Dune is the big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s bestseller of the same name is now showing in cinemas around the world. The director is Oscar nominee, Denis Villeneuve, who also directed Arrival and Blade Runner 2049.
The movie is a mythical and emotional story about the hero’s journey – Paul Atreides is a gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who has to travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
Many fans have been waiting for the film to come out for some time as it was delayed more than a year because of the pandemic. You only have to add to all of this that the director, Denis Villeneuve, has been responsible for some of the most acclaimed sci-fi screen stories of the past few years including the Blade Runner sequel 2049.
But even with all of these expectations, Dune manages to still take your breath away when you see it. It’s a vivid, dazzling cinematic experience which which you can’t look away from. The fact is, there is just so much going for this movie.
For a start, while Dune is a complex novel which can become almost too complex, Villeneuve and co-screenwriters Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth have stripped it back to the elemental story – and this works well. Some may think this is oversimplifying the film but it makes the story more accessible and lets the performances and film-making take centre stage. Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser’s visuals are riveting and very sci-fi.
Next, the film has a stellar cast – most of whom have starred in other big-name science fiction movies. For a start, the lead role is played by Oscar nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name, Little Women). Rebecca Ferguson also stars (Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Mission: Impossible – Fallout), plus Oscar Isaac (the Star Wars franchise) Oscar nominee Josh Brolin (Milk, Avengers: Infinity War), Stellan Skarsgård (HBO’s Chernobyl, Avengers: Age of Ultron), Dave Bautista (the Guardians of the Galaxy films, Avengers: Endgame), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences, Lady Bird), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming, HBO’s Euphoria), Chang Chen (Mr Long, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), David Dastmalchian (Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Knight), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Netflix’s Sex Education), with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Assassin’s Creed), with Jason Momoa (Aquaman, HBO’s Game of Thrones) and Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall).
Worthwhile seeing on the big screen
As far as appreciating the film goes, it really is best to see it on a large screen if you can, so you can appreciate all the amazing effects which have been built-in to the film – from Hans Zimmer’s score to Patrice Vermette’s production design.
Thankfully, Dune doesn’t rely on CGI to the point it’s too much. Even the giant worm works in the moments it appears – which is an achievement! The movie shows us a world which is futuristic but it’s a world that has been lived in – we can see where it’s been worn and that takes time to get that sort of authenticity.
Reviews of the film have been very positive – even the critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave it 83% – a high accolade for them – and the audience gave it 90%. All the performances have been praised but particularly Chalamet’s performance in the lead role has been described as a great balance of ‘youthful excitement with the burden of destiny.’
We’d have to say Dune achieves a great deal in this visually thrilling adaptation.
Dune is now on in cinemas around the world.