Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Dune (2021)

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    #61
    Before streaming, TV had short episodes and rarely developed characters beyond 30minutes. THE MOVIES were sort of the place to get more fleshed out stories and characters, but as streaming began to allow true long form work to be done, and cable TV shows began developing incredibly long character arcs, the feature film began to feel a bit thin, by comparison. It is still an important craft or art, but certainly the movies are feeling the need to develop characters further, pushing features into that 3hr territory. Dune is that next step, making half a movie that will fit into a whole later on. I can't say it is a harbinger for the art and craft of feature films, but it certainly is blurring the lines between a mini series and a movie.

    Comment


      #62
      Ten Commandments was 3hr 40min. I broadly agree with you, and I think it's kind of like anamorphic lenses as a response to square TVs--a means of differentiating "CINEMA". Dune is only 2hr 35min by comparison. Literary stories often get split into multiple movies because of the amount of plot and character development you can contain in a film. You can make a short story into a feature, for crying out loud.

      But I get your point, that we may see more super-sizing features to make it clear it's not a show.

      Personally, I think that what makes features feel thin is a lack of large ensemble and complex set pieces (for budget reasons) and a diminishing standard of quality/perfectionism (also due to budget and shorter schedule). But you look at Gravity - that's a damn feature, no doubt. And at only 1hr 31min.
      www.VideoAbe.com

      "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

      Comment


        #63
        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
        Ten Commandments was 3hr 40min. Dune is only 2hr 35min by comparison. Literary stories often get split into multiple movies because of the amount of plot and character development you can contain in a film. You can make a short story into a feature, for crying out loud.
        Keep in mind that Dune Part 1 is over 2hrs while only being half of a film. Even 'The Ten Commandments' had an intermission. So it is more like:

        Ten Commandments - 3h40m with intermission (Spanning a world known figure's entire life)
        Dune Part 1 and 2 - 5+ hours (Spanning a few years in a cult classic)

        Whereas some films feel like the film makers were being gratuitous with the run time, think Quinten Tarrantino, others seem like cash grabs, think last film in a series broken up into 2 movies.


        Dune sits somewhere in the middle. It needs a longer run time to do any justice to the book, yet at teh same time, it is coming out during an IP hungry industry trying to eat up as many profits as possible for one thing. If the first part of the film felt tighter and the characters felt more grounded and performances more engaging, then I might be able to stand up and slow clap with a happy frown of approval. Instead, I am happy enough to see something nice. I don't think a movie really has to be anything more than that. Any criticisms I have of the film are purely aspirational, as I don't know if I'll ever achieve the level of film making they have. But even the drunkest uncle has opinions about how a sports match should have gone.


        I broadly agree with you, and I think it's kind of like anamorphic lenses as a response to square TVs--a means of differentiating "CINEMA".
        Yes, it is just an evolution. Not better or worse.

        But some will lament the loss of the academy ratio, but others believe two-four-oh is the only true ratio for the craft.

        There was a window in a corporate/industrial build that I would look out of, and there really wasn't much of a view, so one day I measured it and found out it was exactly 2.35:1 ratio. made me wonder if there isn't something to that ratio. haha


        I don't know where the feature film is headed, but movies gravitating towards bankable IP and a series of films that hook and audience is seeming to be what the industry thinks they should be. We have Marvel and Twilight, Star Wars, Dune, Hunger Games. Anything and everything with tons of IP and a built in audience. So, why is Dune going fo the long form structure, is interesting deviation. Much like the last book in HP and Twilight, split into 2 to maximize profit and for fan service. Marvel did that too recently, and thankfully Starwars EP9 did not. One can assume that because a single feature and a mini series were already made that the next available variation was the long form film. An interesting progression that I am keeping an eye on. in the past few years, I have heard many feature film and would be feature film makers discuss and even lament the ability of long form to have so much more richness and depth over feature films. Now, if people aren't needing to go to a theater to see a film, does that change the notion of "the big budget" movie to go beyond the feature format? The makers/owners of Dune seem to think so.



        Comment


          #64
          But I am not a business person, so I don't particularly like to talk about the business of film making, but in seeing the market place evolve, it does lend opportunity to artist and crafts people to flex in new directions.

          My main interest in this thread, however is discussing what Dune did well and looking for theories on why some things fell flat.
          Last edited by James0b57; 11-18-2021, 07:38 PM.

