Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Your Opinion Has Been Noted, As Has Our Revocation of Your Right to Further Express Opinions

But Dune was quite good

Andrew McKie 09 Oct 2007 16:49

while Lord of the Rings was crap. It's true the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was total pants, but there was something to be said for V for Vendetta. And Sin City, though not my cup of tea, was very faithful.
Most of the Batman, Spiderman and Superman films were pretty useless, but then so were mnost of the comics. I shall be interested to see what they do to Neil Gaiman on the big screen. It doesn't look good, from the trailers.
The real miracle of adaptation from sf or comics was A Scanner Darkly. Exactly right.


I hated V for Vendetta. The movie was ponderous, lame and repetitive. The graphic novel was much better but the political philosophy was rather weak, despite the extremely interesting plot. Despite this, anyone who claims that the Dune movie was a better adaptation of a book than the Lord of the Rings movies should shut the hell up. Lord of the Rings had some glaring changes and omissions and I did not agree with all of them, or even some of them, but other than the fairly minor changes that did not affect large chunks of the basic plot of the books, it was a good adaptation of a book given the limitations of the medium of film. Dune, however, was an adaptation so far removed from the origin that you would have to classify it a new species. Sure, it had Fremen, big ass worms, a guy named Paul and some freaky blue eyed women, but much of the basic plot had been thoroughly altered to suit the studio's whims. Directed by Alan Smithee AKA David Lynch, even the four hour extended version with the goofy cartoon segment at the beginning couldn't save the mess of Dune. When I saw Heretics of Dune on a bookshelf, I thought it was about the making of this movie. I still liked it as a Saturday afternoon scifi movie, but it was far from a faithful recreation of the book. The Scifi Channel miniseries comes much closer.

In conclusion, you're wrong.

17 comments:

Kathleen said...

Dune, however, was an adaptation so far removed from the origin that you would have to classify it a new species.

yes, but it would be a fucking awesome species.

Mendacious D said...

I agree that the miniseries was better, mostly because it covered much more ground than the original film (even if the visuals in the original were pretty badass), and gave a better idea of the scope of the story.

The slime trail in the original, though, still cracks me up.

Chuckles said...

You just love yourself some Kyle McLachlan.

Chuckles said...

I do not remember a slime trail? Was that from the Navigator?

Snag said...

The slime trail was on the theater floor.

porterhouse said...

The Dune novels cover politics, ecology, warfare, economics, and the ramifications of political systems dominated by a single essential resource (spice, not oil). The movie, on the other hand, had people makeing weird noises and blowing things up. Easy to enjoy both as long as you don't think the movies is an adaptation of the book.

Rather, I think of the movie as inspired by the book.

Pinko Punko said...

Prepare to shut me up, dude. I would suggest that Dune was more true to the book than LOTR films were to the books. Every single choice where Jackson chose to deviate from the novels in a meaningful way was atrocious and wrong. Lynch just couldn't fit the entire Dune into the film, but if you have read the book, a lot of the book is just under the surface. I watch the Dune film and I just wish it were longer and had a higher budget. I watch the LOTR films and I feel a little sick.

Chuckles said...

Tom Bombadil and Anduril aside, I thought the portrayals and art direction were far superior and more faithful in the LOTR movies.

I am, however, thoroughly disappointed with the Ent Moot and the way the Two Towers were set up. Despite this glaring and irksome problems, they are nothing compared to the wanton disregard for the source material in Dune. The majority of the book was ignored or changed to the point where it might as well have been.

Chuckles said...

I meant to say: I am, however, thoroughly disappointed with the Ent Moot and the way the Two Towers BOOK WAS SPLIT up.

mdhatter said...

Having seen the movie for Dune before reading the book, I rather like both. What there is from the book is often brilliantly executed (think mentat, think Jean Luc Picard as Gurney, think bout the slow blade and the shield). He pulled off the 15% he had the budget for.

Whereas Jackson did 75% of the LOTR with a budget and constraints that absolutely could have let him do 100% of the master epic, but instead he looked for extra places in which to insert Ms. Tyler's lips. LOTR is good for what is is, and is better if you watch the extended DVDs, but still... so much of the best goodness was cut.

I mean, seriously, no Tom Bombadil?

Chuckles said...

Tom Bombadil was such an odd character, so I didn't really miss him in the manner presented. I would have preferred that he stick a little closer to the movies, but I still think they were far more faithful than Dune. The weirding way was completely different except for the name. Might as well give Aragorn an AK-47. Most of the events of the book involving Paul's formative years with the fremen were chucked. I did miss the woses and the rest of the Dunedain, I have to admit that.

Kathleen said...

I thought the biggest offense was Jackons's change to the Faramir character. I also regretted his dropping of the Faramir/Eowen mini-sub-plot. I kept waiting for it, and then nothing!

Also the battle with the elephants and the calvary, while technically awesome, was so tactically ridiculous that I couldn't get past it. Hire a tactical consultant you n00b!

Pinko Punko said...

Chuckles- one of the defining relationships in the book- Sam being faithful to Frodo, Jackson tossed out the window- having a) Sam leave and b) everyone crying ALL THE TIME.

Also, Gandalf practically throws Denethor on the funeral pyre- a MASSIVELY un-Gandalfian thing to do, a decision which reeks of poor direction. Jackson, having extensively set up the palantir for the extended DVD doesn't even bother to play Denethor mysteriously at all, not does he bother to really deal with them in the non extended film- this is very very lazy filmmaking- he knew he was gonna have two movies essentially in parallel, normal and extended- grow some balls dude- make one movie that actually works. Also, the relationship between Pippin and Denethor- nothing there, just some more hobbit whining.

Splitting up the Two Towers was totally fine.

Watch Dune again- the internal monologues are huge to the book and Lynch really solved that in the film- it allows some msytery, tension but also exposition. Viewers are not comfortable being in a situation where they don't know what is going on- those thoughts basically express that the characters themselves don't know what is going on, just as the reader doesn't when reading the book for the first time. There is so much in Dune that is not explained, there is much more room in that work to make compromises/different choices. Jackson was a complete hack, and he should have been imprisoned solely for his dwarve tossing joke from the first film.

Chuckles said...

Dwarves are not comic relief. I do have to admit that.

You bring up excellent points against my wild hyperbole, Pinko and in my addled state I can only say this: I have lost my train of thought.

Apparently, I have caught strep throat gain.

mdhatter said...

Not to mention the skateboarding elf.

mckie said...

See here and here .

I like Dune, really. I think Lynch did very well with what he could do. Though I could have done without Sting. I liked the mini-series, too, but it was three times as long, so of course you could get more in.

mckie said...

Sorry, mangled html. The first here is here.
best aye.