“Dune” is a science-fiction epic directed by Denis Villeneuve and is based on Frank Herbert’s famous novel. It stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, a son of the noble House Atreides who must go on a journey in the midst of a war for the dangerous desert planet of Arrakis (also known as Dune) in the distant future.
Denis Villeneuve has quickly become one of the best directors working today, and is currently the most consistent director working today. He continues to craft compelling, character-driven, and rich stories that challenge the audience while providing it with great entertainment value. Therefore, when “Dune” was first announced, I was ecstatic to see it, despite knowing absolutely nothing about the source material. Now that it has finally been released, I’m delighted to report that “Dune” did not disappoint. Not only is it one of Villeneuve’s best films among his terrific filmography, it’s also one of, if not the most visually stunning sci-fi movies of all time.
“Dune” immerses the audience into its breathtaking world. It’s incredibly rare for a film to make the audience feel like they’re actually in the story with the characters, and this film accomplished that with flying colors. “Dune” is impeccable on a technical level. Every single frame of this 2 ½ hour movie was clearly planned out in excruciating detail.
The sound of this film was phenomenal. Hans Zimmer’s score is inspired and adds a ton of tension and atmosphere to the film, and the sound editing is masterful as well. Each time the sand of Arrakis moves or the Ornithopters fly by, the audio blasts out of the screen.
This film excelled on a story level as well. Once the first act ended and its exposition was finished, twists and turns made for riveting second and third acts. The Lord of the Rings-esque battle in the middle of the film when the Harkonnens attack House Atreides was particularly thrilling. The deaths of almost all the characters except for Paul and his mother, Lady Jessica, were shocking and extremely satisfying. These two characters had the most compelling journeys of all the film’s many characters. While Paul’s arc was essentially the same as Luke Skywalker’s arc in 1977’s “Star Wars” (George Lucas was clearly inspired by the Dune book), it was still entertaining since it followed the hero’s journey we know and love.
My only real issue with the film was that it felt too much like a chapter book at times. What I mean by that is that a large percentage of the scenes ended in some major reveal or character beat that sometimes felt like they were leading up to the conclusion of the film, but they weren’t. The film’s structure was too similar to Herbert’s novel; movies and books don’t work the same way.
“Dune” is refreshing. I appreciate the fact that a film with a massive budget, an all-star cast, and a complex, smart story was actually released in today’s state of Marvel movies and turn-your-brain-off entertainment. Everyone should go see this film — I guarantee you’ll enjoy it, no matter how familiar you are with the source material.