The Reel Review
Director Denis Villenueve’s highly-anticipated sci-fi/adventure stars Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya in the epic saga of young man who eventually discovers that he wields incredible mystical powers to alter the universe. Set thousands of years into the future, it is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 cult classic, sci-fi novel.
Villenueve (Arrival, Sicario) has assembled a fitting, epic saga – not only is Dune visually one of the most astounding sci-fi movies ever made, with sweeping scenery and jaw dropping visual effects, but it also is a clever story, about the rise and fall of civilizations. Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), as hero Paul Atreides, is the center of the tale, which revolves around his futuristic visions and the harvesting of a magical spice from the hostile desert planet of Arrakis. The highly-addictive spice increases lifespan, heightens awareness and makes interstellar space travel possible. It also turns the eyes of long-term users a brilliant blue color.
It is Ferguson (Doctor Sleep, The Greatest Showman) who wields the most complexity in her role as his sorceress mother, trying to help grow her son’s powers, while preventing him from evolving into an all-powerful monster. The ensemble, all-star lineup includes a dashing Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgârd, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin.
With massive sandworms, gorgeous desert landscapes and intricate, dragonfly-shaped aircraft, comparisons to Star Wars are inevitable. But where Dune differs is in its more complicated, adult-themed storytelling, set to an equally majestic score from composer Hans Zimmer (Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk). Fans of the novel will love Villenueve’s adherence to the source material, while more casual viewers will find the two and a half hour runtime a bit long and slow at times. But do yourself a favor and see this film on as large of a screen with the best sound system as possible. And let’s hope the next chapter in this instant sci-fi classic is as spectacular as this one.
• Director Denis Villeneuve has expressed displeasure at WarnerMedia for debuting Dune on HBO Max at the same time as in theaters, arguing it will diminish the film’s epicness and kill box office revenue and chances of getting green lit for Part Two, despite assurances from WarnerMedia otherwise.
• Eleven-time Oscar nominee Hans Zimmer, whose only Oscar win to date is for 1995’s The Lion King, turned down composing the score for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in order to score Dune.
• Filming of the ocean planet of Caladan took place in Stadlandet, Norway, with the nations of Jordan and Abu Dhabi serving as the backdrop for Dune’s desert planet of Arrakis.