I’m Concerned About the DUNE Remake.
I recently finished the fourth book in Frank Herbert’s DUNE series, God Emperor of Dune. I really liked it, but it’s as far as I’m willing to go into the massive and long-running series. I very much enjoyed my journey into the world of DUNE, so you think I would be excited about the upcoming film, but the truth is that the more I consider it, the more it makes me worried.
The source of my concern has nothing to do with the director, who I hear is very good, or any behind-the-scenes gossip about the film’s creation, of which I have heard none. I’m worried that a new DUNE movie, based on the original novel, will break the walls of a unique nerd haven I consider myself a part of.
DUNE is weird. It’s really, really weird. It’s full of weird concepts in a weird universe populated by weird characters and even weirder creatures. DUNE is bizarre. DUNE is confusing to some people, even those who are fans of the series! I feel like you have to like really weird stuff and a weird approach to storytelling to really get into DUNE, and those of us who are into it (whether we understand it all or not) share a special bond of nerdship. Drop a DUNE reference in a conversation and watch who looks at you like you’re crazy, and who nods in grateful comprehension.
On the other hand, big budget movies today aren’t about making something weird. Movies meant to be mass marketed and designed to make a lot of money aren’t going to skirt the edge of incomprehension for sake of staying true to the original vision of a bizarre world. I’m concerned that a modern, big budget movie about DUNE will strip away some of its essential weirdness in favor of making it more palatable to general audiences. It’s that irreplaceable weirdness that makes DUNE what it is, and weird doesn’t always make money, which is what big budget movies are all about.
I hope I’m wrong. I really do. I hope the film crew making this new DUNE movie will stay true to Frank Herbert’s vision, and it’ll be nice and weird. Otherwise, I believe my heart will break and I will be forced to undertake the great jihad I have been fighting so hard to avoid despite the inevitable pull of prophecy as shown to me in the throes of my spice visions.
With luck, there are some of you nodding in grateful comprehension right now.