Plus News & Notes
I'm yet to see Dune and oddly don't feel particularly compelled to. I've always meant to read the novel before watching the Lynch film and have so far done neither. While that is clearly an issue, I've also fallen out of love with Villeneuve's work a bit. I re-watched both Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 in recent months and, while they are spectacular in some respects, they are also a little clunky. For all they look incredible, they are both surprisingly quite weighed down with clunky exposition that prevents them from being masterpieces. On first viewing, I thought BR2049 enriched the original Blade Runner, but second time around I was left feeling a little flat. All of the rich religious subtext I'd gotten excited about in the cinema just didn't seem all that interesting. Arrival bowled me over emotionally the first time I saw it, but much of its cleverness was down to the way the narrative unfolds. Its remarkable that Villeneuve made a film about language so visually arresting and Amy Adams is phenomenal in it, but there's just something lacking. Its hard to put a finger on what exactly. Something about your Dune review kind of nailed it for me even though I've not seen that specific film. It makes me wonder whether Prisoners was his best film all along. All of this has made me really want to finally grab a copy of the novel anyway, so that's something!
Hey that first Dharmanaut guided meditation is a gem, thanks for making that available.
An alternate title for this could be Dune of the Dead...Dude?
Meta-jokes aside, I had similar feels about Dune. Technically astounding. Emotionally sparse. All the king's money and talent can't breathe life into a remake of a remake of a never-to-be Jodorowsky’s fever dream live-action take on a literary work. Imagine if Villeneuve imagined a film more true to Jodorowsky. THAT would have been amazing. Alas, profit before profundity is our cult.
I mean, the loop we are caught in isn't even strange. Micro to Macro, it's predictable. Boring. The earworm of Empire pervades our stories, pursuits, and meaning-making. Even Herbert's imagination was bound to it.
As far as the Dead are concerned, I can't relate beyond my ghost-dad's brags of limousine rides with Garcia after performances... Yeah, there's definitely some meta to unpack there.
Yikes. It's easy to be critical. Especially as a societal bummer-accounting fellow grizzled "Gen X dude". It's harder to unflatten my imagination. I'm chronically caught beginning to begin to write stories that break the binary ouroboros-fractal Imperial Hero-Savior echo Journey. Do some already exist? If so, might you have some suggestions for this tragically underread guy?
Let me end on a Grateful note: I appreciate your words and look forward to your gestating book.
Thanks for breaking the ice on saying that DUNE, while faithful and gorgeous, lacked something essential. Can't love it the way I wanted to on two viewings in the cramped sietch of IMAX. I find myself rooting for the Dunatics on YouTube who are salivating over all their favorite moments and scenes that will, of course, be there in the 8-hour extended edition. Can't count on that, nor on the second half redeeming the first, although that is a currently possible future I espy. Stay tuned to https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15239678/ to find out whether/who will play Shaddam, Irulan, Feyd, what the Navigators look like, etc.
I did notice more flashes of interiority than you mention; just that, premonitory visions that flash, disembodied voices (thematically important obtrusions of Bene Gesserit collective unconscious) and the like; hard to read unless you are willing the movie to be its deepest self. The clearest representation of Paul's awareness of multiple futurities are the Jamis sequences: he would be Paul's desert mentor, except that he cannot be, so some of Paul's grasp of Fremen Dune-smarts come from these memories of precluded futures. Moving moment in the book is when Paul sees a future when Jamis kills him in the Amtal Rule combat: Jamis takes Paul's hand as he dies, signaling his respect for a worth opponent. In the movie, Paul takes Jamis' hand when the positions are reversed, although it now just signifies Paul paying respect in farewell to his mentor.
I'd love to see DUDE. Beer is the mind-killer?