lucky he wasn't a mascot for cigarettes or something. Plus, when the kids grow up they can discover their sexual identity with Sonic too! What a character.
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
Just finished Dune. I think it does a good job adapting the source material in a way that Lynch's veered to become very much its own thing by the end. The problem with that approach is that because it's not a novel, there is a lot of subtext in the earlier scenes that will just completely miss viewers who never read the book. But for those of us familiar with the book, the critical mass of material is still present in this movie. And that's pretty cool. This does feel like Dune, to me. That's a success.

It's entirely possible that I liked watching Dune more than I liked the actual movie. It was the first time I'd been in a theater in a while, and my brain had gotten used to the more subdued home TV or even phone-watching experience. This was a nice showpiece for theater, and jolted me back to the possibilities of it. The watching also benefited from me sitting next to two friends who have no experience with Dune ("so what, it's got big worms or something?") and the aftermath of them both being head over heels for it and asking me all sorts of questions. There's also an aspect of a deep part of me wanting to support any big-budget sci-fi that's at least competent, because it's been I dunno, decades? since the last one I can even think of.

Now that all the positives are out of the way, let's talk about the casting! I had a problem as soon as I saw the first trailer, and that problem remained in the movie. This is a star-studded cast. But these choices aren't great for their respective roles, and I think that hurts the movie in ways non-book readers probably won't even notice. Let's do the worst first: Oscar Isaac offers a weak, impotent rendition of Duke Leto. I have the same reservations about Paul's casting. The Atreides are all about leadership through charisma and machismo. And the Duke's character in particular should come across as masculine and tragic. Isaac simply can't achieve either of these. There's an odd mopeyness to both Isaac and Chalamet. Neither look like they want to be on screen. And neither have the presence to carry group scenes at all. The other cast members do it for them, every time. Stellan Sarsgaard, who I've loved in pretty much everything I've seen of his work, was Baron Harkkonen, one of my favorite villains. But this is more like the demo version of Baron Harkkonen. He's quite subdued. I got more of a gassy Tony Soprano vibe from him than the bloodthirsty evil genius he's supposed to be, and that's unfortunate. Lynch's Baron provided the appropriate spine tingles. Even if he leaned into it a bit too much, at least he left an impression! The soundtrack in Sarsgaard's scenes left a bigger impression than his Baron. And of course, Paul. Listen, I get that this kid's a hot item right now, and that means more people (women included) will discover Dune. Contrast that with an unknown lead, and the benefits are obvious. That's great. But the result is a very leaden Paul. He's supposed to be impressive enough to start a universe-scale uprising. But Chalamet looks like he wants to mope in a corner the entire movie, and not just the appropriate "reluctant leader" facet of his character. Instead, it comes across as him not having the spine to embrace the character.

Whew, that's a whole lot, but I couldn't help myself because that aspect CAST a big shadow over my experience.

I think splitting this movie into parts was probably smart, and I'm glad it was successful enough to be greenlit. But the first part was the easy section. It gets harder from here. The book itself gets more confusing and more choppy in how it slices through events, and I'm not so sure that it fits so neatly into one movie. But I never expected this to work either, so I'll be interested to see if they can pull it off again.

In short: Dune's a spectacle. You should absolutely go see it if you're at all interested in sci-fi or moviegoing. I think it's pretty good.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
It's entirely possible that I liked watching Dune more than I liked the actual movie. It was the first time I'd been in a theater in a while, and my brain had gotten used to the more subdued home TV or even phone-watching experience. This was a nice showpiece for theater, and jolted me back to the possibilities of it.

Sounds like the phenomenon when I saw Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on steroids, wherein everyone had a good old time at the theater, but we hadn't got to think much about the movie yet. At least this film gives you something to work with as far as liking it outside the context of how you saw it. I wonder how much my experience was hurt by watching the beginning half asleep on my couch and then with the wife and kid buzzing around the next morning. Part of the moviegoing experience isn't just the screen size or communal aspect, it's also how you're focused on the experience inside yourself, there, present, actively watching something that won't stop and start for you but that you've got to stop and make the time for; you're watching on the film's terms.

There's also an aspect of a deep part of me wanting to support any big-budget sci-fi that's at least competent, because it's been I dunno, decades? since the last one I can even think of.

