Sand dune lip tattoo and Mentat’s secret, explained

[Ed. note: This piece contains mild spoilers for Dune.]

Early in operation dune, Something strange happened. Duke Leto Atredes (Oscar Isaac) casually wondered how much the emperor would have to spend to send an envoy to his home planet Karadane. In response, his servant Thufir Hawat (Stephen McKinley Henderson) turned his eyes back until only white was exposed. When he turned them back, his tattooed lips were able to spit out the exact monetary cost of the entire production.

Director Dennis Villeneuve dune There are too many things to explain during its operation. It never elaborates on what just happened, but the reader dune This book will have a very good idea: Piter De Vries by Thufir Hawat and David Dastmalchian is Mentats, the human computer in the dune world.

Why do dunes need humans and machines? Do they have no ordinary computers?

The legend of the dunes is very long, very deep and very strange.In other words, tens of thousands of years before the incident dune, Human society was completely changed by an artificial intelligence earthquake war called Butler Jihad. After that, humans vowed that they would never create a machine that can do the work of human thinking. It is even incorporated into the main religion of the galaxy, “You can’t make machines according to human thoughts.”

So no, there are no computers in Dune’s world—not even pocket calculators. Instead, complex calculations are performed by people called Mentats, who are specially trained and very smart.

Yes, it turns out that the only thing that prevents us from being as good at mathematics as computers is proper training.

Why does Mentats have lip tattoos?

Mentat lip gloss is one of them duneThe most evocative character visual effect, a visual cue shared by all Mentats, because—this is dune, After all-drugs. Mentats habitually drink “Sappho Juice”, which is a super coffee that can increase their mental acuity twice or more. Naturally, Sapho is addictive, and eventually it will have the side effect of staining the user’s lips red.

Donald Mowat, hair and makeup dune, Told Polygon that the “wine stained lips” of the film Mentats is one of the most difficult elements to design.

“It’s ridiculous to say,” Mowat said on Zoom. “I spent a week on this. To be honest, I lost my mind for a minute.”

On the recommendation of his team members, he decided to look for inspiration from the 1984 adaptation of David Lynch. “I tried. I played with the idea of ​​blackberry, its color, wine stains. Then I said,’That looks like a kid who drank Kool Aid.'”

Lynch’s psychology dune And these absolutely wild eyebrows.
Image: Universal Pictures

Mowat is already designing tattoos for other characters in the movie, such as Fremen and Sardaukar Warriors.

“This is what makes me think,’Why this must be a stain? Why can’t it be a symbol of wine color? I just keep thinking about blackberry, cassis, dark. That’s why it became that little piece.”