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    27 Differences Between The New "Dune" Movie And The One From 1984

    The sleeper (me) has awakened, and all I wanna do is discuss Dune.

    After an eternally long wait, Denis Villeneuve's Dune is FINALLY HERE.

    Warner Bros.

    Whatever you say, Lady Jessica.

    This is the second attempt at a film adaptation of the novel Dune by Frank Herbert. The first one was released in 1984, directed by David Lynch, and starred Kyle MacLachlan as Paul Atreides.

    Universal Pictures

    It was originally intended to have at least one sequel, but poor critical reception and box office performance nixed those plans. Between then and now, people are starting to acknowledge that it really wasn't that bad.

    Here, for your own critical comparison, are all the differences between Lynch's Dune movie from 1984 and Villeneuve's from 2021:

    1. Villeneuve got rid of one of my least favorite aspects of the original Dune: the audible internal monologue for every major character. Thank you, Denis!

    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Hearing every single thought the characters had was unnecessary exposition and ultimately disrupted the action more than it helped explain anything.  

    2. Even though narration is nowhere near as prominent in Villeneuve's movie, there is still an opening narration — but this time, it's delivered by Zendaya's Chani instead of Princess Irulan.

    Chani's opening monologue is part of one of Paul's dreams, whereas Princess Irulan's in 1984 was just direct exposition delivered to the audience. 

    3. The Atreides family had a sweet little pug in the 1984 version. There is no pug in 2021's Dune, but there are adorable desert mice.

    Universal, Warner Bros.

    4. Paul has a closer relationship with both his parents in the 2021 film, which is demonstrated by a couple of extra scenes that weren't in the original.

    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    For example, Paul's conversation with Leto on the cliffs of Caladan, and Jessica's visible anguish while Gaius Helen Mohiam tested Paul, were welcome additions to the movie.

    5. Speaking of Paul's parents, Lady Jessica? She's an absolute BADASS now.

    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection, HBO Max

    Not that 1984's Jessica was a slouch, but she was certainly a more passive character than this new version. Rebecca Ferguson absolutely nails it as a more powerful, aggressive, and straight-up cool version of the character. 

    6. The 2021 movie is sliiiightly funnier than the original.

    I only counted about three jokes, and two of them came from Jason Momoa, but it's more than the original had! 

    7. Thankfully, Baron Harkonnen looks different than he did in 1984.

    Universal, HBO Max

    He's still pretty sinister to look at, but the absence of pustules is a huge improvement. The baron's preferred method of movement is still floating around like a balloon, but I'll admit that the 2021 version makes it look a little more menacing and a little less accidentally humorous. This movie also ditched the signature bright orange hair of House Harkonnen, making its members bald instead.

    8. On the subject of the Harkonnens, one change that really scrambled my brain was the fact that the movies pronounce the name differently.

    1984: Har-KO-nnen

    2021: HAR-ko-nnen

    Maybe this is because I heard it first, but I personally prefer the 1984 pronunciation.

    9. Dr. Wellington Yueh is played by Taiwanese actor Chang Chen.

    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection, Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Even though the name Yueh is Chinese, the character was white in both the 1984 movie and the 2000 miniseries.

    10. The 2021 movie uses a few different languages, while the 1984 movie used only English.

    Dr. Yueh and Paul speak Mandarin to each other, Jessica uses a type of sign language to communicate covertly, and the Fremen use a language called Chakobsa.

    11. Stilgar shows up much earlier, which we should all be thankful for because he is played by Javier Bardem.

    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    He comes to visit the Atreideses when they move to Arrakeen, instead of showing up for the first time near the end, as he does in the 1984 version.

    12. The 2021 version really emphasizes the harsh conditions on Arrakis and how much the Atreideses have to adapt when they get there.

    The 1984 movie made it clear that Arrakis was a desert planet, but not how dangerous it was to be outside for even a single moment without a stillsuit.

    13. Dr. Liet-Kynes is a woman in the new movie, portrayed by Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

    Universal, Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The character is a man in the novel and was played by Max von Sydow in the original movie.

    14. Her death plays out differently than in the 1984 movie.

    In the 1984 movie, Dr. Kynes was killed by the Harkonnens. In this movie, she sacrifices herself to give Paul and Jessica time to escape the Sardaukar army. She does this by summoning the sandworm to come eat her and the Sardaukar surrounding her.

    15. Obviously, the quality of CGI has improved drastically since 1984. As a result, everything in 2021's Dune looks much more realistic and expansive.

    HBO Max

    It seems almost unnecessary to mention this, but the dragonfly ships in the new movie are just too cool to ignore. With that said, the 1984 movie was really impressive at the time.