Well, there have been a few; how about this director's two previous movies? =)

Now that all the positives are out of the way, let's talk about the casting! I had a problem as soon as I saw the first trailer, and that problem remained in the movie. This is a star-studded cast. But these choices aren't great for their respective roles, and I think that hurts the movie in ways non-book readers probably won't even notice. Let's do the worst first: Oscar Isaac offers a weak, impotent rendition of Duke Leto. I have the same reservations about Paul's casting. The Atreides are all about leadership through charisma and machismo. And the Duke's character in particular should come across as masculine and tragic. Isaac simply can't achieve either of these. There's an odd mopeyness to both Isaac and Chalamet. Neither look like they want to be on screen. And neither have the presence to carry group scenes at all. The other cast members do it for them, every time. Stellan Sarsgaard, who I've loved in pretty much everything I've seen of his work, was Baron Harkkonen, one of my favorite villains. But this is more like the demo version of Baron Harkkonen. He's quite subdued.

I think at this point we have to assign responsibility to the director for these choices and the overall tone, because these actors, at least Isaac and certainly Skarsgard, are capable of delivering memorable performances appropriate for these characters, but what they're doing instead is pretty much in line with the rest of the film. Everyone speaks in monotone, the only actors I can think of that really get to show any character are Jason Mamoa and Sharon Duncan-Brewster, and they oddly stick out for it. Even Dave Bautista as Beast Rabban is a bore! And he and Chalamet are basically the only ones that even get to raise their voices (once each).

Lynch's Baron provided the appropriate spine tingles. Even if he leaned into it a bit too much, at least he left an impression!

Maybe Villeneuve was basically trying to avoid any sort of wild interpretations like that; again, this was adapted with the grandeur and reverence of a Biblical epic, which has its appeal, but can also come off a bit cold or dry at times.
 
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Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
I kinda forgot about Blade Runner, but indeed I should have remembered Arrival. I didn't though! See? :shrug:

I think these movies just don't mean as much to us as, gulp, decades ago, but something we're already invested in like Dune can tap back into that in a way something purely contemporary like Arrival can't. However good these movies are, we can't grow up with them anymore.
 
That's positive coming from you Walter! And, from someone who loves the book, it's encouraging to read for many viewers who may not have read the book and/ or were on the fence of watching Dune.

I watched Dune on HBO Max and also in the theater on IMAX. With Lincoln Center's IMAX, it's massive in the sense - it's very tall, but not as wide. So it was nice to watch it on HBO Max because I could tell there were corners that were cut out of the visuals to fit Lincoln Center's IMAX screen, and it becomes apparent only in a few battle scenes where everything that's taking place is not necessarily positioned in the middle of the screen. My experience with Dune was full of expectations sadly, because of the hype around the movie and everyone online saying it was the best sci-fi movie they'd watched in a decade or something. And that's where after watching the film, my take away was more "the movie is good, but it's also not all that" and instantly re-watched Blade Runner 20149 which to me, instantly felt like a harder sci-fi film with a better soundtrack and bigger scope than Dune itself - maybe because you're thrown in various cities and landscapes within Blade Runner while there's more desert in this Dune (? sounds silly typing that thought process). But aside from that sort of nit-picking, I agree with Walter on the casting. I'm not particularly fond of Aquaman either, because he plays himself in every movie he's in - cue the hunched forward excited run with a grinning face in all his movies haha. Overall, this Dune did feel more accessible to folks who had no idea of what Dune's about. I liked it, and I'll definitely watch the sequel when it's out - on HBO Max and IMAX if I can :farnese:
 

Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I think these movies just don't mean as much to us as, gulp, decades ago, but something we're already invested in like Dune can tap back into that in a way something purely contemporary like Arrival can't. However good these movies are, we can't grow up with them anymore.
How did you feel about Annihilation?
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
I think these movies just don't mean as much to us as, gulp, decades ago, but something we're already invested in like Dune can tap back into that in a way something purely contemporary like Arrival can't. However good these movies are, we can't grow up with them anymore.
How did you feel about Annihilation?

