Film Frenzy - Episode 4: Reviewing Dune: Part Two and looking ahead to Horizon: An American Saga

Magnus joins Ben and Alex to discuss Denis Villenueve's latest action epic, before the conversation is hijacked to talk about Kevin Costner's upcoming Western gamble and what we hope will become the start of the Kevin Costner Cinematic Universe.

Audio transcription

"Hello everyone and welcome back to, I think this is the fourth episode of Film Frenzy.
Today, as you can tell in this box above me right here, we've got Magnus with us today.
Magnus is, I'm gonna go and say like a resident film guru. Magnus does loads of great reviews for us, for the film side of things."

"Well, we brought Magnus on this episode and potentially for the future as well because Magnus had the chance to see Dune Part Two, which is what we're gonna be talking about today.
Of course, Alex is here again, up above me over here now.
As always.
As always, looks absolutely thrilled to be here right now."

"But yeah, let's dive in then. Mag, tell us about Dune, was it any good?
I think you're muted.
I'm muted.
Can you hear me now?

"There we go.
Yeah, I'm so sorry. Do you want to do, do you need to do the entire intro again? I'm so sorry.
No, they'll fix it.
It was great."

"They'll roll it.
It was just, it was just so perfectly accentuated. I wouldn't want to make you do a round two of that.
The beauty of this show is that it's a complete train wreck from minute one and we just lean into it.
You know, that's how we do these things, you know."

"It's casual and formal.
It's game right to the nutshell. We very much run before we can walk. I love that.
Okay. Yes, I went to see Dune, part two on a press screening.
And as we record this, I think the review is live in the majority of game actor countries."

"So I guess it's fair to say that, yes, it's very good.
I think most of us kind of thought that it would be given the nature or the nature of the sort of the general critical and fan consensus surrounding the first film.
And this is just very much a continuation of those central themes.
So I think in in that particular regard is one of those safer bets."

"Even though obviously there is this tendency for at least in some cases for second films of trilogies to be sort of the meandering, slightly boring, ill paced, sort of ugly middle child.
This is very much not that.
And what's unclear currently is whether or not this is actually the middle chapter of a trilogy or whether or not we should just look at it as the conclusion of the adaptation of the first central book."

"But I think judged like just completely sort of surface level.
Yes, it's very good.
Yes, it's amazing to look at.
It sounds fantastic."

"It sounds fantastic.
It's very well acted and put together.
And furthermore, I think it solidifies itself as one of those big cinema experiences that you really ought to go and experience.
Pay for like pay for your full ticket, support or some big blockbuster cinema like this."

"So I think it very much deserves to be in that sort of array of these cinema behemoths.
So Oppenheimer, Mission Impossible, Dead Reckoning, Top Gun Maverick, very much those sorts of things.
Yes, it's sort of cinema saviours, if you will.
I think that's very much what this is supposed to be and what it very much is."

"So in that particular regard, yeah, it's a very good time.
And I would implore everyone to go see it as well and support this kind of filmmaking.
I think as well, you know, we talk about it being a potential trilogy.
I think it all comes down to money talks at the end of the day, doesn't it?
If the film does really well, regardless of whether Denis Villeneuve will want to come back or not, I think there'll be more films in the franchise."

"Because that's just how production companies work, isn't it?
Well, the thing is, he could.
He could potentially because Dune Messiah is very much regarded as one, as part of Paul's story.
So you could."

"It is also sort of critically considered to be a good book.
And it is a good book.
It's before even Frank Herbert was considered a literary genius, which he is just on the back of those two, three books.
He kind of got off the rails even at the end of his own tenure as the Dune man."

"So if you like the first Dune book was, at least until now, considered to be unadaptable because it's just too much of a allegorical weird sort of behind the scenes look at completely.
So the scrambled notes before they're being bundled together into singles for a red threaded story.
But it goes completely off the rails in like three or four."

"And then, of course, we come to the controversial topic of his son just being our Dune books after Frank Herbert died, which is either considered or not considered part of the canon, if you will, depending on your loyalty to Frank himself.
So they could do Messiah apparently has done the script for like the script outline for Messiah.
But as you said, I think I looked it up and I think part two costs like two hundred million dollars to produce, which is a that's a that's a that's a high amount of money these days to be thrown around when nothing is pretty much safe to get that back."

"So whether or not it makes makes that back, I think that's that's very much like I don't I simply don't know.
Yeah, it's a difficult one to say, because there has been some really good films, particularly in twenty twenty three that didn't really achieve well in the box office.
Like I still look back at Dungeons and Dragons and I look at that film."

"It's such a shame.
It was it was a shame because it was a really good film.
And I feel like not enough people gave it the time of day.
It is because it was probably one of the more fun films that we got last year."

