A mythic and emotionally charged hero’s journey, “Dune” tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence—a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential—only those who can conquer their fear will survive.
What We Thought:
Do you like the films of Denis Villeneuve? Then you will love Dune. It’s right up your alley if you loved Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Me? I didn’t like Arrival at all and thought Blade Runner 2049 was ok and have only seen it once. Villeneuve paints a beautiful picture, but none of his films seem to overly work for me. I would have liked Sicario more without Emily Blunt’s character. My favorite of his is probably Prisoners and that’s way too long which is a theme of all his movies.
As for Dune it’s visually beautiful, but also excessive. It’s over 150 minutes long and to be honest, you could cut it down to 100 minutes and get to the same non-ending it has. There are dozens and dozens of shots that serve zero point to the story. They are pretty, but unnecessary. One in particular is Paul (Timothée Chalamet) standing at a shoreline as a spaceship arises from the water. Cool, but why is it there? The movie is 150 minutes for no reason especially when it’s just Part 1 and doesn’t have an ending.
The worst part is, the action sequences are fantastic. They are few and far between, but when they are there, they are thrilling. From the sandworms to the battles and fighting, all of that works extremely well. But then the movie slows down, uses a ton of visions/flashforwards from Paul and bogs the film down. Every time I thought the film was going to take off into non-stop action it had to stop for a beautiful shot or something that could have been cut.
As previously stated the film is Part 1 so if you are expecting any sort of ending, it won’t happen. There is a big battle and many die, but then it becomes a quest to find others and well that’s it. All the build up over the past year, everything you see in the movie and you get a “To be continued”. And to be honest, I don’t know if I care enough to see the second part if/when it comes out.
Maybe I went in to see Dune Part 1 with the wrong mind set. I wanted an epic, sci-fi tale and to a degree it is that. It’s also excessive with a lot of unnecessary parts with too many flashforwards and visions that took me out of the movie. I know a lot of people who loved it and it will have a high Rotten Tomatoes score. I’m curious to see what the average movie-goer thinks though. Those expecting Star Wars will be bored. It’s also streaming on HBOMax so that will eat into the box office numbers, but I think that was planned. It will be nominated for a ton of Oscars with Best Director a given and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets a Best Picture nom. I have a lot going on in my personal life that might have swayed my enjoyment factor so maybe I’ll revisit it in a few years to see if I like it more then.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth
Based on the novel “Dune” by Frank Herbert
Producers: Denis Villeneuve, Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Joe Caracciolo
Executive Producers: Tanya Lapointe, Joshua Grode, Herbert W. Gains, Jon Spaihts, Thomas Tull, Brian Herbert, Byron Merritt, Kim Herbert
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, with Charlotte Rampling, with Jason Momoa and Javier Bardem