          Comment


            #65
            Originally posted by James0b57 View Post
            Keep in mind that Dune Part 1 is over 2hrs while only being half of a film. Even 'The Ten Commandments' had an intermission. So it is more like:

            Ten Commandments - 3h40m with intermission (Spanning a world known figure's entire life)
            Dune Part 1 and 2 - 5+ hours (Spanning a few years in a cult classic)
            Well, the beauty of storytelling is that you can expand or contract any amount of story time into any amount of medium length, depending on how you tell the story. The book of Exodus has 26,000 words. The novel Dune has 188,000 words. Shouldn't we expect the movie version of Dune to last 7 times as long as The Ten Commandments? Just kidding. Gravity takes place in almost realtime.

            How long it takes you to tell the story depends on the story and how you want to tell it. What parts can you omit, what parts do you want to linger on, how best to fit the entire arc into the approximate amount of time/space you want to put it in.

            I think it's better to ask if it worked emotionally/enjoyably or not than to assess the piece quantitatively.

            I'm also not totally convinced that Dune is "half of a film" just because it corresponds to a section of the novel. (Also, Villeneuve may make it a trilogy, which I think would be preferable.) The Hobbit was made into three films. Are they not freestanding films? The original star wars trilogy could probably have been written as a single novel, but of course it began life as a screenplay. (Incidentally, each of the LOTR books is about 150,000 words whereas the Hobbit is only 95,000 and was expanded into 3 films on its own. But, in my opinion, the Hobbit should have been a single film. Not out of principle but because it could have comfortably fit in one.)


            Whereas some films feel like the film makers were being gratuitous with the run time, think Quinten Tarrantino, others seem like cash grabs, think last film in a series broken up into 2 movies.
            Yeah, but again, I feel like this just comes down to good taste and good directing. You gotta know when to hold it and know when to fold it. Generally, it's better to do more with less. Dunkirk was 1hr 46min and I thought it was great. Interstellar was 2hr 49min and I thought it sucked.

            Dune sits somewhere in the middle. It needs a longer run time to do any justice to the book, yet at teh same time, it is coming out during an IP hungry industry trying to eat up as many profits as possible for one thing. If the first part of the film felt tighter and the characters felt more grounded and performances more engaging, then I might be able to stand up and slow clap with a happy frown of approval. Instead, I am happy enough to see something nice. I don't think a movie really has to be anything more than that. Any criticisms I have of the film are purely aspirational, as I don't know if I'll ever achieve the level of film making they have. But even the drunkest uncle has opinions about how a sports match should have gone.
            There are plenty of viable criticisms of Villeneuve's Dune, but I was very pleased that it engaged me on a basic get-excited-for-the-characters-and-plot level that I'm often too critically-minded to achieve. There have been many high-profile disappointments for me in this area, including Interstellar, Inception, Avatar, superhero movies, the list goes on and on... Dune was a triumphant success for me because I compare it to recent big-budget films. It also just didn't seem like mindless pandering of fast-paced cutting and shaky handheld BS. It had a stately feel that allowed me to drink in the beauty and follow the action.

            Alfonso Cuaron is another director who gets me invested. Gravity was great, although I thought the themes were a little simplistic. Children of Men is one of my all-time favorites.

            It's tricky for me to evaluate the runtime of this film because I watched it in 3 parts. Not out of boredom or fatigue, but because life gets in the way. If I get to see it in theaters, maybe I'll have a negative reaction to the runtime.

            I don't know where the feature film is headed, but movies gravitating towards bankable IP and a series of films that hook and audience is seeming to be what the industry thinks they should be.
            I think this is pretty old news by now. I don't blame Dune. From famous "IP" (can we just call them stories?) I would like to see (or make) an adaptation of Brave New World. (But I'm not surprised that a big budget version of it doesn't exist since it's basically a blistering critique of our economic and cultural system.)


            We have Marvel and Twilight, Star Wars, Dune, Hunger Games. Anything and everything with tons of IP and a built in audience. So, why is Dune going fo the long form structure, is interesting deviation. Much like the last book in HP and Twilight, split into 2 to maximize profit and for fan service. Marvel did that too recently, and thankfully Starwars EP9 did not. One can assume that because a single feature and a mini series were already made that the next available variation was the long form film. An interesting progression that I am keeping an eye on. in the past few years, I have heard many feature film and would be feature film makers discuss and even lament the ability of long form to have so much more richness and depth over feature films. Now, if people aren't needing to go to a theater to see a film, does that change the notion of "the big budget" movie to go beyond the feature format? The makers/owners of Dune seem to think so.
            Question - do you think that the entirety of the Dune novel could have comfortably fit in a 3-hour film? I didn't particularly feel like this had a languid pace. If anything, I would have liked to see more development of the central relationships and the minor characters. And there's plenty more room for world-building and exposition.
            www.VideoAbe.com

            "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

            Comment


              #66
              Originally posted by James0b57 View Post
              But I am not a business person, so I don't particularly like to talk about the business of film making, but in seeing the market place evolve, it does lend opportunity to artist and crafts people to flex in new directions.

