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    #76
    Originally posted by Batutta View Post
    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.
    True. I am perhaps reacting to the push back i received earlier about calling this half a story, and feeling more like long form series more suitable for an ongoing watch, similar to game of thrones or some show, not a narrative typically seen in a “feature” film. if that makes sense.


    i have no issue with longer form narratives, and in fact i am probably more likely to enjoy creating those forms of story telling than the feature film narrative of the 90min to 2hrs benchmarks.


    but considering Dune (2021) is not alone in this sort of vague or passive protagonist, i am curious if it is accidental or intentional. Nolan is capable of traditional narrative. DV has also seem to like subjects who are somewhat helpless. Hitchcock had a similar interest in the characters of Jimmy Stewart.


    i find ancient literature has no such narrative rules that we adhere to these days, in particular modern western story telling rules.


    part of the oddity of the push for “experience Dune in theaters” as if it is some last refuge for feature film making, meanwhile being only half a story, to me is somewhat hilarious.
    Last edited by James0b57; 11-22-2021, 06:00 PM.

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      #77
      I have more to say on this, but is Empire Strikes Back half a story? A third? A ninth? What about the LOTR movies, or the books? The end of Dune was not like turning off another movie somewhere in the middle, IMO
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      "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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        #78
        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
        I have more to say on this, but is Empire Strikes Back half a story? A third? A ninth? What about the LOTR movies, or the books? The end of Dune was not like turning off another movie somewhere in the middle, IMO
        I'd have to go back and watch the original Star Wars films, but it is possible that the narrative structure can be complete, even if the hero loses. Which would be different than just sort of ending.


        Additionally, LOTR may be one of the rare exceptions, since it was all filmed in one long go. Dune was made as a part 1 without a definitive promise that part 2 would be made necessarily. LOTR didn't demand people go see it in the theaters, because movie theaters weren't entirely on the decline yet, and there wasn't a pandemic. So, the context is quite a bit different between these experiences. And even then, LOTR still created ideas that might satisfy the ending of a feature.


        For example, the Orc in one of the films was not in the books, but the film makers used that Orc as a sort of representation of the baddies, and at the end of the film they kill that Orc as some way of peaking that story and creating a sense of completion for that film.

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          #79
          Again, ive more to say on this and want t o go back to qddress your previous posts. But--

          i feel like the quality and completion of an ending is measured by how much it satisfies the viewer (or whatever the director's goal was if not satisfaction.)

          at the end of empire, i felt a great sense of relief that luke had narrowly escaped with his life. After all, he had b3en lured into a trap and wasnt ready to face Vader. At the same time, solo is frigging frozen and en route to Jabba. Anrd youre processing lukes paternity. But it worked for me. (I think episode 6 isthe only one that ends conclusively. Aand maybe 9 but i wont see it)

          dark knight ends with batman being hunted by the cops. But it has that great commissioner gordon monologue and nice montage of him biking away. (A little like Churchill sp33ch at end of dunkirk)

          they could have ended dark knight after joker capture and left two face conclusion for next movie. That would have be3n acceptable.

          someone i read in college said that stories are internally logical but have arbitrary start and endpoints. And you see that all the time in politics where the starting point of the narrative is crucial (eg israel vs palestine)

          dune ended with him joining the fremen. Could that be a happily ever after theoretically? Moreso than empire, but we know that harkonnen has genocide in mind. Not exactly an episodic tv ending

          but if it didn't please you then I'd say it failed

          Re:theaters, originally it was not going to stream simultaneously
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          "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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            #80
            Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
            Again, ive more to say on this and want t o go back to qddress your previous posts. But--

            i feel like the quality and completion of an ending is measured by how much it satisfies the viewer (or whatever the director's goal was if not satisfaction.)

            at the end of empire, i felt a great sense of relief that luke had narrowly escaped with his life. After all, he had b3en lured into a trap and wasnt ready to face Vader. At the same time, solo is frigging frozen and en route to Jabba. Anrd youre processing lukes paternity. But it worked for me. (I think episode 6 isthe only one that ends conclusively. Aand maybe 9 but i wont see it)

            dark knight ends with batman being hunted by the cops. But it has that great commissioner gordon monologue and nice montage of him biking away. (A little like Churchill sp33ch at end of dunkirk)

            they could have ended dark knight after joker capture and left two face conclusion for next movie. That would have be3n acceptable.

            someone i read in college said that stories are internally logical but have arbitrary start and endpoints. And you see that all the time in politics where the starting point of the narrative is crucial (eg israel vs palestine)

            dune ended with him joining the fremen. Could that be a happily ever after theoretically? Moreso than empire, but we know that harkonnen has genocide in mind. Not exactly an episodic tv ending

            but if it didn't please you then I'd say it failed

            Re:theaters, originally it was not going to stream simultaneously
            When you put it like that, it makes a lot more sense. thanks

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              #81
              Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
              expect my rebuttal tonight or tomorrow night!
              Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
              I have more to say on this, but
              Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
              Again, ive more to say on this and want t o go back to qddress your previous posts. But--
              i think i get why you are more at ease with a half finish film. ;)

              apologies, that was low hanging fruit, i had to. appreciate you Abe. answer when you can. i have more time these days, and i totally understand your situation with time. no rush.
              Last edited by James0b57; 11-23-2021, 05:36 PM.