Can I insert myself in this convo to say that "no, it's the children who are wrong". These older movies are dearer to our hearts because they were objectively better, and fuck anyone who's saying otherwise. Annihilation was interesting but boring, Arrival was Big Hollywood Bucks forgettable, and this Dune movie couldn't compel me to the theater despite the fact I own two different anniversary editions of the book. Of course there was also a lot of garbage back then, and there's many good movies nowadays too (don't ask me to name one though), but so much of what comes out of Hollywood these days is prepackaged, soulless products for the mindless consuming hordes.

Well, back to watching Seinfeld and early seasons of the Simpsons! :troll:
 
Speaking of soulless Aaz, how do you guys feel about Tenet? Outside of the technical aspects of how it was filmed, the cinematography (those 2 things I did appreciate in this one) - it felt like a cold, math problem than a well-rounded sci-fi thriller. In a way it reminded me of Primer, but at least with Primer I wanted to get to the end to fully understand and watch it again.

Amongst other 'good' things Villeneuve brings to the sci-fi genre (like more interest, possibility of bigger projects, etc.), I like the fact that his movies aren't crammed into a 2 hour rush job like other big budget movies. I guess him and Nolan have that pull with studios to make that happen?
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Speaking of soulless Aaz, how do you guys feel about Tenet? Outside of the technical aspects of how it was filmed, the cinematography (those 2 things I did appreciate in this one) - it felt like a cold, math problem than a well-rounded sci-fi thriller. In a way it reminded me of Primer, but at least with Primer I wanted to get to the end to fully understand and watch it again.

Haven't seen it, didn't feel like paying $15 for it or whatever given that everyone whose opinion I value told me it sucked. Primer was pretty neat so comparing it to that is a compliment, but the feeling I got was that it merely pretended to be smart about its plot while it was just a veneer of artificial complexity for what amounts to nothing much in the end. All of that to say... I'll watch it someday but my expectations are low. Keep in mind I thought Interstellar was overrated, despite great visuals and nice performances.

Amongst other 'good' things Villeneuve brings to the sci-fi genre (like more interest, possibility of bigger projects, etc.), I like the fact that his movies aren't crammed into a 2 hour rush job like other big budget movies.

Yeah that's true. It's not just an endless sequence of fast moving bright lights like in the Marvel or Star Wars movies.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
My experience with Dune was full of expectations sadly, because of the hype around the movie and everyone online saying it was the best sci-fi movie they'd watched in a decade or something. And that's where after watching the film, my take away was more "the movie is good, but it's also not all that" and instantly re-watched Blade Runner 20149 which to me, instantly felt like a harder sci-fi film with a better soundtrack and bigger scope than Dune itself - maybe because you're thrown in various cities and landscapes within Blade Runner while there's more desert in this Dune (? sounds silly typing that thought process).

No, I know what you mean, this movie feels like it basically has one setting, everywhere is lit the same way, and a very simplified story where they basically spend an hour and a half moving and then immediately get trashed. I agree about 2049 having a lot more to offer.

How did you feel about Annihilation?

Even though I knew it's not what you were talking about my brain instantly went to the famously bad Mortal Kombat sequel. =) I haven't seen the one you're talking about and had to google it to remember what it was, "...oh yeah with Natalie Portman...":shrug:

Can I insert myself in this convo to say that "no, it's the children who are wrong". These older movies are dearer to our hearts because they were objectively better, and fuck anyone who's saying otherwise.
Of course there was also a lot of garbage back then, and there's many good movies nowadays too (don't ask me to name one though), but so much of what comes out of Hollywood these days is prepackaged, soulless products for the mindless consuming hordes.

Although you're definitely an old man yelling at a cloud, I would agree that even the corporate bullshit of our day was so unsophisticated by comparison that they basically couldn't help but let artists create weird stuff and then try to sell it to us. That was the only way they could get product! Now they literally have an algorithm determining everything.

Well, back to watching Seinfeld and early seasons of the Simpsons! :troll:

Good stuff! Don't forget to watch Breaking Bad though. :slan:

Keep in mind I thought Interstellar was overrated, despite great visuals and nice performances.