              My main interest in this thread, however is discussing what Dune did well and looking for theories on why some things fell flat.
              We probably have to agree on what fell flat before figuring out why. When I look at the emotional arc of Dune relative to any of the original Star Wars trilogy, it seems to me that each of those films had a singular climax late in the movie, concluding roughly the same amount of time before the end. That gave them a very satisfying catharsis with enough time to come down.

              Same thing with Dunkirk - all 3 editing timelines coincide at a pivotal moment when we're suspended in doubt of the main character's survival. He pulls through, and there's enough time left in the film to relax a little and ponder the themes.

              Gravity was a little dissatisfying for me at the end because it had a great climax when she re-entered the atmosphere and survived. But the very end was a bit abrupt. She got out and walked on land in a kind of primeval birth-of-man way, but it wasn't enough time or development for me to process what preceded it IMO.

              Beyond other narrow critiques such as Oscar Isaac's performance (which I think was probably Villeneuve's fault as the director), my main issue with Dune was the emotional arc and timing. We could argue about where the film should have ended or how he should have directed the final act. But all in all, I wasn't dissatisfied by the movie and I definitely want to see the next one ASAP.
              www.VideoAbe.com

              "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

              Comment


                #67
                Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                We probably have to agree on what fell flat before figuring out why.
                Fair enough.

                TLR warning, just skip this and read my next post down. Most of what I write here are my personal preferences and likes and dislikes about the story that may not be a universal experience.






                Firstly, I must admit, any time a film starts with the main character waking up, it sets me on the wrong foot with the film, and the movie has to do really well from that moment on to regain my trust.

                The first shot after the title "Dune Part 1" is Paul waking up. This of course makes a lot of logical sense, it is a natural way we experience beginnings, and a very common way for films to start, and Paul is known for having dreams and visions. And to add even more logic to it, Paul is somewhat helpless and passive in the events that are about to take place. So, being subject to the powers and gifts, there are ways of spinning legitimate reasons to start the film with him waking from a dream or vision. It sets the logic fro those later on as well. AND the last one I will mention, the film is a personal journey with Paul, so starting with a very intimate glimpse is a way of establishing that despite the scale of the film, we are with Paul, as a person.

                However, I still did not like it, and I felt like Rei in Star Wars, Paul was just too gifted, and the struggles never felt real. He was just gifted. The waking from sleep to start the film cliche' and the sort of passive nature of being gifted made for a not very engaging character.... other than the fact that Timothy Chalemet is rather good at his job and is at least an interesting performer.

                The hand in the box scene could have almost been a challenge, but it is such a short event, and he quickly overcomes it. I felt Rei in Star Wars went through more with that mirror scene, and even then her character was highly scrutinized.

                The only challenge he seems to actually struggle with in Part 1 is the rescue of the spice miners. He is thrown out of his element and nearly dies, and needs to be rescued. There were stakes. And despite the magic or drug induced high, there was some mystery to the scene and the spectacle of the Sand Worm was a nice back drop to it all.

                But the hand in the box scene, he is smug and quickly overcomes the pain to stare down the witch.

                The fight training with Gurney was fairly brief, and while a nice bit of back story sort of built in to it, we never experience the challenge or growth. He is barely in the mood to fight even.

                Learning the voice, was just sort of vibing, and all of a sudden he can use it. Rei went through much more to learn to use the force.

                Did you see the leg tripping Paul did on the very large Harkonnen soldier in the thopter escape? is that how mass and momentum work? What kind of muscle did the people of Atreides evolve? That was almost comical.

                Then the knife fight, they sort of allude to the idea that Paul was able to pre-envision many possible futures of the fight, but it was so vague, that it just felt drawn out and over dramatic with the visions, and then the fight itself was rather odd, that he just sort of beats the Fremen warrior without much trouble. Almost toying with him. Then everything is ok, and Chani is smiling "this is only the begging". I never read the book, so I can't say the culture of the Fremen, but as a viewer, that was too fast for me. In one moment Chani is saying "I would never let you hurt my friends" and the next she is lovinging and happily exchanging glances with Paul.

                The loss that Paul perhaps experiences from the betrayal of Dr Yueh and the ambush of the Harkonnen's was very short lived, and perhaps glossed over, before another fever dream vision comes one. But then they are on to become Fremen. But the loss and failure was more with the Duke, Paul was sort of not responsible for anything going on.

