Header Ads

Jason Momoa Finally Fixes A Key Dune Adaptation Problem

Warning: SPOILERS for Dune

In Dune 2021, Jason Momoa finally fixes a key adaptation problem. The sci-fi epic, based on the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he and his family relocate to the desert world, Arrakis. It's there that House Atreides is betrayed, and after a pitched battle with a combination of Harkonnen troops and the Emperor's Sardaukar soldiers, the majority of Atreides forces are wiped out.

Jason Momoa plays Duncan Idaho, a skilled warrior and close friend to Paul. In the Dune book, Idaho is described as tall, dark, and handsome, but just as lethal as he is charming. A chief swordmaster in the service of House Atreides, Idaho is charged with training Paul in combat, and when he meets his end after helping Paul and Jessica escape, Idaho takes nineteen of the elite Sarsaukar with him. Previous Dune adaptations, however, have not done the character justice, with the 2000 miniseries leaving him under-developed and the 1984 movie using him as simple cannon fodder.

Related: Dune Cast & Character Guide

The 2021 adaptation finally gets Momoa's Dune character right by fully developing him, showcasing his significant fighting abilities, and earning audience investment in him before killing him off. Jason Momoa's performance in Denis Villeneuve's Dune is the only one that tracks with the novel's description of the deadly swordmaster. The depiction of Idaho in the 2021 movie also serves to highlight how badly the other two adaptations wasted the character.

Duncan Idaho is a minor character in the 1984 Dune movie. His name is barely mentioned, his relationship with Paul is unexplored, and when the Harkonnen and Sardaukar forces invade Arrakeen, he dies almost instantly. The 2000 Dune miniseries does a slightly better job, keeping him around long enough to rescue Paul and Jessica and establishing that he and Paul are friends, but he is never shown in combat, instead being killed by a Harkonnen airstrike before the audience really gets a chance to care about him. Both depictions leave a huge gap between the charming warrior of the Dune book, and the adaptations' lackluster variants.

The 2021 Dune movie, however, shows just how much onscreen potential the character has. Momoa brings a confidence and charisma to the role that has been noticeably lacking in previous portrayals, and his ability to perform convincing stage combat finally allows for a version of Idaho that's as lethal as the novel. Dune 2021 also takes more time to flesh out his likable character and establish his relationship with Paul so that the audience can feel significantly more connected to him than to previous versions of the character. As a result, when he dies saving Paul and Jessica amidst a pile of more than a dozen slain Sardaukar, it actually matters to viewers as more than just a simple plot point.

Denis Villeneuve's Dune gives Momoa the platform to bring to life one of the story's most underused characters in previous screen versions. Though any film adaptation necessitates some changes from the source material, Dune 2021 truly shows how  wasteful the previous projects were with their portrayals of Idaho. Even though Duncan Idaho dies in part one of Dune, his characterization can give audiences hope that the film series will continue to make the most of its characters going forward.

Next: Dune: Who Is The Emperor? Imperium & War Explained

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.