So, at the moment I’m really excited by a couple of movies coming up, the first for literary reasons, and the second for reasons nothing to do with writing but another interest of mine, (and it’s an excuse to talk about a non-writing passion).
There are spoilers ahead for the Le Mans 66 and new Dune movie, I’m feeling passionate about both, so I’m not self censoring – so it’s hidden behind the cut.
So first up, a favourite story of mine Dune is getting a new film version directed by Denis Villeneuve (dir. Arrival, Sicario), and I’m really really excited. Don’t get me wrong, I loved, and still love 1984’s David Lynch directed Dune movie, but it has it’s flaws and changes from the book, (it is a pretty packed book with a lot of detail and a lot of plot). The cast looks great with Duke Leto played by Oscar Isaacs, Duncan Idaho by Jason Momoa, Baron Harkonnen by Stellan Skarsgård, the Beast Rabbon by Dave Bautista, and Gurney Halleck by Josh ‘I’m now in everything ever’ Brolin all of whom I love, I don’t know the new Paul Atreides Timothée Chalamet, and I don’t really know any of the female cast – but given the quality of the rest of the cast, I’m sure the roles of Lady Jessica, the Reverend Mother Mohiam, and Chani.
Apparently this film is only covering the first half of the book, and I appreciate that, Villeneuve is trying to avoid the problems of Lynch’s version.
I don’t know how well it will be received, despite being one of the best sci-fi stories of all time, it’s a fairly niche, but passionate fan base.
So I’m excited to see this version of the story told in a new way, with all the bell’s and whistles modern film making can offer, e.g. CGI and ridiculous budgets.
There’s not much footage that I’ve seen, but it looks epic enough from what little there is:
The other film I’m really excited about is Le Mans ’66. I’m a massive Le Mans 24 hour fan, it’s twenty four hours of mostly storied racing, and I’ve watched it every year for the best part of a decade. I could wax lyrical about why… so let’s do that, but I’m limiting myself to just three points:
It’s a race that combines going fast, with mechanical reliability, physical endurance not only of the drivers, but the whole crew supporting the cars, creative problem solving, (you’d be amazed to see what they do to keep their cars running), all supported by a rich history and tradition. You could argue Formula One, or any other racing series has these, but no where near as intensely that one day race, (there is a world endurance championship but the other races lack that magic found on the Circuit De La Saarth).
As sporting challenges go it can have such heart break, people get injured in crashes and accidents, and thankfully rarely their lives, (which is truly hard to watch, I was watching when Allan Simonsen sadly lost his life in 2013, not something I want to see again). There’s less tragic, though still tragic, moments in the race where that mechanical reliability fails, the crushing moment when a car rolls to a tried and worn out death on the last lap. It’s just as tragic when you end up retire in the first few hours, because you never got to see what you could truly do with man and machine. Getting to the end of the Le Mans 24 hours is truly an achievement in itself, but the drivers are in it for as high a place as they can possibly get.
And lastly, there are actually stories on and off the track interacting with each other, rivalries between car brands, gentleman racers (you get celebrities racing, racing greats, even gamers that won competitions), new technologies competing with old technologies, (in the past few years hybrids have become a major thing).
Okay, I cheated a little, that wasn’t three simple bullet points, I fit a lot into each paragraph, but it serves to show how much I like this one race. It’s pretty much the only sporting event I watch in a year. I really love it.
One of the greatest stories in the Le Mans 24 hour’s rich history is that of Ford versus Ferrari in 1966, the subject of the Le Mans ’66 movie coming out this November.
So, this is what I know of the story, in brief, Ford tried to buy Ferrari back in the 60’s, the deal was all set to go through until Enzo Ferrari stepped in at the last minute and kiboshed it, angering Henry Ford II, the owner of Ford at the time. He swore vengeance, and the revenge plan he set upon was ending Ferrari’s five year stretch of wins at the Le Mans.
Ford should have no chance, they’d never produced a top tier Le Mans type car before, so they called in Carroll Shelby (the designer of the amazing AC Cobra, and went on to design the Shelby Mustang one of the most glorious car cars in the world), to design and build the car under a ridiculous time frame, with Ken Miles as the driver to push the team and win the race. And win they did, again, and again, and finally again. They obliterated Ferrari so badly, Ferrari haven’t won the top tier ever since.
The film stars Matt Damon as Carroll Shelby, and Christian Bale as Ken Miles and the trailer for it looks awesome:
N.B. at the time of writing, the 2019 Le Mans is next weekend (15th to 16th June), you can watch it on Eurosport in Europe, and it airs all over the world, and if you’re really struggling for somewhere to watch it, some teams have streams from their cars you can watch too.
There are other 24 hour races, such as the Daytona 24 hours, and other rivalries, including one between Ford and GM in the Bathurst 24 hours.
So in conclusion I love niche things, but it’s a great time to love niche things because people are trying to make them mainstream.
There’s other great movies to come, a new Spiderman movie which looks really good, and I like how the trailers are misdirects, (we know Mysterio isn’t a hero, but they’re really selling to the people that don’t know the Spiderman mythology, and it makes a difference from recent adverts that pretty much tell the whole story).
Also we’ve just had Avenger’s End Game, and it was truly epic… and I could write verbatim on the subject of the MCU, and I will, but not now. For now, let’s just enjoy two awesome movies that celebrate amazing things that many people may not have had chance to appreciate the way I did and do.
And there’s the finale to the current Star Wars trilogy, and again I’d love to write about the story telling in Star Wars.