DUNE 2021: It’s more expensive. It’s prettier. But it’s not better. The only improvement over the Lynch version was the budget, cinematography, and SLIGHTLY less clownish Harkonnens. Chalumet vs an unbelievable (wimp?) compared to MacLachlan, and the same for Zendaya who looks about as hardy for desert life as a whispy orchid. Ferguson is feminine, beautiful, intelligent and passionate but not regal. Brolin, Mamoa, and Bautista are embarrassingly ‘working class’ not martial or aristocratic. Bardem and Skarsgard are the great improvements. Bardem’s grunts and his body language are fabulous.
The story needed greater depth, and three parts: The fall of the house of Atreides. The second as the rise of the Fremen. The third as the retaking of Arrakis.
Maybe I had higher hopes that a masterpiece could come out of Hollywood, but Denis suffers from the same weakness as Ridley Scott. He has great creative, aesthetic, cinematographic, and musical instincts, and can direct actors (in the french style of obsessive internal thought and emotion), but he’s terrible with a story, script, and casting. And he is even more vulnerable to studio interference in story, script, and casting than is Scott. (Hence Scott’s repeated failures since ‘woke’ began to take over Hollywood.)