If you are not in the loop on entertainment recently, “Dune” is one of the most highly anticipated films to come out in recent years. I do not know a single big budget blockbuster that has had this amount of anticipation and hype surrounding it. This is surprising since the adaption’s filmmaker, Denis Villeneuve, has had a historical bomb at the box office with his last film, “Blade Runner 2049”

“Dune” is based off of the 1965 novel and is the second adaptation of the story. This film has an all star cast of Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Oscar Issac, Jason Mamoa, Stallan Skarsgard, Dave Bautisita, Josh Brolin and many more. The plot follows the story’s hero, Paul Atreides, and his quest to rule over planet Arrakis from the evil empire known as the Harkonnens. 

I have been anticipating this release for a long time, since the novel is my favorite book. Villenueve’s recent hot streak and the unreal cast drew me in further. Things were looking very good for this huge project so I definitely had some high expectations.

“Dune” was not only exceptional at being a faithful adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel, but it’s a triumph to modern blockbuster filmmaking, showing audiences that we should take this subgenre more seriously. The film only covers a good two-thirds of the book’s overall stories, and it’s simply a masterful spectacle of filmmaking at its finest. 

Greg Frasier’s cinematography is utterly breathtaking as it makes you feel like you are a part of the movie’s world, exploring the planet through each scene. Due to this, I feel that it does a good service to any of the audience members who are unfamiliar with the story. 

I watched the film with a roomful of “newcomers” and many were confused at first about what some of the terminology was and how important certain elements were, but these are minor questions. I think it’s best to have an understanding of how the world of “Dune” works before going in because many rituals or terminology range from “putting two and two together” or simply being innuendos for those who read the story. 

Hans Zimmer’s score is unbelievably rich, original and unlike anything he has done before. There are many times where it feels “outer worldly,” but feels connected to Dune’s world of tribal chants and drums banging in the background. 

Vellenueve’s storytelling and direction is out of order from the book but only to give newcomers a sense of purpose to Paul Atreides as a character. “Dune” is a novel/film that is not filled with heart, it does not contain any quippy side characters or anything; it’s a dark, bleak and emotionally distant story about conquorship and maturing. 

Timothee Chalamet is a perfect Paul Atreides, as he is stoic, rough and power hungry which are traits that are obviously understood by Chalamet. The film’s entire cast is wonderful, as they all understand the story and concepts and weight of their characters to a fine degree. The visual effects are outstanding and it truly is a cinematic landmark in an age where blockbuster films lack that sense of scale and scope. 

“Dune” is one of the rare films that feel like an epic. It comes across as only one part of a massive story. Denis Villenueve blew people away with “Blade Runner 2049”, many often use that film as influence and has ushered in new filmmakers. He only expands that with “Dune” by not only having a big scaled blockbuster with a traditional narrative and decontextualized the “hero’s journey” plot element but only being a first part of a massive story. 

“Dune” exceeded my expectations. I had to take the whole weekend to organize my thoughts because I was overwhelmed by them and my emotions after watching the movie. It is a film best judged when seeing both parts and hopefully we get a Part 2. 

Denis Villenuveve proves he can do no wrong and shows his love and passion for the source material in his direction and storytelling. The cast is phenomenal and the cinematography is jaw-dropping. “Dune” is one of the rare movies where you must see it on the biggest screen while you can, because watching at home does not do the film or yourself justice. 

Rating: A+

 

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