Dune Image

Dune

By Alan Ng | October 20, 2021

I’m a big fan of this version of Dune. I don’t know if it’s my disappointment with the previous versions that may have colored my opinion, but I was engaged with the action from start to finish. Unfortunately, as stated in the opening titles, this is only part one and ends on a cliffhanger on par with Avengers: Infinity War.

Denis Villeneuve shows off his skills as a master storyteller. He does many things right that previous iterations didn’t or couldn’t do. The filmmaker doesn’t rely on confusing exposition, throwing out big unfamiliar names, to get audiences caught up on the history quickly. Instead, it opens with a ceremony establishing Leto as the newly appointed steward of Arrakis, and all the juicy politics and deceptions unfold from there. Also, with Paul’s training and new “powers” from the Bene Gesserit, Villeneuve wisely begins his journey with something familiar that we as an audience can connect with and then piles on the mythology at a digestible pace.

The other benefit of this version is money and technology. Gone is that greenscreen feeling of the other adaptations. The world of Dune, primarily of Arrakis, is gorgeous (for a desert). The sets, spaceships, weapons, vistas, costumes, and alien life is top-notch and far superior to the production values of David Lynch’s 1984 version. I should also mention that Hans Zimmer’s score is the glue that holds this entire film together. The action is exciting and reminiscent of the first time I saw Star Wars: A New Hope and Tatooine. It all not only looks good but looks right for the story.

“…does many things right that previous iterations didn’t or couldn’t do.”

The acting is just suitable for an action-adventure with a sci-fi spin. Isaac serves his role admirably as the benevolent yet slightly naïve leader. Paul and Duncan’s big brother/little brother relationship is undeniable from the moment we see them together. Ferguson carries much of the drama and mythology surrounding Dune on her shoulders.

We may argue over this, but Chalamet found the right balance between “boy” and “would be king.” He came off as a more refined Luke Skywalker, slightly whiny, but in the end, understands his role as the future leader in an interplanetary conflict. Also, I love that the dialogue is not muddled down with exposition and feels like natural conversations (unlike the mini-series). Instead, it gets right to that human drama… allowing our little minds to figure out the backstory.

With Dune, Denis Villeneuve delivers on the big epic space story we’ve been waiting for in unique and unexpected ways. I don’t know the future of the film or Villeneuve, but I’m willing to buy my ticket now for part two if that helps Warner Brothers green light the sequel. Yes, this is that good.

Dune: Part 1 (2021)

Directed: Denis Villeneuve

Written: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth

Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgard, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Dune: Part 1 Image

"…delivers on the big epic space story we've been waiting for..."

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  1. Trevor Marx says:

    First time I’ve seen this critic give anything more than a 7/10, must be good

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