DUNE has been a book sought after by Hollywood for some time now. From Alejendro Jodorowsky’s attempt to re-imagine the monumental science fiction novel, to the infamous David Lynch adaptation that suffered due to studio interference and bombed at the box office. However even after that, there would be another attempt to adapt the book in 2008 from Paramount, with Peter Berg (the director of the god-awful Battleship movie) and at one point Pierre Morel (director of Taken……), though the project would never come to fruition. However the film rights are currently with Legendary Pictures, and they have already chosen their director for the project – none other than director Denis Villeneuve (director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049).
Currently reading the book myself, I think it would be interesting to see a proper adaptation of DUNE brought to life and I think Denis would be one of the few who could attempt to pull it off (certainly better suited than Mr Battleship). However I put heavy emphasis on the word “attempt”. For you see, I wonder if the story of DUNE can even fit into one movie, let alone be a movie that would appeal to mass audiences. One of the biggest issues with the David Lynch movie was that over an hour and a half of footage had been cut out for the sake of keeping the movie’s run-time at 2 hours (because for some reason anything over 2 hours is considered taboo in Hollywood despite the numerous examples of successful movies that are over 2.5 hours long), so I highly doubt DUNE can be condensed into a 2 hour long movie. And there is also the issue with adapting DUNE in general. Robotschlomo (from Midnight’s Edge) brought this up in a video of his and while I don’t agree with his opinion of the book itself I think he does bring up some interesting points on why DUNE wouldn’t be so easy to adapt as a movie.
Not that I think it would be impossible to do a movie adaptation of DUNE, however in order for it to work it would need not only a big enough budget but it would also need to be split into perhaps 2, or 3, movies with a 2.5+ hour length similar to the treatment given to the new IT adaptation. Though I also think in this day and age television is a better suited format for longer-form storytelling and ambitious properties such as DUNE while movies have become more and more stagnant. Especially considering that a large chunk of DUNE is basically the world-building, it seems like the book would be better adapted into a television series for HBO, given a much higher production value than the Sci-Fi miniseries from the 2000s. On the other hand however Denis Villeneuve has proven himself to be more than your typical Hollywood director, with last year’s Arrival having been a rather cerebral film and the new Blade Runner sequel being praised as one of the best science fiction films of all time, so if there is anyone who could successfully adapt DUNE for the big screen it would be him. However even with a prestigious filmmaker like Villeneuve, the adaptation will suffer if Legendary tries to limit it to one 2 hour long movie.
I’m just a little worried that Hollywood will potentially repeat the same mistakes it made with the production of the David Lynch version.
What do y’all think though? Can the DUNE remake work?
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