    16. Paul's visions are really, really different in both movies.

    My apologies to Lynch, but I did not understand Paul's visions in the 1984 movie at all. They were full of metaphors and symbolism that, without the necessary context of the book, were more confusing than explanatory. Villeneuve's take on the visions was more literal and showed actual events and conversations that Paul might experience in the future. The visions/dreams also make up about 80% of Zendaya's screentime.

    17. Duncan Idaho has a much bigger role this time around, and Momoa is great in it.

    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    1984's Duncan had a close relationship with Paul, but Momoa and Timothée Chalamet have great chemistry and more scenes together that really cement the bond between the characters. Duncan also died earlier in the 1984 version, but in this movie he survived the attack on Arrakeen and saved Paul and Jessica in the desert before going out in a sacrificial blaze of glory against the Sardaukar. No one does a battle cry quite like Momoa, and Duncan's final moments gave me chills.

    18. The new movie had more combat scenes, which is always cool.

    Duncan, Gurney, Paul, and Lady Jessica (!!) all kick major butt in this movie.

    19. Leto's death scene follows the same plot as the original movie but is different visually.

    HBO Max

    The 1984 movie saw Leto paralyzed and strapped to a gurney while Baron Harkonnen gloated over him. He then released poison gas that he was hiding in a fake tooth, which only wounded Harkonnen but killed Leto himself. This is what happens in the 2021 movie, except that Leto is naked and seated at his own table, surrounded by Harkonnens who had just infiltrated his house. He manages to kill all of them but the baron with his poisoned tooth, but the scene really illustrates just how badly Leto has been defeated.

    20. Paul and Jessica spend a much longer time lost in the desert after escaping Arrakeen and work together to survive.

    HBO Max

    In the original movie, they were found by the Fremen right away, and Jessica was so hysterical over Leto's death that Paul had to keep them alive on his own.

    21. Jessica and Paul are not immediately accepted by the Fremen, and Paul must fight a duel to the death before they are able to join them.

    In the 1984 movie, they were accepted by the Fremen right away. However, there was a deleted scene in which Paul fought and killed Jamis, just as he does in the 2021 version. The 1984 movie actually has a lot of deleted scenes that you can find on YouTube, including a completely different ending. 

    22. Zendaya is only in seven minutes of Dune, and I know we're all upset about it, but I have to tell you: Her character, Chani, is already doing more than she did in the 1984 version.

    Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

    In just a few shots, 2021's Chani seems knowledgeable, tough, and entirely unimpressed by Paul. 1984's Chani had maybe five lines and was shown doing little besides kissing Paul.

    23. There are a few characters from the 1984 movie that aren't in the 2021 movie, including the Emperor and Alia Atreides.

    The Emperor is mentioned in the movie, and his desire to kill the Atreideses is what drives the movie's conflict, but we never actually see him. Alia is technically mentioned when we learn that Lady Jessica is pregnant, but at the end of the movie, she isn't born yet. Princess Irulan and Feyd-Rautha (who was played by Sting!) are also not in the new movie. The Emperor, Alia, and Irulan are likely to show up in Part 2 — that's just my assumption, since they're pretty important in the book — but who knows if we'll see another rock star embody Feyd.

    24. "The sleeper has awakened" was an oft-repeated line in the original movie, but nobody says it once in the 2021 movie.


    It's not in the novel, either! But it's a meaningful line for Leto and Paul in the 1984 movie, so I was surprised not to hear it at all in the new one.

    25. Paul is resentful of the Bene Gesserit prophecy and even lashes out at Jessica because of it, which didn't happen in the 1984 movie.

    In the 1984 movie, Paul was worried that he wouldn't live up to the prophecy, but this version of the character dismisses the prophecy as a myth and doesn't believe in it until the very end of the movie. Paul is also tormented by his prophetic dreams and worries that power will corrupt him.

    26. The plot of both movies is actually really similar until the ending.

    Universal, HBO Max

    In the 1984 version, there was a two-year time jump after Paul and Jessica are accepted as members of the Fremen. During this time, Alia is born, Jessica becomes the reverend mother of the Fremen, Paul and Chani begin their romantic relationship, and Paul drinks the Water of Life, which gives him powers and the ability to control the giant sandworms. He then reunites with Gurney Halleck and leads the Fremen in a final battle against the Harkonnens and the Emperor, during which Alia kills Baron Harkonnen and Paul defeats the Emperor. Finally, he uses his psychic powers to make it rain on Arrakis and is accepted as the Kwisatz Haderach. On the other hand, the 2021 movie ends when Paul and Jessica join the Fremen. 

    Ultimately, Villeneuve's movie is clearly set up to have a sequel, while Lynch's movie had more of a conclusion.

    27. And finally, Jessica says the "Fear is the mind killer" monologue instead of Paul.

    Warner Bros.

    She repeats it like a sort of prayer whenever she's under duress, such as when her son is being tortured or the aircraft she's riding in is crashing into the sand.

    Did you like the new Dune? Did you like it less or more than the original? Discuss below, please!