I actually think it's generally regarded as overrated, at least by sci-fi wonks, to the point it's kind of underrated. It basically comes down to a couple of bouts of nonsensical sentimentality, Anne Hathaway's objectively cringey speech on love being the most powerful element in the universe or whatever (maybe it was an homage to The Fifth Element =) and the insane inter-dimensional bookshelf of infinite time and space, which they did just to mindfuck us, but for all the wrong reasons. Beside all that, it's about a dude ditching his family to surf black holes and save the world, yada yada yada, he did it, got to say goodbye to his daughter that's now twice his age, and now he's going back for the girl that happened to be right and got screwed. Oh, and I love the villain... Mann! :ganishka:

Yeah that's true. It's not just an endless sequence of fast moving bright lights like in the Marvel or Star Wars movies.

Well, you're going to love Guardians of Arrakis, Vol. 2: Pass the Spice, Bro, "I AM WORM!"
 
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Walter

Administrator
Staff member
I haven't seen the one you're talking about and had to google it to remember what it was, "...oh yeah with Natalie Portman...":shrug:
See? See?! :ganishka: It's been a pretty rotten few decades for sci-fi when the biggest releases (note: not best) we can point to are remakes or extensions of swollen franchises that are themselves decades old.
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
See? See?! :ganishka: It's been a pretty rotten few decades for sci-fi when the biggest releases (note: not best) we can point to are remakes or extensions of swollen franchises that are themselves decades old.

Yeah, what happened to classic originals like... Aliens!? =)

My point isn't so much that I don't prefer everything from 20-30 years ago and more that Dune Part I isn't the Paul Atreides that's going to start the new revolution, and by the time Dune Part II comes out you'll have forgotten Villeneuve made this one too because you have a life.
 

Aazealh

Administrator
Staff member
Although you're definitely an old man yelling at a cloud, I would agree that even the corporate bullshit of our day was so unsophisticated by comparison that they basically couldn't help but let artists create weird stuff and then try to sell it to us. That was the only way they could get product! Now they literally have an algorithm determining everything.

Yeah and I feel like (maybe naively) that the corporate crap wasn't as pervasive as it is today. You still had cool stuff coming out that was artistically motivated and not the result of calculations on what you bring in the most money.

Good stuff! Don't forget to watch Breaking Bad though. :slan:

Just after The Wire and the The Sopranos!

I actually think it's generally regarded as overrated, at least by sci-fi wonks, to the point it's kind of underrated. It basically comes down to a couple of bouts of nonsensical sentimentality, Anne Hathaway's objectively cringey speech on love being the most powerful element in the universe or whatever (maybe it was an homage to The Fifth Element =) and the insane inter-dimensional bookshelf of infinite time and space, which they did just to mindfuck us, but for all the wrong reasons. Beside all that, it's about a dude ditching his family to surf black holes and save the world, yada yada yada, he did it, got to say goodbye to his daughter that's now twice his age, and now he's going back for the girl that happened to be right and got screwed. Oh, and I love the villain... Mann! :ganishka:

You know, I think I'd be down for a recut version where he just never goes back. :iva:
 

Griffith

With the streak of a tear, Like morning dew
Yeah and I feel like (maybe naively) that the corporate crap wasn't as pervasive as it is today. You still had cool stuff coming out that was artistically motivated and not the result of calculations on what you bring in the most money.

I think you're absolutely right, it simply wasn't as pervasive, advanced and obviously not merged with big tech yet. In a strange, beautiful way the studios could only meddle so much because nobody knew what they were doing, and even the execs thought they were big creative types too (look at those Amy Pascal emails from years ago; a perspective from a bygone time =). Now there's no such illusions and all this shit is groupthink'd or crowd-sourced at conception.

Just after The Wire and the The Sopranos!

Dude, The Sopranos too!? Yeesh...

You know, I think I'd be down for a recut version where he just never goes back. :iva:

It would have been a fine ending if he just never saw anybody again, but I actually like the very ending when he's basically going to rescue her/start a new life because his old one essentially timed out. I just think this movie had a lot of cool concepts, specifically serious interstellar travel for the future of mankind, that shouldn't be relegated for also containing elements of the same pseudo-scientific mysticism, for the sake of human drama, that pretty much all the contenders we've mentioned have in some measure. I see people leaving this off their even their modern lists in favor of "Evil A.I./Robot Story #3564." I blame Anne Hathaway. =)
 
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