With a star line-up of one huge actor after another, Dune is a visual masterpiece that’s best experienced through the big screen. Even if perhaps, at times, the feeling that this is merely one part of a larger story does not work to its advantage.
Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a young man destined to fight for the future of his people. Through overlapping themes of political transgressions and visually-pleasing new world explorations, a fight for survival ensues and as a result a once-in-a-lifetime achievement in cinema is born.
A story this fascinating with FOURTEEN books to back it up can’t possibly be fully told with just ONE movie. Even with a runtime of 155 minutes, this is just the start of a story so huge, so utterly captivating that it might need two more films in order to completely achieve what director Denis Villeneuve has started.
Perhaps the biggest criticism of this first movie is that of the runtime paired with the feeling of this being only one slow part of a greater story. Although when the action hits you feel every bit of it, there’s not constant action throughout the movie. Scenes of dialogue and of subtle exposition take much of the time, and if you’re not into that then this might not be the right film for you. Nevertheless though, the critics have been generally praising Dune for its incredible acting, action-pieces and world-building.
With such a star-studded cast as this one, you’d certainly expect excellence. And it’s safe to say that excellence is exactly what you get from top to bottom.
Timothee Chalamet delivers a dark yet emotionally-satisfying performance. Considering that he’s the main lead, the movie hinges a lot on his performance, and he truly pulls through. Admittedly though, this should come to not surprise for those who have been following his career for a while. Zendaya appears A LOT in the promotional material, however if you are going to watch Dune (2021) because she’s in it, then you might leave slightly disappointed. She’s not in it much though it is worth noting that she is great in the scenes she’s in. Another note-worthy performance is that of Rebecca Ferguson, who is in fact a very integral part of the story. Oscar Isaac is also very good in disappearing into his character and making you believe every line.
A Complex Story
If you’ve never read any of the books or seen any of the previous attempts at a cinematic or TV portrayal of Dune; then the plot could perhaps feel slightly convoluted. This story by no means it’s an easy one to translate into the big screen. However, Denis and his crew of cowriters (Eric Roth and Jon Spaihts) do about as good a job for a part one as possible.
The ending might not feel as climatic and huge as we’ve come to expect from big budget projects in recent years, but then again if you are familiar with Denis Villeneuve then you weren’t exactly expecting that either. His previous movie, Blade Runner 2049, was what many considered an impossible sequel to a classic. Yet he delivered through and through. With incredible visuals and emotional ties, director Denis seems to have mastered the art of using a big budget to tell a deeply personal story.
There’s intrigue, mystery, mind-blowing action, explosions, interesting dialogue, emotional beats, great acting, and an ending that promises more. It’s not supposed to leave you satisfied, but rather wanting more and ready to buy that ticket for part two. And in as far as that is taken into account, Dune fully achieves everything it was going for.
If you enjoyed this masterpiece then there’s reason to rejoice. On October 26th, came official confirmation that ‘Dune: Part Two’ is on the way. With it once again helmed by the safe hands of Denis Villeneuve, and most of the original cast returning, there are only great things to look forward to for Dune fans.
There’s so much more world exploring left to do, new things to learn and surely more visual candy for those who love experiencing movies in the cinema. The current set-year for Part Two is 2023, so be on the look-out for the continuation of this fascinating story, and perhaps yet another masterpiece of film-making on the way.
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