Dune: Part One Book vs Movie Review

Here is the Dune Part One Book vs Movie Review. Dune by Frank Herbert was long regarded as unadaptable. Despite efforts to the contrary, the author’s groundbreaking science fiction book from 1965 proved to be too large and thematically complex for the film industry. 

There’s David Lynch’s 1984 film, which the director deeply despises, and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unsuccessful magnum opus, which gave rise to the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune.

In this context, Denis Villeneuve accomplished an unachievable feat. The result of Villeneuve’s lifelong love for Herbert’s story is 2021’s Dune Part One, one of the most textually and cognitively accurate celluloid adaptations ever.

Dune Part One Book vs Movie Review: The Difference

In Villeneuve’s Dune: Part One, Paul and Jessica find refuge with the Fremen after escaping violence and treachery, having followed the Atreides family from their home planet of Caladan to Arrakis. 

There aren’t many changes made to the plot beat, and Villeneuve concentrates on both the story’s grand, epic scope and its smaller, more personal plot points. 

A lot of reviews will highlight the breathtaking sights, the opulent cinematography, and the expansive locations. 

House Atreides

Oscar Isaac portrays Duke Leto’s directness and affection for his family with great skill; one of the most poignant and enduring scenes of character growth is when Paul confides in his father about his worries for the future. 

Even though Isaac’s version of Duke Leto is more endearing than the one in the book, he still prioritizes helping the Fremen and taking care of his staff and soldiers. 

His goals are easy to understand: he wants to provide for his family, he wants to provide for his people, and he’s willing to broaden the definition of who belongs to the latter group. 

Melange, or Spice

Paul’s introduction to melange is one of Villeneuve’s most significant departures from Herbert’s Dune.

The Paul in the movie is shown to be extremely sensitive almost immediately, giving in to hallucinations during a rescue mission and later being impacted by the ambient spice in the tent’s air. In contrast, Paul in the novel takes much longer to be revealed. 

This adjustment makes a lot of sense for the big screen; without the novel’s foundation, it’s difficult to communicate the significance and potency of spice without showing a reaction, and Paul is the obvious choice.

House Harkonnen

Stellan Skarsgård portrays Baron Harkonnen in all his flamboyant, demon-incarnate glory, and he makes an effort to be offensive. Villeneuve also uses a variety of auditory and visual clues to illustrate the Harkonnens’ sheer evil nature. 

Every scene with the Harkonnens has the darkest background and lowest light levels imaginable; they, along with their subordinates, always speak in harsh or sarcastic tones, and the accompanying music has an unmistakably menacing quality. 

It is very different from the book in that the Harkonnens are in sharp contrast to every other character. Even the more compassionate Atreides family wasn’t above acting solely in their own best interests, as Herbert went to considerable lengths to muddy the concepts of good and evil.

Supporting Characters

Bene Gesserit, Thufir Hawat, Gurney Halleck, Piter de Vries, the Shadout Mapes, Dr. Yueh, and Stilgar are all important characters in the Dune story and are given much more screen time in the novel. 

While Zendaya’s Chani mostly appears in dreamy visions and voice-over narration explaining various significant pieces of world-building or political context, Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho receives more screen time. 

The book’s Kynes’s vision for Arrakis’s future and his flimsy hope that Duke Leto might be a real partner in that vision are what allow us to truly see Arrakis and how its desert people coexist with its harsh conditions and important resources. 

The Fremen

Frank Herbert was greatly influenced by the Middle East, North Africa, and Islam. He used elements of these cultures to create the world of Dune and to portray its indigenous people. 

Many of those cultural details and influences are watered down by Villeneuve, possibly to avoid stereotyping and appropriation. Notably, none of the cast members are from the Middle East or North Africa.

Having gone through the above review, we hope that you have spotted the differences between the book and movie versions of the Dune storyline.

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