So with the David Lynch and John Harrison’s SyFy mini-series fresh in my head, where does Denis Villeneuve’s version of Dune stand? Real quick — the galaxy is in a cold war of sorts over the control of The Spice, whose properties can expand one’s mind and is also necessary for interstellar navigation… I think. As the saying goes, “he who controls The Spice controls the universe.”
The story is about the power struggle over control over the mining and production of The Spice on the desert planet Arrakis. The Spice has been under the stewardship of the House of Harkonnen for the past several decades. However, in a bid to shake up planetary politics, the emperor of the “Spacing Guild” has replaced stewardship of Arrakis to the House of Atreides, which pretty much pisses off the Harkonnens.
Though loyal to the emperor, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) accepts his new responsibilities with great reluctance and moves his son, Paul (Timothée Chalamet), and his concubine/wife, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) to Arrakis. Leto is protected by his head guard, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). In addition, soldier Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa) is sent as an advanced scout to gain intel about the planet’s native inhabitants, known as the Fremen. Unfortunately, Leto is already off to a bad start as the Harkonnen’s have sabotaged much of the equipment and production facilities putting Leto behind in spice production.
“…dreams about the future, including the fate of Duncan Idaho, and visions of a mysterious, attractive Fremen…”
The sprawling narrative of Dune then shows Lady Jessica’s “religious” order known as the Bene Gesserit and how she’s been teaching Paul the ways of the order. For example, she is currently teaching Paul to use his “voice” to control the actions of others. A by-product of his spiritual training, Paul is having dreams about the future, including the fate of his good buddy/mentor, Duncan Idaho, and visions of a mysterious, attractive Fremen (Zendaya).
But not all is as it seems, as the emperor put the House of Atreides on Arrakis as a ploy for Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and his nephew Beast Rabban (Dave Bautista), to stage a sneak attack on Atreides, effectively obliterating the entire house. However, as a promise to Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling), only Lady Jessica and Paul are allowed to escape the slaughter.
The second half of the film follows Jessica and Paul as they attempt to meet the Fremen with the help of Dr. Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster). The Harkonnens hunt our heroes, and we glimpse the secrets of the Fremen and an even bigger mystery of Arrakis itself. Wow, that wasn’t quick.
"…delivers on the big epic space story we've been waiting for..."
First time I’ve seen this critic give anything more than a 7/10, must be good