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                #82
                he-tasks-me-he-tasks-me-and-i-shall-have-him.jpg
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                "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                  #83
                  beyond Dune being a mammoth narrative that requires a longer form narrative, Dennis and production were up against potentially intense criticism.

                  Going backwards for a bit, Robert Rodriguez recounted after the success of his first film, he felt the intense pressure to solidify his legitimacy in his next film. So to get around that, he decided if he made two films, and released them simultaneously. He guessed, or hoped, that critics would have no way of saying which was his second film, and then no one could try to peg the success of his career trajectory based on his follow up.

                  By a similar sort of logic, if you only make half of a legendary classic, and make it look good, how can anyone critique it? by the time part two is released, it will hardly matter.

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                    #84
                    Originally posted by James0b57 View Post
                    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.
                    This is true, but it's a central part of the plot that he has visions of the future. It's the reason the Bene Gesserit comes to murder him if he can't withstand the pain of having his hand burned off. And it gives him a chance to lie to his mother at breakfast and assert his agency over his life and future. I'll give it a pass.


                    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.
                    Well, he IS the product of many generations of selective breeding. Or something like that. And he did struggle with the Voice. He could half-manage it with his mother. And only barely squeaked through with the Harkonnen toughs when they were about to kill him and rape his mother. No small motivation! After which, his mother chided him for doing a crap job. His visions are also pretty inaccurate. He's clearly been trained to fight by the best his whole life. And his mother was training him in her ways, just before we popped in. I'll give it a pass.

                    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.
                    Don't know the mirror scene and not planning to find out. It was short but I thought the acting was good, the series of emotions he went through. And I felt like he ended up going cross-eyed, which was interesting and not a flattering or empowering look to take. Unless my memory is flawed. I'll give it a thumb's up.

                    He is barely in the mood to fight even.
                    Well, yeah, but that's his character.


                    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.
                    Oh, I missed that

                    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.
                    I thought that the vision was showing him that his innocent-child self would die. it was a metaphorical vision of the future. and he really didn't want to kill the guy, which was why it took him so long to do it. I agree it would have been nice if he had struggled more. but he is a highly-trained semi-supernatural character. Chani...I dunno. Respects strength? The tribal hierarchy is strength-oriented?


                    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.
                    Yeah, they really should have kept better tabs on which of their intimates' family had been kidnapped. Major faux pas. Was it that way in the book?

                    Part of the issue is that there's too much plot to get through. But also, c'mon - this is royal life. Royalty always used to kill each other, including their own siblings. You had to roll with the punches.

                    That was actually the unrealistic part to me--how affectionate Oscar Isaac was to Paul. Seems atypical of the mentality of a feudal lord.

                    Another related thing that bothered me is how much the story makes me identify with a feudal lord in the first place. The nature of the system is that the Atreides are enslavers and oppressors. That's what dukes and barons do. Yet here I am cheering on the "good" prince.

                    I mean, Paul had to show strength coming out of the Harkonnen attack. And can you imagine the adrenaline of being in those life-threatening situations? I give it a pass.


                    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.
                    Well, anyone can critique. What's hard is coming up with a better way to tell the story. But it's not like you need a degree to do that. You just need a good idea.

                    I mean, he certainly FEELS a great deal of responsibility. Wanting to accompany Momoa to save his life and all after his dream of him dying.

                    He had to overcome flying the thopter into a sandstorm. That was pretty awesome. He had to overcome killing a guy.

                    Has he failed yet? Dunno. Luke didn't fail bigtime until Empire. He let his uncle and aunt get killed, but it's hard to say that that was his fault
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                    "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                      #85
                      I almost regret ever bringing up Star Wars, as you keep throwing that one in the mix. My initial reference to Star Wars was more in the light of "despite Star Wars being Lucas, it still had something under the hood". And in a way, I was probably thinking more about the Prequels. One of the worst things about Star Wars in any comparison, is the fact that Star Wars was a one of a kind circumstance, that can't be readily explained by plot structure or XYZ without looking everything. So, it tends to be a great point of reference, but a horrible film for comparison.

                      But if you want to compare character development between SW EP4 and Dune Pt1, then it goes something like this:

                      - Luke starts as a boy with no specific talents or life experience, and he even rejects the call to action. But he loses everything, learns skills, and becomes a key warrior in a big battle.

                      - Paul is a well trained prince. Movies ends, he is the same.




                      But Dune is somewhat taking itself seriously, so perhaps it should be contrasted with movies with more depth or gravitas, like 'The Godfather'

                      At the beginning of The Godfather, Michael is a somewhat moody reluctant son of the powerful Don Vito Corleone. Paul could have gone through a similar story line, as there are many parallels. Obviously, Dune is already based on a book, so, obviously I am not talking about copying the specifics, but there is a lot to learn from The Godfather in how it portrays the character in a very human way.

