MOVIE REVIEW: DUNE
'Dune' is the best original Sci-Fi adaptation in a while.
By Dan Dubon | November 3rd, 2021
Dune Is directed by Denis Villeneuve and has a cast of many impressive actors that are too many to list. When news first came out that Villeneuve would be directing a Dune adaptation many people thought that it would receive the same unfortunate fate of Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 which unfortunately underperformed at the box office In 2017. However that is not the case with Dune as so far it has been doing incredibly well at the overseas box office and just last week Warner Bros announced that Dune Part 2 will be hitting theaters in October 2023 to many people’s relief including my own.
The film opens with a very bold title card that reads “Dune Part 1” letting audiences know that this is only the beginning of a story and the movie certainly does play out that way. The central figure of the story is Timothee Chalamet’s Paul Atreides, the scion of the powerful House Atreides. This regal family, led by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), rules over the planet Caladan until it is ordered by the Emperor to relocate to and supervise Arrakis, the borderline uninhabitable desert world where spice is found. The assignment could make House Atreides the most powerful family in the galaxy, or destroy them if they fail to fulfill their duties.
Pretty big stakes right? Well things don’t get any easier for the Artredies as we get introduced to the films main antagonists The Harkonnens who are to put it lightly terrifying and brutal. Paul, the son of Duke Leto and his concubine Lady Jessica (Rebeca Ferguson), joins the rest of his family on Arrakis, where he learns he may be a prophesied superbeing known as the “Kwisatz Haderach.” The young, slight Paul seems skeptical about his grand destiny, and he’s plagued by bizarre dreams of places he’s never been and people he’s never met — including a Fremen woman played by Zendaya.
All of these actors are outstanding. Isaac radiates equal parts strength and sadness as the charismatic Duke Leto. Bardem has just a handful of scenes, but he immediately gives pathos and gravitas to the plight of the subjugated Fremen people. Paul’s closest advisers and trainers are two warriors, played by Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa, the latter of which looks especially jazzed to be surrounded by so much sci-fi splendor. Momoa brings a wonderfully earthy energy to a movie that can otherwise feel a little cold and distant.
Chalamet really sells Paul’s journey from innocent kid to battle-hardened warrior. The struggle between the Harkonnens and the Atreides builds to some truly astonishing visuals. Some are beautiful, others are horrifying; all are so much fun to just look at, particularly on a big screen. Dune will premiere simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max and while it’s worth seeing however you can, there’s no doubt that the film benefits from the size and immersion of a theatrical experience.
It’s been a while since we saw an original Sci-Fi property hold the interest of mainstream audiences. We’ve seen many try to replicate their success (Hunger Games, Mortal Engines) to underwhelming degrees. At the end of the day, Dune is an extremely immersive Sci-Fi story. This is a film that people will be talking about for years to come, and I can’t wait to see Paul continue his journey soon.