As I rarely discard a book, it should thus come as no surprise that I have overflowing shelves of novels I’ve once read, enjoyed, savoured and then swore up-and-down-back-and-forth that I was going to re-read someday. Alas, it is someday. I’m spending whole of 2016 revisiting my book collection, digging back into books I read once, but that I haven’t read (or listened to) in at least four years. So, we’re about to find out what was worth reading… twice.
About a year ago we watched a documentary film on Netflix about a project to turn Dune into the most epic movie of all time; That documentary was called Jodorowsky’s Dune and told the story of cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s infamous attempt to film the unfilmable book:
Dune by Frank Herbert.
As I push through this thoroughly enjoyable novel, a novel filled with epic scale and galactic ideas, intrigue and culture, pain, poignancy and the ever-present dangers of a desert planet lacking moisture and populated by creatures indescribably huge (sandworms) and small (people) waiting at the fringes of the story to kill the protagonists, I’ve been thinking about this story as a movie. Jodorowsky’s effort blossomed into something that would have become a 14 hour long film (and you thought The Hobbit got bloated!) but eventually fell from his grasp and was filmed into something much more traditional (the film released back in 1984, which I put a hold on that at the library for when I soon finish the novel.) I’ve watched the trailer for that and … well.. it’s an 80s science fiction movie, so… expectations tempered, y’know.
I guess the point isn’t that it has already been filmed, but rather than the scope of it made it seem so impossible. The scope of the novel inspired someone to try and create something so massive, that same drive that makes filmmakers today create things like Game of Thrones into a five season mini-series, guys were trying to do that back in the 70s. They were unsuccessful, but they tried, and now we wonder why they failed because we read these epic stories and yearn to see them on the screen.
Dune got that ball rolling. And not only does that seem to make it more worthy of this reading, but it makes it seem a bit more important too.