“Dune” review


Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of the novel by Frank Herbert “Dune” is a cinematographic delight. The movie is filled with incredible futuristic scenery from a planet made up of sand dunes where water is the most important resource. 

The movie is set thousands of years in the future and follows the story of Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), as he moves to a new planet where the threat of war lingers in the air. Paul is the son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), from the noble House Atreides. The Duke was chosen by the emperor to rule the desert planet of Arrakis and continue to mine the most precious resource in existence, which they call spice. 

In the beginning, Paul is troubled by nightmares and visions that lead his mother to believe that he is gifted, so she begins to train him in the ways of the Bene Gesserit, an ancient school of mental and physical training mostly for women. 

Arrakis is inhabited by its indigenous people called The Fremen. They have inhabited Arrakis for thousands of years and they have their ways around the desert. The Fremen have special suits that collect and recycle water in their bodies, as well as specific ways of walking through the sand to steer clear from the enormous sandworms that occupy parts of the desert. 

In his visions, he sees a mystery fremen woman (Zendeya) that seems to be connected with his fate on Arrakis. The vision scenes are very slow-motioned and vague, filled with drapes and deep icy-blue eyes. The visions shift between Paul’s potential destinies, anywhere from greatness to failure. 

The Fremen believe that one day, a gifted messiah that they refer to as the Lisan Al Gaib will come to free the Fremen and take them to the promised land. Upon the Atreides’ arrival on Arrakis, Liet Kynes (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) serves as the planetary ecologist of Arrakis. She begins to notice things about Paul that lead her to believe that he might be the Lisan Al Gaib. Lady Jessica and the Bene Gesserit also have reasons to believe that Paul is the messiah that they have been waiting for. 

The film is a take on the first half of the novel Dune, where it introduces the series and sets precedent for the upcoming movies. Dune is filled with rulers, rebels, warriors and witches. The author of the novels ran through various topics in the 1960s when the books were first published. Now, it is Villeneuve’s challenge to bring these complex series of books to life.  

Even though the film seems to be somewhat slow, Villeneuve did a great job in preparing the audience for what’s to come next. The film has received mostly positive feedback from critics; it currently holds an 80% score in the Tomatometer and a 90% score from the audience.