'Dune' Is a Novel Adaptation Done Right

Frank Herbert adapted the 1965 novel to make Denis Villeneuve's new movie Dune. Andrea Kail, TV writer, says that the movie is far more successful than previous adaptations.
Kail speaks out in Episode 491 on the Geeks Guide to the Galaxy podcast. It was exactly what was expected from an adaptation of one my favourite books.

Geeks Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley agrees with Dune's excellent adaptation. He says it is so refreshing to see science fiction movies that are made by people who respect the source material. Contrary to the 80s when directors would often take books and say, "I have so many more ideas than this stupid paper." They would then change everything.

Rajan Khanna, a fantasy author, enjoyed the film but wished it had more of his rich worldbuilding. He said that a lot of the strange stuff was skipped. This included Dr. Yueh's conditioning and Dr. Yueh's mentats. He also wanted to see more detail on the Bene Gesserit, the Kwisatz Haderach and the guild navigators. It was disappointing to me that this stuff was not given enough attention in the film. I believe one of the greatest things about the novel's weird stuff is his ability to come up with it.

Matthew Kressel, science fiction author, is optimistic that an extended edition might bring back some of his favourite scenes from Dune. He's excited to see more Dune in the sequel Dune: Part Two. He says that this was the Dune movie he'd longed for. I'm excited for the sequel. Although it is a long wait, we have waited enough time for this one so I am willing to wait another year.

You can listen to the entire interview with Rajan Khanna and Andrea Kail in Episode 491 (above). You can also see highlights of the conversation below.

Rajan Khanna discusses adaptation

I am not the right target audience for this movie. Even though Dune is a great novel, I don't think adaptations of it are necessary. I already have a book I can read. That book also has some things. A film adaptation is for me an exercise in Oh, they changed this and Oh, interesting how they handled it. Although I would be disappointed if this movie was terrible, I wouldn't feel like I was being betrayed or that the film ruined my chance at a Dune adaptation.

Matthew Kressel talks about pacing

A portion of the film was about two-thirds to three quarters through. I felt like we were playing chase the mouse. Just before they reach that research station Dr. Kynes shows them some plants and tells them that she would like to create a green Arrakis. I thought that was cool. Then there was another fight scene. Although all those scenes were great, there was one moment when I wasn't as invested because the fight scene went on for so long. In those moments, I wanted a little more story.

Andrea Kail discusses character:

It's a story of coming-of age. Paul is growing up and becoming a man. He not only assumes his father's role of Duke but also eschews his mother's control. She says that we must get off-world. He cuts her off and replies, "No." She just has to accept that our path will take us through the desert. He and Chani look at each other near the end. Then he turns to his mother. He's had these dreams for a while, and she knows that this is the girl he has been dreaming of. The two of them smile at one another, then Paul walks away, and Jessica's expression changes from happy to stony.

David Barr Kirtley's Hollywood:

I assumed there would be a big blockbuster science-fiction movie every two to three months. But there hasn't been any in the past two years because of the pandemic. It was hard to imagine how devastating that would be for me and how difficult it would be to do a weekly science fiction podcast. Hollywood is a very precarious place. Although it seems powerful, it could all end if more people don't watch these movies or go to the theaters. Now I am a fan of directors like Denis Villeneuve, and other movies like these, and I hope that everyone supports them if they want to see things like this continue to exist.

Here are more great WIRED stories