"But looking back after Baldur's Gate, I think it does way more way more numbers.
Yeah, that's a very good.
And also, I just I just brought up debt reckoning as well.
Even Mission Impossible was unable to like it made a lot of money, but it also I think really like summarizes how much money these movies are needs to make in order to be considered financially viable and successful."

"And when even like the top of like really solid franchise filmmaking can't do that, I just don't know where that leaves.
Like, did you guys see the rumor of with the joke, the Joker movie that has a budget of 200 million as well?
How the fuck is it supposed to do 200?
Like then it not only is like one billion like really good news, it now fucking needs to make one billion in order to even like be like that's just so stupid."

"I don't understand how they managed to spend so much money.
Like the one that gets me is whenever you see a story about yeah, but the one that always gets me is with like Gladiator.
You see that it was supposed to have like a budget of about 150 million and it went up to like 310 or something.
And it only took 49 days."

"Yeah, like Ridley Scott must have been an absolute madman on set.
He must have just been like blowing cash.
I want more monkeys, more tigers, give me everything.
I don't understand how it possibly happens."

"They list up these like in the I think the original Hollywood Reporter piece.
It was kind of like, oh, well, but it does have like this really like star-studded past.
And then they say Denzel Washington, Connie Nielsen.
Well, that's it."

"Those two.
So they had like they demanded like 50 mil each to show up on set.
They kind of have to, right?
Because otherwise I've no idea how you managed to go through all that money so quickly."

"49 days for 310 mil.
It's great.
It's great.
I'm sure it's great.
But it does beg your questions that how these big action films are going to stay afloat."

"Dude, I seem to remember that the first dude only managed to generate like 400 million dollars at the global box office or something.
Well, it was at the height of the COVID-19 era.
So it's one of those things where it's really hard to sort of pin down how successful it was.
But yeah, I'm looking at around 434 million."

"But the point is that that was made for 165 million dollars.
So why?
I know that cast members always like the production product just always rise.
They kind of have to because returning as part of the core cast always demands a salary increase."

"It's kind of the way of the business.
But at the same time, it just seems like even though that it's part of the COVID-19 thing, it just seems like that there isn't sort of a firm set of solid evidence that this can bring home the billion or the 1.2 billion.
That it can be part of that."

"And Dillner has been here before because like Blade Runner 2049 was supposed to be a freaking like slam dunk, instant hint with the critics and part of a really established long term franchise, which people have been clamoring for decades.
It comes out and it just loses money by the fucking time because that's the space that Dillner has always operated in because he is a mainstream director, but also not quite."

"He's just a tad bit too art house to make a billion dollars.
He just doesn't really do that.
So it just it seems like a really unwise decision to keep increasing the budgets of his films.
So for instance, Blade Runner 2049, I think was made for like 180 or so million dollars and it brought in less than half a billion."

"So it was considered a massive disappointment by way of I can't remember what the Sony Warner Bros.
The point is that I have no idea, but I do know that at least from my sort of immediate circle of friends, people outside of our sphere, they know it's coming and they're excited by it.
Whether or not they show up in cinemas, it's this kind of a whole nother thing."

"Yeah, it is. And I think as you say about him being a sort of art house, a bit director, I remember going to watch Blade Runner 2049 at cinemas.
I would have been it was like 78 years ago or something at this point.
So I would have been much younger."

"But I went with a couple of friends and one of them fell asleep watching the film, which I thought was like a prime example of what the film was like.
Right. You know, there's some people that are watching it like a gross, like, wow, this is amazing.
And the other half are just like, what am I watching?
This is so boring. So yeah, I think it's an interesting dynamic."

"But well, I think this Dune Part II does seem to fit that window, doesn't it?
Where it's it's got the potential to thrive because it's it's kind of established now being a sequel.
And you hope that people are going to flock to it with that regard.
But but no, it does seem to have a tough future ahead of it to make it."

"Yeah. And it's also I will say that the one thing it also has going for it is that Dune Part I was always supposed to be that.
That's just the way the book works. And I read the book twice.
I like it. But I also it's a very difficult barrier to enter because the first part of Dune really is just elaborate setup.
And it's so what happens at the end of the first Dune movie, essentially where the Harkonnen sort of plant the knife in the Atreides client's back."

"That kind of sets off the events that means that the book can ride high, even like towards the second and the third act.
And that's very much what this is. This is very sort of high octane filmmaking in a different way to part one.
So maybe what heavy emphasis on maybe this has a better chance of sort of appealing to the wider movie going audience because it is I would say that it's a more it is still a very heady and advanced, sort of deeply spiritual sci fi epos. But it's also a guerrilla war movie, very much a war movie in more ways than one."

"So but whether or not that helps it, whether or not I just it's a really good question whether or not it's the kind of movie that makes 400 million.
And it's considered to be a massive disappointment, which will completely shut down plans, I think, for doing Messiah.
But it's it's it's up in the air currently. We're supposed to get the first numbers over the weekend, aren't we?
Yeah, so a couple of days time."

