I was 11 years old when I watched my first movie alone. It was at the Allegro Theatre in Iloilo City and the movie was David Lynch’s Dune. A lot of people hated that movie, and still do, but not me. I loved it when I first saw it; I loved it even after I read the Frank Herbert’s novel (which the movie butchered, if I’m being honest), and I love it even more now, with the soft glow of memory. In fact, after watching the Syfy mini-series, I loved Lynch’s Dune even more.
And now, we’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dune, the novel. On top of that, very recently, tor.com (along with every other news website interested in this sort of thing) reported “Production entity Legendary Entertainment has reached an agreement with the Frank Herbert estate in which it has acquired the film and television rights to Herbert’s iconic science fiction novel Dune. The agreement calls for the development and production of possible film and TV projects for a global audience. Legendary’s divisions include its film arm Legendary Pictures (recent releases include Interstellar, Jurassic World, Crimson Peak) and Legendary Television and Digital (The Expanse, Colony).”
So again, the spice will flow.
The spice must flow.
It’s almost enough to make me not hate 2016.
But, these sorts of things take time. It isn’t even clear yet whether Legendary will make movies or a TV series. For my money though, I hope they go with TV. Frank Herbert’s Dune is simply too massive for any movie – or pentology for that matter – to contain. That was basically the problem with Lynch’s movie. It had to cram an entire meticulously realised universe into the run-time of a single movie. When you do that, you’re sure to lose something.
And in Dune’s case, you’re losing a lot. Just take the backstory, for instance.
One of the most unique features of the Dune universe is that humanity is a universe-spanning multi-planet space-faring species that has outlawed computers and artificial intelligence in all forms.
Let that sink in for a while, you person who can no longer multiply 3 digit numbers without the aid of your calculator app.
This makes the milieu almost steampunk-y, but in a way that is, in fact, organic to its internal history. It isn’t a universe out of a time, but a universe that has diverged completely from the track that our universe is currently on.
And yet, it is still a world that is awfully similar to ours in many ways. For instance, despite being star walkers, the human affairs on Dune are still very much influenced – actively shaped even – by religious beliefs.
That, and the fact that combat is mostly carried on with knives and swords because laser beams (called lasguns because, creativity) hitting force fields (called force shields because … oh never mind) would cause atomic explosions and – just like in this universe – nobody wants that.
And those are just two of the critical aspects that would either have to be glossed over or completely left out, resulting in a final product that will be introducing elements that will, without proper grounding in backstory, would seem just too fantastical or even downright silly. It’ll be like hearing bekispeak without knowing the etymology.
Still, the fact that Legendary has the rights and will most likely be developing it soon is enough to make me geek out in a major way.
For those of you who are encountering Dune for the first time, these videos are excellent primers. Watch ’em!