The Good Stuff

Dune

I feel like an apostate who has just experienced a religious revival, like my faith had lapsed for years and years and was suddenly reignited.

I have read and reread Frank Herbert’s Dune many times over the years (though I haven’t revisited any of the sequels in quite some time), most recently about a decade ago. I was in the theater on opening day for David Lynch’s adaptation in 1984, and still have the one page “Glossary” that was handed out to moviegoers at the door. I watched the Sci Fi channel miniseries, and liked them well enough. But I haven’t thought about Dune much in recent years, and even after seeing the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation last year I didn’t really get my hopes up, despite having loved Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Then I watched the movie on Friday.

I’ve spent the two days since then listening to Hans Zimmer’s three soundtrack albums (The Dune Sketchbook, featuring long moody pieces of atmospheric music from the film, is probably my favorite of the three), getting my hands on a copy of the book to replace the many copies I have sold or traded in over the years, and clearing room in my To Read pile to dive into a lengthy reading project. I don’t know if I’ll make it all the way to Chapterhouse: Dune for the first time since the 80s, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

I absolutely loved Villeneuve’s adaptation. The casting was perfect. The music and sound design was sublime. The cinematography and visual effects, the production design and wardrobe, the all of it and everything, just fantastic. And I’m overjoyed to see that it is connecting with viewers, both longtime fans of the books and general audiences who are experiencing Herbert’s world for the first time. I’m glad that a sequel seems likely, and delighted to learn that a prequel series focusing on the Bene Gesserit is in the works for HBO Max, with Diane Ademu-John attached as writer and showrunner and Villeneuve onboard to direct the pilot.

I know a lot of my friends have already watched the movie multiple times over the weekend, but I’m waiting to watch it again next week, when I introduce it to my kid who will be watching it with fresh eyes. I’m curious to see what he makes of it, and will be ready and waiting to answer any questions he has about the world of Dune.

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