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.
Morbius – Trailer
The latest trailer for Jared Leto’s Morbius is here and there’s a bit more of a tease around its crossover with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You can view the trailer below.
Seeing more of Michael Keaton’s incarcerated Vulture is the latest nod to an expanding universe after the post-credits scene in Venom: Let there be Carnage and what’s expected from Spider-Man: No Way Home, due for release 17 December this year.
In the movie Biochemist, Michael Morbius will attempt to cure himself of a rare blood disease, but in taking an ‘at any costs’ approach he infects himself with bat venom and instead turns himself into a vampire. Morbius treads the thin line between hero and villain as he attempts to master his newfound powers.
Alongside the aforementioned Leto and Keaton, there are also roles for former Doctor Who Matt Smith, Transformers Tyrese Gibson and Jared Harris in a mystery role.
Here’s the trailer to enjoy:
Morbius will be in cinemas in January 2022.
Do you like Morbius trailer? Are you planning on seeing it when it’s released? What do you think it’ll be like? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer HERE.
Read IMDB information about Morbius HERE.
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