Dune is a lot to take in. The sheer scope and size of this film are epic. Denis Villeneuve's cinematic sandcastle is a meticulous and astonishing work of art. From the acting to the visuals; to that roaring score by Hans Zimmer, Dune will sweep you off your feet. Bring on Part Two!
Dreams are messages from the deep.
If you watch Dune, I would advise you to try and see it on the biggest screen possible. I first watched Dune from the comfort of my home when it was released to HBO Max and theaters. After I finished watching it, I decided that this was a film that needed to be experienced in the theater. So, the next weekend I headed to the movie theater and watched Dune on the big screen. Writer-director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Sicario) showcases his cinematic physique through the lens of a camera. The ending result leaves us with a film so grand in scale it's, at times, hard to comprehend. Because Dune is so robust and ambitious, it does pitfall the movie in some but not all areas. These pitfalls are relatively small, as I was engrossed with an epic sand odyssey reaching for the stars. All of the actors are phenomenal in the picture: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, and Zendaya.
The actor that stood out the most and stole every scene was Ferguson. Her acting chops as Paul's (Chalamet) Bene Gesserit mother sent ripple waves through the picture. Like many Villeneuve films, Dune is a movie that takes its time in storytelling. Villeneuve builds his universe through patient storytelling, leaving us with strongly developed characters and a juicy plot of religion and politics. Dune: Part One is the first of a planned two-part adaptation of the 1965 novel by Frank Herbert, essentially covering the first half of Herbert's work. Set in the far future (year 10191), Paul Atreides (a strong Chalamet) is a gifted young man who has been born into a great destiny. Assigned by the Empire, the House Atreides must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe, Arrakis, to be their fief rulers. The planet of Arrakis is known for its harsh deserts and is the only source of spice. Spice is a valuable substance that extends human vitality and is critical for interstellar travel. Watch out for those pesky and ginormous sandworms. Because Paul is gifted, he has dreams and visions of future events to come. One of these constant visions is of a young Fremen woman named Chani (Zendaya, who only has 7 minutes of screen time). It has been confirmed that Zendaya's role will be significantly greater in Dune: Part Two. For now, we get close-up shots of Zendaya roaming the desert, staring deep into your soul, like a perfume commercial.
The Fremen are a native population to the spice planet — known for their striking blue eyes and skillful fighting. Paul is the ducal heir of House Atreides, while his father (an attractive Oscar Isaac) is the current Duke of House Atreides. Isaac crafts a strong father figure throughout the picture, from his grayish beard to his solemn stance. The Duke is prepping Paul to be the next leader of the House Atreides, even if he doesn't want it. Brolin plays Gurney, the weapons master of House Atreides and one of Paul's mentors. Smile more Gurney! Momoa plays Duncan, the swordmaster of House Atreides and one of Paul's other mentors. Skarsgård plays Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, House Harkonnen, the enemy to House Atreides. Skarsgård Baron is an enormous slug-like creature who, apparently, doesn't know what clothes are. Bautista plays Glossu Rabban, Baron's hot-headed nephew. Henderson plays Thufir Hawat, the Mentat of House Atreides. I really enjoyed seeing Henderson in this role, parasols and all.
Dastmalchian plays Piter De Vries, the Mentat of House Harkonnen. Chen plays Dr. Wellington Yueh, a Suk doctor of House Atreides. Keep a close eye on this doctor. Duncan-Brewster plays Dr. Liet-Kynes, the Imperial ecologist on the planet Arrakis. Lastly, Bardem plays Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe at Sietch Tabr. That's a lot of characters, but Villeneuve, along with co-writers Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, know how to work the material. Slap a monstrous score by Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Gladiator, Inception, and The Dark Knight), along with breathtaking visuals by Cinematographer Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher, and Lion), and you're in for a show. As of now, Dune has grossed $300 million worldwide and has been greenlit for a sequel. Villeneuve's Dune: Part Two will be coming exclusively to theaters in October 2023. For now, we have been given one of the best films and best science fiction epics of the year. Through Dune's visuals, scope, and sheer ambition, Villeneuve's creation can take a bow.
Dune is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) Some Disturbing Images | Sequences of Strong Violence | Suggestive Material.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, and Zendaya.
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