Based on the well-known science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, Dune follows Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), the son of a noble and well-respected family. Paul begins to have unexplained visions and dreams, which could be visions of moments from his future. We also learn that Paul is quite wise and is gifted with abilities.
Around the same time, Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), accepts a mission to supervise the world’s most dangerous planet, called Arrakis. Arrakis is different and unlike any other planet in the entire world. It’s also well known as being the source for the world’s most expensive substance- “The Spice”. But as Paul and his family go to Arrakis, it’s not long until an evil force and their army attack and attempt to conquer. Now it’s up to Paul to make a stand and fulfil his destiny.
Dune is a sci-fi film, but it’s also filled with mysteries and action. It’s no secret among many that Dune has a complex plot, and the biggest challenge for any director is taking the words from multiple books and putting them together on the big screen. But Denis Villeneuve nails it. By creating what we now know as the first instalment, I found myself having a greater time with this story as it slowly moves along, providing plenty of information and detail, especially if you compare it to the previous Dune feature from 1984. However, I still did find some moments questionable; perhaps this is due to my lack of knowledge from the books, or perhaps there’s just so much on the screen that I missed something. Or maybe, more will be revealed in future films. The pacing is excellent, and most viewers won’t feel the lengthy runtime for the majority. I found the third act slightly slower than the rest, but it is honestly a minor issue. As the credit rolled down my screen, all I wanted was more Dune.
Performances are great, and most of the cast are fun and exciting to watch. While I’m not normally a fan of actor Timothée Chalamet, here, he’s suitable for playing the character of Paul and does a tremendous job. Actors Oscar Isaac and Rebecca Ferguson are wonderful as Paul’s parents. Side characters played by Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa are confident, strong, and at times even humorous. The villain (Stellan Skarsgård) is highly mysterious, gross, and, at times, perhaps a little unsettling, but it’s highly satisfying.
The audio is a blast and had me smiling right from the start of the film. It has plenty of fun sound effects and a bass that comes to life at various moments with ships, gunfire, and even selected character voices. The audio track, along with the score by Hans Zimmer is perfection. The visuals are breathtaking and jaw-dropping, and definitely to be experienced on the best cinema screen you can find. Visually, audiences are guaranteed to feel like they, too, have just entered a whole new world.
Overall, I’m highly satisfied with this film. Audiences are introduced to a whole new world which is an exciting experience for movie lovers. Visually, Dune cannot be faulted, and performances are well suited and enjoyable. The plot again remains somewhat heavy, with plenty of information. Director Denis Villeneuve nails this, though, and I only had a couple of minor issues relating to elements with details or plot. Comprehending all the details and the complicated plot could be overwhelming and hard work for selected audiences. In the end, I was left feeling highly impressed, and I wanted more of it, like right now.
29th November 2021
Written by Peter Walkden
Dune (2021) Queensland Preview Event; Thanks to Warner Brothers!