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Dune (2021) Review

This Is Only The Beginning

Release Date : October 22nd, 2021
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Science Fiction
Length: 2H 35M
MPAA: PG

Dune. How else can I start this review without saying that name. The legacy and the history of Frank Herbert’s Science Fiction epic, almost transcends the genre. It’s history of attempted and failed film adaptations, the lacklustre Dune (1984) and now one director’s absolute dream project since he read the book at 13. After a long wait, and delays because of Covid-19 we finally have Denis Villenueve’s adaptation, dream project and the cultivation of everything he has worked on in his career so far. Dune was also my most anticipated movie of the year.

Dune (2021) is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the production of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.

I took the time to read Dune by Frank Herbert in preparation of this film. I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise. And I have to say I’m glad I took the time to step out of my comfort zone and to read something new, because I will say I’m a Dune fan. I picked up the other five books and I’m excited to dive in to just get more of the lore of Dune. I also started to understand how and why in what ways was Dune always said to be “unadaptable” in film form. I even went to go see this twice in IMAX, as the creator and dreamer intended; safe to say I was ready to see this movie.

Directed by one of my favourite filmmakers working today: Denis Villeneuve. Who has directed Polytechnique (2009), Incendies (2010), Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), Sicario (2015), Arrival (2016), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). I remember reading and hearing that Dune was Villeneuve’s favourite book and that his dream project as a filmmaker was to adapt Frank Herbert’s novel. As someone who took the time to read the book in the last year (which I was super thankful I was able to do before the film came out) I think he absolutely nailed it and was able to overcome the hump of the notoriety of Dune being unadaptable. The sheer scope of this film is epic in every since of the word. I felt like Villeneuve was able to reach inside the book and pull out specific scenes exactly how I dreamt them up as I was reading. This film is just a visual treat, in every sense of the word. Villeneuve in my mind has absolutely not missed on any level since 2009.

Hans Zimmer did the musical score for Dune. He actually turned down doing the score of Tenet (2020) with a longtime collaborator that I have talked about many times on this blog, Christopher Nolan. I won’t post all of Hans Zimmer’s composing credits because we’d be here for a while, but two of my favourite scores of his are Inception (2010), and Interstellar (2014). You know your ears are in the hands of a master composer when Hans Zimmer is doing the music. Epic, engrossing and just ear catching. He knows how to hook you on the first note and not let you go until the final note is hit.

Dune (2021) stars Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides, Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica Atreides, Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides, Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Stellan Skarsgard as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, and Josh Brolin as Gurney Halleck.

Timothee Chalamet’s filmography consists of Men, Women & Children (2014), Interstellar (2014), Call Me By Your Name (2017), Lady Bird (2017), and Little Women (2019). I didn’t buy into the hype of Chalamet for a while, I just thought people swooned over him because he’s a good looking chap. But then I decided to actually watch some movies he’s in and I think he is a legitimately good actor. I also felt like he did a good job as Paul Atreides, from how I imagined him from reading the book. I’m intrigued to see where he takes this character in Dune: Part Two (2023).

Rebecca Ferguson’s filmography consists of Mission: Impossible 5 – Rogue Nation (2015), Life (2017), The Greatest Showman (2017), Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), and Doctor Sleep (2019). Rebecca Ferguson was one of my favourite parts of Doctor Sleep (2019), and thats what really made me take notice and pay attention to her. She played Rose The Hat so well that it was almost terrifying. Also its interesting that she’s been taking roles in the last little while that are based on best selling books. I thought she did a wonderful job as Lady Jessica. She really chewed the scenery and I thought gathered the essence of the character.

Oscar Issac’s filmography consists of Body Of Lies (2008), Drive (2011), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013), A Most Violent Year (2014), Ex Machina (2014), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), Annihilation (2018), and Operation Finale (2018). I love Oscar Issac. I will see any film that he is in. He was just fantastic in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). I was really glad to see him here. He really commanded the scene in Dune, which worked in his favour because he played the leader.

Jason Momoa’s filmography consists of Aquaman (2018), and The Lego Movie 2: The Second One (2019). Like Chalamet, I didn’t really buy into Momoa’s acting when he was up and coming. I thought though he played a good Aquaman, but I think his best acting credit so far was Dune. He just seemed to be having a great time and when he was in a scene, he almost always stole it with this charismatic role.

Stellan Skarsgard’s filmography consists of The Hunt For Red October (1990), Good Will Hunting (1997), Deep Blue Sea (1999), Mamma Mia! (2008), Melancholia (2011), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011), Hector And The Search for Happiness (2014), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018), and Chernobyl {Mini Series} (2019). Skarsgard is a chameleon. You never know when he’s going to pop up. Good or bad guy, he can play it, and be convincing. He was down right ruthless in this movie. Damn near unrecognizable. I didn’t even know he was in this movie until I heard his voice on screen.

Josh Brolin’s filmography consists of The Goonies (1985), Mimic (1997), No Country For Old Men (2007), American Gangster (2007), Milk (2008), True Grit (2010), Men In Black 3 (2012), Sicario (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Deadpool 2 (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019). Josh Brolin is great in everything he’s in. Dune is no exception.

The actors in this movie all did a great job. I was a bit skeptical on the casting, but I am happy to say that I was wrong to even be a bit skeptical.

The only gripe I have about this film is that it definitely feels like a Part One. Like the movie ends after a moment (And I know what happens next), but I just wanted more. Theres a rumour that there is a Director’s Cut out there, and boy oh boy I hope we get that on physical media. Because I just want more.

For a film that is a little over 2 hours and 30 minutes, this film is paced incredibly. The pace is brisk, they cover a lot in the time they have. From my memory this movie covers about 1/3rd of the book. As of writing this review, the Tuesday after Dune Part One came out Warner Bros. greenlit Part Two for October 2023, and after seeing part one twice, I can’t wait to see it, I can’t wait to own it, and I can’t wait to experience this film and this world again. I’m definitely going to read the next book in the Dune Saga sooner than later.

This is a film that is an absolute treat for the senses. It feels so finely tuned to see on the biggest screen possible. The film hit all the senses. I could feel the sound, and just be wowed by the visuals. Dune is worth going to see alone, just for the visuals. A treat for the eyes and the ears, see it on the biggest screen possible. IMAX is a treat.

Also, as I know its a little intimidating, as I know that I was also intimidated by this franchise. My brother and dad went to go see this movie having not read the book and they both really enjoyed it. So its definitely something you can enjoy without reading the book first, but I think after it ends, you’ll want to go out and pick up a copy of the book to read just to see what happens next.

I went into this movie a fan of Denis Villeneuve, but came out a Dune fan.

Dune Part One is the best film I’ve seen this year, and it gets a 5/5 from me.

-Until Next Time!

Andrew

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