Dune Review

Big Sandworms

Dune is a film I have highly anticipated. Even from back at it’s initial announcement I had always heard about how acclaimed and important the source material was which grabbed my attention and even persuaded me into buying the book. 2 years later and I still haven’t picked the book up, however after watching this new adaptation from Dennis Villeneuve my interest in exploring Frank Herbert’s original work is at an all time high. Going in I had set relatively realistic expectations. I had been hearing the praise of the source material and from the promotional material shared this seemed like something that would interest me greatly, especially considering how much of a fan I am of Villeneuve’s wider filmography. However the biggest thing that was reeling in my expectations and was ultimately a factor that may have impacted my potential enjoyment and investment that fact being: I still haven’t read the original works. Dune is a world built on heaps upon heaps of lore, world and cultures and I feel as though in the transition to film it may have lost a lot of the subtleties and details that this world could hold. Not to level this as an objective criticism against the film, This is more of a personal issue that comes down to the fact I haven’t experienced the full story. I truly believe Villeneueve was able to translate Frank Herbert’s writing into a magnificent and grand modern iteration that fits perfectly into it’s 2 hour and a half runtime. Dune is a very long film however that is never really an issue. Not to say the film goes by fast in fact it’s the opposite, Dune is a slow burn of a film, Despite feeling the films runtime throughout the whole thing every second of dune is immersive, captivating and maintains an epic level of scale that rivals the regal importance that is synonymous with Frank Herbert’s novel. As this is only the first part in a grander narrative Dune: part 1 can feel very exposition and dialogue heavy to the point where if this was another film I could see myself having an issue with it. After all, Dune is a sci-fi epic and the trailers more than promised a bold climactic affair. Despite the frequent lore dumps Dune never lost my attention due the overwhelming power and scope of it’s world and its masterful filmmaking as well as how fascinating I found said lore or exposition to be. Every second of Dune is thrilling and awe inspiring. The moments of tedium are overcast by Hans Zimmer’s oppressive and magnificent score and the moments of downtime where we listen in on characters conversing while they drop inclines of worldbuilding and lore are measured in bold shots that carry a significance and power of royal stature, courtesy of cinematographer Greig Fraiser. The plot detailing the arrival of House Atreides on the desert planet Arrakis in order to farm the invaluable natural resource spice quickly ramps up into a desperate struggle for survival against the fierce and imposing House Harkonnen and ends at a point that ultimately makes the film feel incomplete only leaving me wanting more at the end of its already staggering 2 and a half hour runtime. Dune part 1 is exactly that, the first part of a much larger story, although this section of the said story can feel exposition heavy and slow at points this was a necessity in order to familiarise the audience with the dense lore that is fundamental to understanding the subsequent chapters in the saga. Silhouettes are sharply burned against the red fire from a large ship exploding. The fight choreography communicates a attentiveness, ruthlessness and precision that builds up it’s characters as veteran, battle hardened fighters. And the sheer scale of the sand worms is effortlessly conveyed to us with awe inspiring shots set across the vast desert vistas. Dune is a testament to the fact the movies have finally returned and in full force.  A bold cinematic spectacle that feels like a high thrills blockbuster that lives up to its own insane budget and proves that when an interesting voice is given a huge stage and blockbuster of this scale to express his vision, people will still listen.

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