Movie Title: Dune
Director: Dennis Villeneuve
Writer: Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, David Dastmalchian, Babs Olusanmokun, Benjamin Clementine, Golda Rosheuvel, Roger Yuan
Review: Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, 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, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.
Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert's 1965 novel of the same name, is the latest sci-fi epic directed by the acclaimed Denis Villeneuve. "Epic" is certainly one word to describe this film. Everything from the world-building, picturesque landscapes, and score from the great Hans Zimmer are epic. This film is one of the more visually beautiful movies I've seen in quite some time. The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the soundtrack was not only Zimmer-esque, but coincided perfectly with every scene. But is this movie all style over substance?
Truthfully, I don't think so.
David Lynch directed an adaptation of Dune in 1984. It wasn't the film that Lynch wanted to make. It was clunky, confusing, and hard to follow. While Villeneuve's adaptation is derived from the exact same novel, I felt there was an effort here to methodically introduce plot points and characters that made it more palatable to audiences that don't have background knowledge of the novel. This doesn't necessarily mean there weren't parts that were confusing or open to interpretation, but it felt like it moved coherently from one scene to the next.
I also thought the acting here was very strong. Timothée Chalamet is perfectly cast as Paul Atreides, the main protagonist. He looks young enough to pass for 15, but has the screen presence and look to remind you that he's a royal heir and the most important character in this entire story; taking up a messiah role in many regards. Rebecca Ferguson is also fantastic as Paul's mother who struggles with her undying loyalty to her family while also trying to protect her son from his ultimate fate within her pseudo-religious eugenics organization. Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgård, and Jason Momoa are all perfectly casted in their respective roles. Really, this entire cast is quite impressive.
Dune is truly a cinematic experience. It's beautiful to look at it, has great acting performances, and a perfect score. Beyond that, it does a phenomenal job of bringing the source material to life, giving fans of Herbert's novel what they've long waited for, while also being inviting to a new crop of fanatics. I believe this is just the beginning of the next big sci-fi hero epic franchise. Paul Atreides is the chosen one who will save the world, but the story in which he resides is a complex, intricate tale that will have you yearning for what happens next. This film is meant to be seen in a theater or IMAX! Stop whatever you are doing, and watch Dune ASAP. I cannot recommend this film enough.
Fun Fact: Composer Hans Zimmer is a frequent collaborator with director Christopher Nolan. In order to score this film, Zimmer turned down the opportunity to work with Nolan on Tenet (2020), as he is a big fan of the Dune novel.