Dune movie poster. Dune was released in theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Letterboxd)
Dune movie poster. Dune was released in theaters and HBO Max on October 22, 2021.

Photo by Letterboxd

Finally, A Film Worth the Hype

A Review of Denis Villenueve’s Dune that hit theatres on October 22, 2021

October 29, 2021

The wait is over; the highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel has finally arrived on the big screen. This cinematic masterpiece has left audiences in awe with its fascinating directing, stunning cast, and breath-taking music. Writer and director Denis Villenueve’s Dune was released in theaters and on HBO Max on October 22, 2021.

Timotheé Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson stars in Dune. (Photo by Variety)

Herbert’s Dune novel has been adapted several times, but all of them have completely flopped. Acclaimed director David Lynch adapted the novel in 1984. However, according to many reviews, Lynch’s Dune was an epic fail due to its lame performance from the actors and the weak visual effects. Another adaptation of this novel is a TV miniseries released in 2000, which, according to critics, is also pretty horrible. 

Plot

The year is 10191. The political party, House Atreides, led by Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and their son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), have been given the desert planet Arrakis by emperor Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) to mine the most prized substance in the universe, a spice called melange. Melange is a vital substance in the universe because it is used not only for interstellar travel, but the inhabitants of Arrakis, called the Fremen, use the spice for the health benefits and couldn’t survive without it. Due to its extreme scarcity, melange pits House Atreides against their rival and the former colonizer of Arrakis, House Harkonnen, in a series of betrayal and war. 

Directing: 8.8/10

Villenueve’s directing in Dune is a show stopper. In Lynch’s version, he filmed the whole story into one movie. But Villenueve decided to split the plot into two in order for the audience to have a better understanding of the saga. This is a very wise decision on Villenueve because the plot of this saga may be a little confusing as it is light years ahead of its time. Despite its complex storyline, Villenueve was very smooth in the directing, which made it very easy for viewers to understand the story. 

There is so much to unpack about Villenueve’s directing. The best part of the directing is how well the cinematography is incorporated with the directing which allows audiences to fully immerse themselves in the movie. Legendary cinematographer, Greig Fraser, is able to capture such beautiful scenes in very complicated backgrounds. For example, Chalamet is seen walking on a beach with mountains and spaceships in the background. This scene alone proves the amazing cinematography Fraser has demonstrated in Dune.

Timotheé Chalamet plays Paul Atreides in Dune. Here, he walks down a beach with spaceships and mountains in the background. (Photo by IndieWire)

However, there is one major flaw in this film: the ending is pretty terrible. Towards the end, Paul is in a showdown with one of the Fremen. After the showdown, the cameras cut to a scene with Paul, Lady Jessica, Fremen Chani (Zendaya), Stilgar (Javier Bardem), and their followers looking over the desert and then, the credits rolled. The ending was very abrupt. Villenueve does this in order for audiences to get excited for the second part of Dune, but doing this makes the first part of the franchise very incomplete. Overall, the ending was very anti-climatic and unsatisfying. If Villenueve had a more complete ending, this movie would have been a 10/10. 

Acting: 8.3/10

Although the acting isn’t the highlight of the movie, it definitely still plays a major part in the success of Dune. Chalamet plays the main character who is supposed to be a messiah-like figure who has many special talents, like the ability to see the future. With his charisma and bold personality, Chalamet flawlessly executes this role and proves that he is the right choice to play the main character in this movie. 

Music: 10/10

The music is compelling, and it is probably one of the most riveting in the history of film soundtracks. The music blends very well with the overall directing and production of the movie. Composed by the gifted Hans Zimmer, the film manages to deliver such strong music that makes the audience go “wow.” Zimmer has previously amazed audiences in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Inception. His latest soundtrack in Dune proves his gift in creating film soundtracks. 

Final Thoughts

Denis Villenueve’s Dune has lived up to its expectations. This legendary movie has absolutely impressed movie buffs and critics. Despite its huge success, this movie isn’t for everyone. Dune is targeted to those who adore the sci-fi genre. I would highly recommend watching Dune on IMAX as Villenueve purposely directed this movie using IMAX technology. Overall, Villenueve’s version of Dune proves he is a master of the filmmaking craft. In fact, I would say Villenueve’s Dune saga is on par with George Lucas’s iconic Star Wars franchise and the widely popular Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Dune Part 2 announcement poster (Photo by The Verge)

Legendary Pictures confirmed on October 22, 2021 that Dune Part 2 will have a sequel set to be released in October 2023. Villenueve will continue to direct Dune Part 2. Chalamet, Fergurson, Zendaya, and Bardem will continue to star in the sequel along with other awaiting announced actors. 

Overall: 9.5/10

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