Finally, the cinema is back! And what a way to return than one of the biggest visually spectacular extravaganza that is Dune. There is just too much in Dune to pack into a single or even a trilogy of films. And yet for the keen-eyed viewer, the details and lore are presented and ready to be taken in. The medium is visual and so much of the story is told as it is supposed to be; visually.
It needs to be said that the world-building in Dune is nothing short of extraordinary. One will feel the grand scale of every spectacle, infused with thunderous space soundscapes of Hans Zimmer’s masterful sound design.
Speaking of the cast, then they felt genuine, particularly Lady Jessica played by Rebecca Ferguson. She is just too good in that role as she carries the burden with grace. Surprisingly, Jason Momoa’s character felt amazing to watch. He was House Atreides loyal knight, and admittedly this time, he is not playing himself like in every film he’s ever been. The mysterious Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam steals the scene each time she appears as Charlotte Rampling assumed that role perfectly.
Then we come to the main hero Paul Atreides, caught in the political battle of the Noble Houses and the local inhabitants of the planet Arrakis. Needless to say, it was a captivating experience. Timothee Chalamet is a capable young actor, he is after all an Oscar nominee, and he fits the role perfectly. The same can be said with the antagonist character the Baron Harkonnen. His dimension pun intended, is menacingly diabolical played to perfection by Stellan Skarsgård. The only disappointment here was that their house rivalries were never fully developed. And we don’t even get to see the Emperor. Of course, this is just a setup for future stories but he was the one who ordered the execution so we need to develop his side a little bit, at least.
The pacing was terrific for a film of so many characters. For those people who would use the words ‘slow’ or ‘not enough action’ to give this movie a lower grade, please remember there is more to the industry than the quick sprint Marvel movie, and not every film needs to have a conclusion. Imagine a masterpiece like the Lord of the Rings getting a low grade simply because it was ‘slow paced’ or didn’t have a proper conclusion. The most important thing is the journey of the main character. Paul starts the film unsure of what he should be or if he’ll ever live up to his ancestor’s legacy like all young people in reality. His father reminds him that when the time comes, he’ll know what he is and what he needs to do. In the end, that’s what happens as he recognizes himself as the leader, the savior. He knows who he is and what he needs to do. So what if the plot doesn’t complete? The story is the character’s journey, not the plot!
Overall, Dune is a cinematic experience we all deserve in such troubled times. I cannot think of a movie I have seen that held me in awe with such captivating power since Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Cinematographer Greg Fraser is very capable and the film shows his art. There are no Instagram high color filters to speak of here, usually manifesting in every comic book film. Every scene is beautifully shot with very little CGI. Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the book is Dune, and it strikes the bullseye perfectly. One of the most magical cinematic experiences ever! Don’t stream it. Watch it at the cinema. The way it’s supposed to be watched. You won’t be disappointed.
K- Score: 97%
STW: 27/30, D: 25/25, C: 8/8, E: 5/5, PVD: 12/12, A: 10/10, S: 10/10