Dune- A Visually Stunning Masterpiece


Denis Villenueve’s film follows writer Frank Herbert’s novel perfectly

I have read about half of “Dune.” So going into this adaptation, I had a pretty good grasp of what was going to happen. If you have no experience with the “Dune” universe, I would recommend either watching and/or reading a few introductory guides, but be cautious of spoilers. This may alienate some audience members, but it is a trade off as those willing to commit to learning the ins and outs of this universe and previous fans of “Dune” get a near perfect adaptation. 

Dune” opens up with House Atreides as they are taking over the desert planet of Arrakis. Arrakis is a harsh wasteland that is home to little life, but has one of the most valuable resources in the entire universe: spice. This precious resource enables interstellar travel that connects planets together and provides a faster mode of transportation. It also acts as a powerful hallucinogenic drug that allows people to see visions of the future. We follow Paul Atreides, the son of the Duke Atreides, as he comes to his own identity while facing off against the opposing House Harkonnen. 

Do not go into “Dune” expecting a lighthearted action packed Star Wars-like adventure. That’s not “Dune”. Rather, “Dune” is all about politics and lore.  While there are a few action scenes toward the beginning and end, the main bulk of the movie is dedicated to exposition. The only character that resembles something out of a modern blockbuster movie is Duncan Idaho, played by Jason Momoa. While other actors channel different energies from their previous roles, like Oscar Isaac as the Duke, Zendaya as Chani or Timothee Chalamet as Paul, Jason Momoa is essentially bringing the same energy as he did in Aquaman. 

This movie is simply phenomenal. I really don’t have many problems with it. This may very well be the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. Please, please, please, see “Dune” in theaters.  Good luck in trying to watch this at home. Your experience will feel inadequate and incomplete   compared to the IMAX experience. Watching “Dune” on the big screen allows you to hear and feel the nuances of the sound design. You can feel the thumping of the Ornithopters (dragonfly-like helicopters used on Arrakis) and the echoes when Lady Jessica and Paul use The Voice. As usual, Hans Zimmer delivers a slam dunk of a score, proving that when Denis Villeneuve and Hans Zimmer collaborate, they can do no wrong. 

After seeing this movie four weeks ago, it is still stuck in my brain. I’ve had the soundtrack playing on a loop as well. You will appreciate “Dune” the more you rewatch it. 

With the  reassurance that there is a sequel coming in the near future, the inconclusive ending doesn’t really bother me. I’m glad Denis Villeneuve decided to separate the book into separate halves, as you cannot do “Dune” justice in the span of two and a half hours. Case in point, the 1984 David Lynch adaptation, which hastily tried to fit the entire book into one movie, resulting in a confusing, bloated mess that drew movie studios away from readapting the franchise. 

I would recommend “Dune” to anyone who is looking for a refreshing take on the modern blockbuster. It is a slow burner, so if you do not enjoy long bouts of exposition and movies that pay attention to the finest detail of its universe, then skip it.  If you enjoyed Denis Villeneuve’s previous works, like Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, you will also enjoy “Dune.” The visuals are just as magnificent and the scope is just as ambitious. Fans of the original material should rejoice, as the book that was once considered unadaptable is retold perfectly. However, people unfamiliar with this universe may not enjoy it to the same degree. Overall, I would rate this movie a fat nine out of ten. 

“Dune” is currently showing at local theaters.