Okay, I know Paramount had a big SF hit with “Star Trek” last year, and I know Cameron’s “Avatar” is steamrolling box-office records by the hour right now, but shouldn’t that open the door for new SF properties to be developed instead of just redeveloping the same properties over and over and over, particularly one that didn’t really lend itself to the bigscreen in the first place?
I know that “Dune” has been in the works for several years now. Peter Berg was flirting with the film actively back in 2007, and for a long time, he was the guy attached as director. And I’m sure that Pierre Morel didn’t just sign on in the last week or so. These deals take a long time to put together, and I’m guessing the timing between this and “Avatar” with its massive success is coincidental. The timing of the announcement, though? That feels less like an accident.
I’m sure it would be possible to make a more action-oriented version of “Dune.” It’s all about what you choose to emphasize, and I think it would be fairly easy to make a giant action movie spectacle version of the story. I also think that would be just as half-assed a representation of “Dune” as the David Lynch film was.
I haven’t seen Morel’s new film, “From Paris With Love” yet, but I liked both “Taken” and “D13,” the parkour knockoff of “Escape From New York.” They’re not great movies, but they’re solid and Morel obviously knows how to shoot action. Is that enough of a qualification for him to step up and make a giant-scale interplanetary epic story of politics and religion? My first guess is “probably not,” but then again, based on “Elf,” I wouldn’t have hired Jon Favreau for “Iron Man,” either.
Josh Zetumer, who was one of the guys who wrote “Quantum Of Solace,” has been working on the script for a while now, and it sounds like Morel’s going to be supervising a rewrite with an eye on making an “extremely faithful” version, according to today’s report in Entertainment Weekly. I’m not sure I really believe that. The SF Channel miniseries version a while back was faithful, and it was also a crashing bore as a film. “Dune” is one of those things that works well on the page because it’s very allegorical and dense with exposition and detail. Visualizing and dramatizing that and also staying faithful seems like a contradictory proposition.
Still, I’m not going to slam the film sight unseen or just automatically assume that what we’ve seen from Morel so far is all he’s capable of. Just color me a little skeptical of the need for this one overall, and I wish someone would pick one of the hundreds of other great SF novels out there that have never been adapted for film instead of just making the same few repeatedly.
Silly me, I guess.
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