"I need to book my tickets, actually. I need to book. I want to go see it in IMAX.
I want to see like the Sandworm coming out, like, you know, when in the 1900s when people running away from the locomotive train.
I want to be like that when the Sandworm is coming at me in the screen, you know.
You're going to get it."

"There are very good Sandworm, good Sandworm scenes in the movie.
There are many Sandworm scenes in the movie and the the thumping Hans Zimmer drums are very sort of omnipresent throughout the entire run time.
So you're going to have to go IMAX. I'm afraid so.
Definitely. All right. I'm hijacking the conversation. Rafa, the big hijack symbol, sirens, here we go."

"It wouldn't be a film frenzy episode if I didn't hijack the conversation to talk about Dad TV, which is exactly what we're doing right now.
Well, it's somewhat related to Yellowstone because it's got Kevin Costner involved.
Essentially, yesterday, as we were recording this video, the trailer for Horizon in American Saga Chapter One landed.
The greatest film of all time."

"Yeah, well, this is well, well, we'll see about that.
The interesting thing about this is that this is basically the film that sparked or the series that sparked all the Yellowstone drama because Kevin Costner couldn't do Yellowstone while also doing this film series he's been working on.
Now, you can kind of understand why it seems to be a very big film."

"And not only is their four parts planned so far, there's going to be two chapters this year alone within six weeks of each other.
So we're talking about doing, you know, potentially being a success with the three year break between the two films.
Kevin Costner is so proud and so confident his work that he's going to get two art housey western films out within six weeks of each other that seemingly have like an enormous budget as well, which he's directing and he's partly funded as well."

"So it's lovely.
I don't have a lot of positive things to say about this film so far, I'll be honest.
It looks very meh.
Do we have like, is there any precedence for this for a sequel to come out?
Because we've seen productions back to back before."

"That's not a new thing.
But productions back to back to then release them six weeks apart.
I mean, if one does really well, I think it's too quickly for it to spill over into the other one.
Well, the only thing I can think of is Rebel Moon, the Zack Snyder thing, because they're doing part two of that this year."

"And that's not exactly the best example to say.
Even that had five months of that.
Yeah, well, that's that's not it.
And it came first part came out."

"I think it's the second part in April.
So that's four months.
Half that.
And also, I will say that while there are there are cases of Westerns doing really well, it's not the sort of the broadest appealing movie genre, particularly now."

"There are outliers.
Certainly both Django and Hateful Eight did very well.
But those are Tarantino films and it's a different kind of thing.
He has his own thing going."

"But like for people, it seems that it's getting harder and harder for expensive movies to make their expensive budget back.
So who in June is going to say, I know this month's trip to the cinema is going to see Verizon and American Saga.
Not in particularly late.
No, this month's movie is Verizon and American Saga, chapter fucking two."

"I'm reading the comments on this.
There's loads of people that love this.
Three minutes of pure, unrelated chills in capitals.
Welcome back, cinema."

"It is to Westerns what Martin Scorsese is to mafia films.
Oh, wow.
Much better.
Jesus Christ feels like a good old day."

"And that's because we're like that.
That's because like we're dancing with walls and those kinds of stuff, because he sort of has his feet planted.
I find it baffling when I when I watched the trailer, it doesn't come across to me like something like Yellowstone.
Yellowstone to me is that sort of crime, drama sort of thing."

"You know, it's very very mafia esque in a way, right?
It's a big rich family that sort of control and everything.
But like you look at this and it just seems completely different.
It just seems to me like I'm saying to Alex, it seems like set pieces and ambience."

"And it wants you to sort of really a bit like Denis Villeneuve films, right?
Where it wants you to appreciate what it is beyond being just a typical sort of action film or Western film.
There are more chapters, Ben.
I know."

"You can't just throw the whole thing in chapter two.
I know.
I've got four of these to make.
You were saying earlier like surely it's going to be big in like the West in the American South."

"I'm thinking like there's no way.
There's no way like a redneck is going to go to the cinema and sit through three hours of Kevin Kozner Western films.
Well, they won't know that it's that they're going in.
They see an American saga and that's it."

"That's enough to buy the ticket.
You see the flag.
You see Kevin Kozner.
You see a bunch of like white people, maybe some Native Americans people."

"I mean, that's that's the that's what I think is a lot of like like rural American moviegoers, at least in my mind, is it doesn't take much to sell the ticket.
It just takes a lot to sell the second ticket.
I think I do think at the end of this first film, we're going to get one of those end credit things."

"It says Kevin Kozner will return.
But apparently, I mean, it seems like that this is something that some sort of like little Hollywood group is doing.
I went down the bit like the really stupid rabbit hole of reading up on what Gina Carano has been up to ever since she was fired from from the Mandalorian, which that she was so sick of COVID-19 guidelines that they wanted to make a Western out in the middle of nowhere for almost no money, which she fronted herself where they didn't have any COVID-19 guidelines at all."

