Previous adaptations of Frank Herbert’s classic 1965 sci-fi novel haven’t exactly been warmly received, as acclaimed directors like Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch failed to capture on screen that which makes the book a cornerstone of science fiction.
Although Dune has long been considered by many to be ‘unfilmable’ in light of these previous attempts, anticipation was at an all-time high for Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 attempt. After years of waiting, Villeneuve’s interpretation (or at least part of it) is finally here, and I have no doubt that it will go down as the definitive version; nearly everything about this film is perfect.
The casting was carried out very well, especially considering the large number of supporting roles. Every performance is really good, but Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, and Stellan Skarsgård are the standouts for me. The gender-swapped part of Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes prompted some mixed feelings at its announce, but she quickly proved how perfect she was for the role, delivering a really powerful performance.
Regarding the technical aspects of the film, Dune is a masterpiece. The visuals are grand and gorgeous, the powerful soundtrack from Hans Zimmer demands to be heard in a theater, and the set and costume designs exceed all expectations; expect Dune to take home some Oscars when the time comes.
Dune is pretty on-point when it comes to being faithful to the source material. The few additions, exclusions, and other changes made when adapting it were all very justified, and help to keep the central themes of the story present while also fixing any issues that may have arisen regarding pacing.
Splitting it up into multiple parts was definitely a smart move — it ultimately allows a very complex plot a lot of necessary space to breathe. That being said, much like the first Lord of the Rings installment, it doesn’t tell a full story, and is naturally very reliant on the success of its sequel(s). This leads to a film that, while still brilliant, has a lot of world-building and not a lot of payoff… yet.
Dune is a great movie, and definitely worth seeing in a theater if you get the chance. With a sequel officially confirmed and a spinoff series also reportedly in the works, Dune could definitely become a major film franchise in the near-future.
Overall rating: 9/10