                So, did Paul ever struggle or fail or have something to overcome or that had stakes and consequences to his actions that led to a setback?

                As far as the overall structure and narrative, I don't entirely feel qualified to critique that aspect of the film, since I spend so little time studying writing structure and editing. But I will attempt a little in another post.
                Last edited by James0b57; 11-20-2021, 02:59 AM.

                Comment


                  #68
                  Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                  We probably have to agree on what fell flat before figuring out why.
                  I think the film stays ahead of the viewer most of the time, and moves along with new information at a pace that is appropriate, but each one leads to one scene after another that keeps acting like the next scene will be good.

                  In the movie "Prisoners" DV used that sense of pacing to great effect, the slow build, and the viewer was pushed to the edge right along with the main character. But they are suffering and fighting for anything and everything right up to the end. The viewer is dramatically uncertain what the outcome will be, and the stakes are everything.

                  "Dune" each scene has a little tension, and then a resolution. The hand in the box, nah, just kidding, he's ok. There isn't that same dread and struggle, so the slow build isn't generating pressure or anticipation.

                  and then right up to the end, and then all of a sudden, Chani turns around and says "This is just the beginning" and you feel like you just watched a 3hr trailer for the film that will be awesome, but this was more like homework, you go the exposition and world building, but sort of confusing plot with hallucinogenic flash backs, with points of cool iconic like characters and tech. So, obviously memorable images and characters, but the story and the drama lacked perspective.

                  So, getting that slow build to just deflate unceremoniously at the end, was what ruined it overall for me.

                  I'm sort of just riffing here, so, possibly I am misremembering or taking an overly negative stance.So, I reserve the right to alter these words, but if I try to write a thesis, I'll never say anything.

                  Comment


                    #69
                    There is no question they are skilled film makers. They were able to make me care a lot about those palm trees (heck, I probably had more emotion about those trees than any of the characters).

                    If we were going to go down a list of good and bad, the good would far outweigh the bad. However, as a singular piece of feature film artwork... it does not feel complete.



                    The editor in one interview talks about how HBO changed cinema, with shows like Sopranos and Game of Thrones. So, that hunch has turned out to have been accurate. The editor also says they wanted to leave people wanting to go right into the next film. Again, furthering the idea that this is not a complete film by itself.

                    Is it doing what they wanted? most likely. Has it been successful monetarily? Seems to have done well enough for producers to consider a sequel (and I believe they have announce the second part already)

                    Comment


                      #70
                      The director calls it half a film...

                      Originally posted by Ahalpert
                      I'm also not totally convinced that Dune is "half of a film"
                      Time stamp 32:30
                      "I painted myself into a corner, I made half a movie"

                      https://youtu.be/Wx0SALW3qF8?t=1957

                      Comment


                        #71
                        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                        Question - do you think that the entirety of the Dune novel could have comfortably fit in a 3-hour film? I didn't particularly feel like this had a languid pace. If anything, I would have liked to see more development of the central relationships and the minor characters. And there's plenty more room for world-building and exposition.
                        I haven't read the books, but I get the sense, after hearing interviews about the films, that the Paul story line is rather boring by itself. It is the intricate politics and subterfuge that is perhaps interesting. And while focusing in on one character simplifies the story line, it also has the issue of becoming plain and somewhat uninteresting.

                        This is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking, and overly strategically safe approach to tackling this book. Sometimes we can read the book, and think about the main character, and the things we thought were cool about it, but forget what ends up really making it good, or truly engaging.

                        Comment


                          #72
                          Ah well, seems Abe has abandoned the conversation.

                          Well, if anyone is still lurking or reading along, I suppose I should round this thing up.



                          Dune is fine, in its own right. Most aspects are high quality, and the thing is generally likable and more than watchable. In this media landscape, that is likely a success. Seems just getting eyeballs is all that matters. However, due to the way the film ended, and the obvious admission that it is only half of a movie, it felt like the perfect movie to discuss "what is a feature, and what makes a feature good?"










                          Another part of my interest in 'Dune' (2021) is the overall trend I am seeing in feature films, and that is the less committal plot lines. Whenever I go back to watch classic films, whether it is Gremlin or Seven Samurai, there is a very locked in trajectory and plot. Things happen and build, and there is some sort of conclusion. 'The Good the Bad the Ugly' meanders on and on, but never really loses that thread, and the ended is in a sense a complete thought. Sure, the characters walk off, but the thought is complete, the story is complete.

