It’s been years since we’ve had an in-theatre film spectacle. Dune is here to fix that. Dennis Villeneuve had an ambitious vision for Dune, and he delivered on it. Starring Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson, Dune is a faithful adaptation of the famous sci-fi book series. Here’s our review for 2021’s Dune.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
Dune is an event. A film of this size and seriousness has truly not been seen since the Lord of the Rings series. It engages in massive spectacle and engaging cinematography while also taking itself seriously. A recent trend in the modern blockbuster shows stunning CGI sets and engaging shots but often diminishes large spectacle and stories with humour. Dune engages with its plot in a serious manner that serves the story. You feel like you are there, and a plot that is admittedly complicated is easy to follow and understand. The viewer is fully immersed.
Speaking of immersion, the best place to see Dune is in IMAX. Even though you can watch the film for free on HBO Max, the experience of the film would be dramatically lost in your living room. Villeneuve has stated that Dune was designed to be seen in IMAX, and it’s true. The shots are crafted to both amaze you and suck you into the story, in a way that only IMAX can truly provide. The sound design and score (by Hans Zimmer) are also show-stopping. Although admittedly, the dialogue is a little quiet at times.
Dune is a film that was made to be seen in theatres. And maybe with this film and the sequel to come, Villeneuve might resurrect the movie industry.
Dune is slow. But it’s slow on purpose. This is only a third of the story, with Villeneuve’s vision being a trilogy. (By the way, the second Dune film has been greenlit). It does settle a little too long on aesthetic shots, but the movie is so pretty it’s easy to forgive. Every conversation pays off, and the audience has enough time to understand the motivations of every character.
What this film does very effectively, which the book somewhat fails at, is letting the audience live in the world. Before Paul’s life falls apart, we feel that we’ve lived with House Atreides. We’ve been in this world for an hour, we understand its dynamics, we know what’s at stake. Dune gives you a chance to live and breathe in the world, something that many films don’t take the time or have the time to do. So when things blow up around our main characters, we feel that weight with them.
And yes, the plot is complicated. It’s full of heavy lore, religious factions, warring houses, complicated systems. But the pacing is just slow enough that the audience understands what’s going on without feeling bored or lost. If you’re a fan of the political aspect of shows like Game of Thrones, this part of Dune will be right up your alley.
The film also isn’t without its quiet moments. Even though the film spends a good amount of time engaging in stunning cinematography, it also pulls the story in to settle on our characters. We get to see heartfelt and emotional character moments in the midst of a giant story. It grounds the plot, which might otherwise run away with the spectacle, back on what’s important. Back on Paul and his family.
Admittedly, this pacing does get old towards the end of the film. It’s a long movie, with an almost three-hour run time. While I enjoyed the film, I was ready for it to be over.
First and foremost, Timothee Chalamet blows Paul Atreides out of the water. He carries this massive blockbuster effectively and professionally, giving a well-acted and heartfelt performance. He’s definitely a huge A-listed actor by this point in his career, but his performance in Dune really solidifies him as a leader among the younger generation of actors. He’s proven that he can lead a blockbuster.
Now there is a complaint around Dune. Zendaya was featured heavily in the marketing. She has a lot of star power, and she’s proven to get Gen Z into theatres. But Zendaya is only in seven minutes of the film. Some audiences feel a little lied to because they went to this film for her. Now she will have a much bigger role as a co-lead in the second film, but the marketing made it out that she had just a big role as Chalamet. For fans going to see Dune for Zendaya, prepare to be disappointed.
The person who is truly the co-lead is Rebecca Ferguson, who plays Lady Jessica, Paul’s mother. She’s in several scenes with Paul, and the second half of the film is the two of them navigating Arrakis. Her relationship with Paul is the central relationship in the film.
Another powerhouse in this film is Oscar Isaac’s performance as Leto Atreides, Paul’s father. He plays a good man and better father who is placed in an impossible situation. He’s taken out about halfway through the film, but he steals every scene he’s in.
Some others among this star-studded cast are Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgard, Steven McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javiar Bardem, and Dave Bautisita. Not a single person gives a bad performance in Dune. Every character, no matter how small, is giving fantastic performances.
More to come
This is only part one of Dune. The first book is being split into two movies, with Dune: Messiah being the third. Even though the book is too long to be condensed into one film, it does make this movie feel like an elaborate set-up for the next one. This film was almost entirely rising action, which can leave audiences feeling dissatisfied.
Dune is absolutely a must-see this year. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s also more than likely the best and most ambitious film of the year. It’s going to be exciting to watch the rest of the trilogy play out.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10
Thank you for reading our review of Dune. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Check out other books to movie adaptions coming soon HERE.
Read IMDB information about Dune HERE.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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