"And it seems like when when these people when these sort of semi sort of a bit sort of semi Republicans like they're so sick of Hollywood, they're so sick of like feeling persecuted.
They go and make Westerns and they fund them themselves.
So I have no idea why. Yeah."

"Yeah, exactly. And it's just why Westerns?
It's because all of them like they grab onto that, you know, you know, the great American era.
They all fucking love that shit.
They love it the way that they, you know, the American frontier of conquering the land and being honest and hardworking."

"It's like it's it's their bread and butter, really.
So it's just we keep hearing reports that Kostner is hard to work with.
And for him to go out and make his own Western in the desert just seems to not not directly confirm it.
But people feel like, yeah, that's something he might do."

"It just feels like he's just going to keep pouring more money into this.
You know, like Francis Ford Coppola for his Megalopolis.
I swear he had to sell like five vineyards to make that.
And I just like the headlines of Kevin Kostner selling off his ranches in Montana or whatever it's going to be."

"I can't wait to hear the full budget for that film.
Not Megalopolis Horizon.
I want to know how much it's going to cost Warner Brothers to make four parts of this film and how much money is coming out of Kevin Kostner's pocket.
Because it can't be cheap."

"They've got like a pretty stacked house.
Four billion dollar movies.
Well, who knows?
Maybe like Alex just completely mention of the car for a couple of minutes ago, the KCU."

"But just like just lend yourself to a world, just a brief moment to a world where that actually fucking happens.
Where we are going to be 15 Horizon movies down the line with more sort of more ambience and more sort of desert shots all filled in in the south and in Montana and the Midwest.
Fifteen chapters where there's like this big multiverse Kevin Kostner thing."

"I can't wait for it.
I'm sold.
Yeah, I would love it.
I would absolutely love it.

"I can't wait to see it flop.
I can't either.
I think it's going to be exciting.
I'm going to buy enough tickets to make it float."

"I'm going to keep it alive.
And also, let's not forget that the main supporting role is Sam Worthington, who is still to this day, in my mind, the biggest conundrum ever to walk into a Hollywood set.
I love thinking about him.
He's insane."

"It's just an emotional range which is very much at the sort of the same level as a concrete wall.
People love him though.
I can't get enough of him.
I love him."

"I think he's great.
Are you sure people love him?
Are you sure about that?
Are you sure people love him?
I do."

"Because he's in Avatar?
No, you don't.
You watched Attack of the Gods or whatever the fuck it was.
Clash of the Titans."

"And you saw it as well as I did.
And it was shit.
And he was shit in it.
Because he always is.
I'm sorry, but he is."

"When he's not blue, then he's making blue for this movie.
But he has in the Horizon thing, apart from Sam Worthington, obviously, there is actually some nice casting here and there, which makes it even more puzzling.
Michael Rooker.
And Giovanni Rubisti is in it as well."

"And Will Patton as well.
Luke Wilson.
Luke Wilson.
And Thomas Hayden Church, obviously."

"Son man.
Thomas Hayden Church.
He's not even in the main cast list.
I'm looking at it now from the trailer.
He's not written down there."

"Is he in it?
Who is?
Thomas Hayden Church.
Thomas Hayden Church.
Yeah, it's IPB Listen."

"Is it?
Well, anyway, look, I could talk about Horizon all day.
I really could.
I could talk about the KCU.
And look, when it comes down to June, we'll talk more about it."

"One of us will bite the bullet and go and watch this movie and tell you if chapter one's any good and if chapter two's worth booking a ticket for.
I wish you'd get different people for each chapter.
Four different people.
But anyway, all right, we'll talk about that in the future."

"Otherwise, we've been going for like a good 24 minutes.
We've been talking for ages about Dune and the KCU.
So we'll talk more about other things next week.
There's a lot of big films coming out over the next couple of weeks."

"So these film frenzies are going to be coming at you fast, thick and fast.
Lots of big movies to talk about, especially towards the end of March.
Godzilla vs."

"Oh no, Godzilla.
X-Kong, The New Empire.
The New Empire.
Frozen Empire."

"There's too many empires.
There's too many empires.
What do we do?
The ECU."

"We'll talk all about that in the future.
We'll get to that.
Otherwise, though, thank you for watching this episode of Film Frenzy.
Mag, thanks for being here."

"Hopefully, we'll see you next week and in the future ones as well.
Alex, a pleasure as always.
Dune to others as you were doomed to yourself.
I hate you so much."

"I'm ending.
I'm ending.
Oh my God.
I was just...
I'm ending."

"That was awful.
I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending."

"I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending."

"I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending."

"I'm ending.
I'm ending.
I'm ending."





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