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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Dune the Film | Refreshed and Renewed for Generation with No Idea It’s a Cult Classic

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Dune, as a musty dog-eared paperback always had the curved spine from the Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings nerds who kept renewing it from the library whenever their nerd-dom took them out of the medieval past and into to the sci-fi future.

I, on the other hand, was always stuck trying to figure out the sociological racial angst of the current day and couldn’t understand why Sweet Valley High didn’t quite resemble the San Fernando Valley out in Southern California.

Plus, something about post-modern era fantasy fiction with its parallel worlds to master stressed me out. As child of immigrant Korean parents, I already had a parallel world I had to figure out at my peril every time I stepped out of the house with rules I had to learn and get stung by on the fly. I wasn’t about to saddle my weary brain with more rules of a world that didn’t even exist! Let’s hold off on the fantasy and sci-fi for now until my life had more breathing room.

So it was no surprise that I finally downloaded and listened to Dune as an audiobook after I turned 40. It felt so 1970s. And that limited resource of ‘Spice’, which was a metaphor for perhaps crude oil at the time of the writing of the novel, served as an effective red herring plot device. But it made me imaginary smell clove and nutmeg everywhere I went though for about two months.

Generation X is the real Dune market. And it is totally dated as you can see from the original movie clip. Oh my goodness. Can’t you just hear the 70s calling from that dischordant soundtrack? And it’s something about the timbre of those voices back then. Was it the recording devices? Even though this movie was released in 1984, I’d bet the studio didn’t upgrade their equipment since the last decade.

The MZ generation may have an idea of this era of Dune. Yes, that actually is a category now according to the Korea Times. It’s for people born between 1981 and 2005. With a little botox, I throw myself into this category.

But with Generation Z and younger, I doubt they really know what Dune is about as a cult classic. To them, it’s probably a new concoction in the vein of the Hunger Games and Maze Runner. And for that I’m grateful because it needed a refresh and a shift in point of view. Plus, a reality check in the diversity department. The world to come will have more color. Finally, some Asian faces in the future from a Hollywood film. I can’t wait for more Korean films to turn the tables on that one. And by the way, Zendaya was the perfect choice.

Zendaya in the Dune remake

The new Dune movie? Instead of smelling cloves and nutmeg everywhere I go when I think of the film. I’ll probably think of Zendaya every time. Yay.

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