                          Watching films these days, I am seeing the main characters as being more passive, and plots that are more like obstacle courses than stories.


                          Passive protagonist.... an oxymoron. At least since 2015, I have begun to see what feels like less need for the protagonist to move the plot forward. the plot can just happen. One of the first films that I noticed this on was 'Sicario' by Dennis Villenueve. More recently, it appears that Christopher Nolan made an attempt at the non-protagonist in 'Tenet'.

                          If you go into the fan fiction and theory, it is interesting, because the female lead is perhaps more accurately the protagonist of the film, even though we follow the male lead. Also, the possibility that the son of the female lead was one of the main characters in a time loop sort of way, was also interesting. But that isn't how the film played out. It was almost as if the movie that wasn't made was more interesting.

                          Let me switch gears, as the Star Wars film by Rian Johnson (Ep 8) was an odd film. There were characters trying their hardest to do things, but no matter what they did their efforts were thwarted or even counter productive. Almost as if they had done nothing, the whole thing would have gone well. We invest in these people as heroes, and they end up almost being the villains. The film makers called it subverting expectations. Set up a scene that seems like it will play out a certain way, and then it doesn't. I can see the intellectual appeal of that, but ultimately it is just being an annoying person. It is easy to trick people in that way, so there is no real skill, if you ask me. And ultimately, regardless of the reasoning behind it, it creates a bunch of powerless lead characters, where their actions are almost without consequence, since everything comes back to almost the same situation as before, although perhaps slightly worse off, but in some degree to no fault of their own, somehow. So, we get protagonists that despite all the shaking of fists, do little for the story the audience is trying to follow.

                          So, are these film makers trying to become the first to create a non-protagonist master piece? Has film making become so over done that film makers are looking for new challenges?

                          Dennis Villenueve
                          Christopher Nolan
                          Rian Johnson

                          Or, is that the influence of the corporate machine behind these big budget fiascos?


                          I think that Dune, Star Wars Ep 8, and Tenet were all high end productions that move along just fast enough to stay ahead of the audience member, but they also feel like pointless movies. Like the first brain storm pitch, rather than the final idea.


                          The other question, is if these films are intentionally being done this way, since the directors are somewhat considered auteurs, then is this a new trend, do viewers actually prefer this? Is this some technique discovered and spit out by A.I. analysis that is shaping the trajectory of films, in particular bigger budget films going into the future?


                          I personally dislike it, but if the numbers don't lie, and the films make a profit, then who is to argue?

                          A very loose observation, but hopefully something interesting enough to think about and make this thread something more than a thumbs up thumbs down rotten tomatoes score sort of thread.

                          cheers
                          Last edited by James0b57; 11-23-2021, 12:24 AM.

                          Comment


                            #73
                            I haven't abandoned anything. I'm just too busy to make extended responses ATM which is why I haven't chimed in on the Curb thread either

                            expect my rebuttal tonight or tomorrow night!
                            www.VideoAbe.com

                            "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

                            Comment


                              #74
                              Originally posted by James0b57 View Post

                              Part of my interest in 'Dune' (2021) is the overall trend I am seeing in feature films, and that is the less committal plot lines. Whenever I go back to watch classic films, whether it is Gremlin or Seven Samurai, there is a very locked in trajectory and plot. Things happen and build, and there is some sort of conclusion. 'The Good the Bad the Ugly' meanders on and on, but never really loses that thread, and the ended is in a sense a complete thought. Sure, the characters walk off, but the thought is complete, the story is complete.

                              Watching films these days, I am seeing the main characters as being more passive, and plots that are more like obstacle courses than stories.


                              Passive protagonist.... an oxymoron. At least since 2015, I have begun to see what feels like less need for the protagonist to move the plot forward. the plot can just happen.
                              In Dune, this is a casualty of splitting the story into two parts. Paul becomes a VERY active protagonist in the second half of the story. You can get away with your protagonist being passive up to a point if his arc is going from passive to active. Luke Skywalker is passive up until his aunt and uncle get killed and he decides he wants to become a jedi, then leads the charge in rescuing the princess.
                              "Money doesn't make films...You just do it and take the initiative." - Werner Herzog

                              Comment


                                #75
                                also part of being a child, which I related to. being swept along in the family affairs. is there enough decision-making on his part to construct an identifiable personality of his own, let alone one we can admire and root for? I think so
                                www.VideoAbe.com

                                "If you’re really in favor of free speech, then you’re in favor of freedom of speech for precisely the views you despise. Otherwise, you’re not in favor of free speech." - Noam Chomsky

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X