Dune v Dune: Comparing Denis Villeneuve's Films to the Book

As Denis Villeneuve's second part of the Dune adaptation hits cinemas, we analyze the accuracies and inaccuracies of the films compared to Frank Herbert's original novel.


Right - The Atreides

In the Dune films, House Atreides is portrayed as a colonial power, not just a force of good. This nuanced approach captures the moral complexities present in Frank Herbert's novel, rejecting the simplistic portrayal of the Atreides as white saviors.

The film acknowledges the Atreides' self-interest and pursuit of power, even as they aim to exploit the Fremen for their own benefit. This departure from previous adaptations adds depth to the narrative.

Wrong - The Fremen

The film removes many of the Arabic references and cultural elements associated with the Fremen in Herbert's novel. While the decision to hire a multi-ethnic cast is commendable, it results in a portrayal of the Fremen as generic rebels instead of a distinct culture rooted in Islamic influences.

A more faithful approach would have involved consulting Islamic scholars and writers to ensure accurate representation, honoring Herbert's original intentions.

Right - Arrakis

Villeneuve's portrayal of Arrakis creates a fully immersive and believable world. The attention to detail in depicting the desert landscape, from its windswept ergs to its secret sietch dwellings, captures the essence of Herbert's vision.

Unlike other sci-fi films that feature multiple planets, Dune focuses primarily on Arrakis, allowing the audience to truly get lost in the world created by Herbert over six decades ago.


Wrong - Arrakeen

The film minimizes the portrayal of Arrakeen, the capital city of Arrakis, and fails to showcase its diverse population. This omission undermines the rich cultural diversity of the Fremen people and paints them as a uniform group of desert-dwellers.

In the novels, Arrakeen is a bustling city with traders, off-worlders, and religious fervour. By neglecting this aspect, the film misses an opportunity to further explore the complexity of the Fremen society.