                      Michael Corleone is the protagonist, but also kind of the villain as well. I haven’t read Dune, but there seems it could be some sort of parallels there. Lawrence of Arabia being another such protagonist, in pursuing their values they become the unwitting tool of something not exactly good.

                      so it may be worth considering the type of story elements that made these stories a little more classic. At least as far as cinema is concerned.


                      at this point Paul feels a more like emo Rei than Lawrence or Michael.
                      Last edited by James0b57; 11-27-2021, 02:41 AM.

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                        #86
                        Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                        Well, he IS the product of many generations of selective breeding. Or something like that. And he did struggle with the Voice. He could half-manage it with his mother. And only barely squeaked through with the Harkonnen toughs when they were about to kill him and rape his mother. No small motivation! After which, his mother chided him for doing a crap job. His visions are also pretty inaccurate. He's clearly been trained to fight by the best his whole life. And his mother was training him in her ways, just before we popped in. I'll give it a pass.
                        But he is a trained prince the whole time, there is no change, other than perhaps a possibility of change at the very very end, but given it is only lip service, not sure it counts as an actual change.


                        Originally posted by ahalpert
                        Don't know the mirror scene and not planning to find out. It was short but I thought the acting was good, the series of emotions he went through. And I felt like he ended up going cross-eyed, which was interesting and not a flattering or empowering look to take. Unless my memory is flawed. I'll give it a thumb's up.
                        Yeah, but not everytime Sponge Bob screams is there character development going on. The hand in box scene happened so early in the film it is less character development and more establishing who he is. we go from him waking up, to him using powers, being offer the throne and staring down the witch. he didn’t start in some other mode, that is who he was.
                        Last edited by James0b57; 11-26-2021, 04:07 PM.

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                          #87
                          You can't separate the personal and the analytical. I saw Spike Lee talk once and he said he couldn't get into Cold Mountain because the protagonists were confederate soldiers. You can't ask him to set that aside and analyze their hero's journey. They'll never be heroes to him because he views them as his oppressors. Directors don't function in some narrow, aseptic technical space. A work of art must balance so many different types of considerations.
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                          "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                            #88
                            also, I think that your observation that Luke undergoes more changes than Paul is objectively flawed. Things Paul does for the first time in the movie: withstand the box, leave his homeworld, experience his father's death, successfully use the voice, save his mother from a rape gang, save his own life, decide to seek the throne, pilot a thopter through a sandstorm, kill a man in hand-to-hand combat, join an reclusive tribe of desert-dwellers.

                            If you FELT like less happened for him or that he underwent less change, then that feeling is indisputable. But I don't think it can be explained by what actually happened to him or by the choices he made. My guess is it comes down to style and presentation. Star Wars had a really clearly delineated structure that made the development very impactful. And it helps that the story was written first for the screen because the action can be timed to the feature film format. The climactic battle at the end. The intermittent moments of his training which clearly signal to you that he is undergoing change.

                            I don't think you were the first to initiate a Star Wars comparison, and it's sort of an obvious parallel because it's a sci-fi epic that was inspired by Dune, a successful storytelling by all accounts, and another series of films that combine to tell a grander narrative.
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                            "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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                              #89
                              Originally posted by ahalpert View Post
                              also, I think that your observation that Luke undergoes more changes than Paul is objectively flawed. Things Paul does for the first time in the movie: withstand the box, leave his homeworld, experience his father's death, successfully use the voice, save his mother from a rape gang, save his own life, decide to seek the throne, pilot a thopter through a sandstorm, kill a man in hand-to-hand combat, join an reclusive tribe of desert-dwellers.

                              If you FELT like less happened for him or that he underwent less change, then that feeling is indisputable. But I don't think it can be explained by what actually happened to him or by the choices he made. My guess is it comes down to style and presentation. Star Wars had a really clearly delineated structure that made the development very impactful. And it helps that the story was written first for the screen because the action can be timed to the feature film format. The climactic battle at the end. The intermittent moments of his training which clearly signal to you that he is undergoing change.

                              I don't think you were the first to initiate a Star Wars comparison, and it's sort of an obvious parallel because it's a sci-fi epic that was inspired by Dune, a successful storytelling by all accounts, and another series of films that combine to tell a grander narrative.
                              That's fair.

                              Much like this conversation has gone on and on, some could enjoy the looseness of it, and pick up what they want, and others might dislike the tangents and unverified speculations. Similarly, "Dune" being less defined may excite certain viewers that feel handheld by other films, and at the same time it might disappoint people that like a film to feel like a coherent thought.

                              But you know what is the most interesting thought of all?

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                                #90
                                1. I see what you're doing there. And while it was frustrating, it got my wheels spinning. Made me think about what was more interesting.

                                2. I don't think that Dune was full of tangents. Or necessarily loose. I thought that your criticism was that it ended without enough definition or finailty?

                                3. People like TV shows, which go on and on and have tons of tangents and development of minor characters. Obviously, this is not a show and your whole point is to ask if it is indeed a feature film. But just in terms of asking if people like ongoing sagas, they definitely do
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                                "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant." -Harvey

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