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Back in 2021 I went to see the first installment of ‘DUNE’ and was slightly 'put out' to discover that it ended half way through the (first) book.

It was the second big-screen attempt to make a movie of the book, if you don’t count the first ‘Star Wars’, that borrows shamelessly from Frank Herbert’s Si-Fi classic, and I thought it a lot better.

Now the long-awaited second part has been released.

 

Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Screenplay by Denis Villeneuve, Jon Spaihts
Based on Dune by Frank Herbert
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler' Florence Pugh, Dave Bautista
Christopher Walken, Léa Seydoux, Souheila Yacoub, Stellan Skarsgård, Charlotte Rampling, Javier Bardem
Cinematography Greig Fraser, Edited by Joe Walker
Music by Hans Zimmer
Running time 165 minutes

 

 

As I said back in 2021: Frank Herbert (Franklin Patrick Herbert Jr. 1920 –1986) was, and remains, a favourite author of mine. See: DUNE

I commented that bringing the book to the screen was a big challenge, as the book is complex and, I doubt, 'comes across' in a simple sequence of events and characterisations, to anyone who hasn't read it. 

So, how has director, Denis Villenueve, done this time? 

It will please my daughter, Emily, that there is more emphasis on the Bene Gesserit's overarching agenda of genetic and religious manipulation and implicitly in Jessica's actions, first in persisting in having a boy, then on inducting her unborn daughter, that have 'put a spanner in the works'. This future manipulating aspect of Herbert's 'Dune' novels is SiFi mainstream echoing Asimov's groundbreaking 'Foundation' series, published in the 40's and 50's.

Part One was highly awarded for its cinematography, special effects and creative costumes. 

Part Two steps all these 'up a notch'.  The cinematic effects combined with the sound-track are truly spectacular. The central members of the original cast are now joined by some 'big names', including Javier Bardem and Christopher Walken, with additional character development. Despite the complexity, editing is tight, yielding a running time of two hours and 45 minutes with not a boring scene. Hard to achieve when merging AI generated battle scenes and live action.

Expect it to take out the next series of awards. 

It is less 'edge of seat thriller' and more thoughtful than the first. There is one particularly dark moment when we might be in Gaza, during an Israeli bombardment.  Elsewhere it's quite humorous like in a 'Life of Brianesque' scene when Paul denies being the prophesied messiah. Stilgar (Javier Bardem) says that by denying this he proves that he is the messiah. It got a good laugh from the local cinema audience.

I left the cinema quite satisfied, feeling that, although I was sure that there were significant alterations, this time it pretty well reflected Herbert's intensions. 

The ending sets the scene for the next novel, Dune Messiah, then there are just four more novels to go: Children of Dune; God Emperor of Dune; Heretics of Dune; and Chapterhouse: Dune. After that  Frank Herbert died but I'm sure that's no barrier to the film industry. 

I can recommend it.

So now I'm ready to read the book once more, with new imagery in my head thanks to Villenueve, and to check again on just how much of the holy text has been altered.  

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Travel

China

 

 

I first visited China in November 1986.  I was representing the New South Wales Government on a multinational mission to our Sister State Guangdong.  My photo taken for the trip is still in the State archive [click here].  The theme was regional and small business development.  The group heard presentations from Chinese bureaucrats and visited a number of factories in rural and industrial areas in Southern China.  It was clear then that China was developing at a very fast rate economically. 

Read more: China

Fiction, Recollections & News

On The Secret

There is an obvious sub-text to my short story: The Secret, that I wrote in 2015 after a trip to Russia. Silly things, we might come to believe in, like 'the law of attraction' are not harmless. 

The story is also a reflection on the difference between American and Australian stereotypes, that were evident from conversations on the cruise.

I lived in New York for some time and my eldest daughter was born there. I have visited the US fairly regularly since. It is, in many ways, the closest country to Australia that you will find, outside New Zealand.  So, I have often been surprised by how different it is in other ways to Australia, given the great similarities in the median standard of living, shared popular culture and immigrant demographics.

I have come to the conclusion that this stems from our different founding origins.

Read more: On The Secret

Opinions and Philosophy

Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

This paper was first written in 1990 - nearly 30 years ago - yet little has changed.

Except of course, that a lot of politicians and bureaucrats have put in a lot of air miles and stayed in some excellent hotels in interesting places around the world like Kyoto, Amsterdam and Cancun. 

In the interim technology has come to our aid.  Wind turbines, dismissed here, have become larger and much more economic as have PV solar panels.  Renewable energy options are discussed in more detail elsewhere on this website.

 


 

Climate Change

Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

 

Climate change has wide ranging implications for the World, ranging from its impacts on agriculture (through drought, floods, water availability, land degradation and carbon credits) mining (by limiting markets for coal and minerals processing) manufacturing and transport (through energy costs) to property damage resulting from storms.  The issues are complex, ranging from disputes about the impact of human activities on global warming, to arguments about what should be done and the consequences of the various actions proposed.  The following paper explores some of the issues and their potential impact.

 

Read more: Issues Arising from the Greenhouse Hypothesis

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