For quite a few years, friends were telling me that I should read Frank Herbert’s Dune, calling it one of the best science fiction stories of all time, and one that inspired generations of stories from that genre, like Star Wars, for instance.
However, for whatever reason, I did not take my friends’ advice and read Dune.
Then, I saw the trailers for Denis Villeneuve’s 2021 adaptation of the novel.
These trailers blew me away and Villeneuve is one of my favourite directors working today, so, knowing how dedicated he was to making Dune, I finally sat down and read the book.
I could not put it down.
The novel enthralled me from start to finish and, ever since finishing, it I have been eagerly anticipating the film’s release to theaters, and was finally able to see it yesterday.
Did it disappoint?
Dune is not just an incredible adaptation but I already think it’s one of the best movies I have ever seen, even though I only first saw it yesterday.
The film tells the story of Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), a young noble born to Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) and his Bene Gesserit concubine Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson).
Duke Leto is the ruler of the planet Caladan, however, the Pardishah Emperor mysteriously decides to order the Atreides family to take stewardship of the desert planet Arrakis, the only planet in the universe where the substance known as Spice can be found.
Spice not only has various benefits to the user but is also the reason interstellar travel is possible, so it is the most valuable resource in the universe.
You would think this would put the Atreides in an excellent position but, in taking over Spice production on Arrakis, they are taking over the position of the previous rulers of Arrakis, their rival family of the Harkonnens, lead by the cruel Baron Vladamir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård).
With the threat of the Harkonnens and even the Emperor’s displeasure hanging over their heads, the Atreides seek an alliance with the native Fremen, among them Stilgar (Javier Bardem).
However, at the same time as this is happening, Paul is having strange dreams, many of which feature a woman named Chani (Zendaya), and these dreams may point to a brutal future for not just Paul’s future but also the future of the entire universe.
Yes, this is the story’s basic opening hook and it is a lot to take in.
Thankfully, Villeneuve presents this information to the viewer perfectly, with only a few things being left out, like the explanation of Mentat powers.
Helping this presentation of information is the incredible acting, cinematography and score.
Speaking of the acting, every single member of the cast brings their A-game, whether their roles in the story are small or major.
I already spoke of most of the characters, but two who I especially enjoyed are Paul’s mentors Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin) and Duncan Idaho (Jason Momoa).
In fact, I would say that I actually liked the movie’s interpretation of Duncan more than the first novel.
The movie shows the friendship between him and Paul a lot better, making later scenes where the two share screen time a lot more impactful.
As for the cinematography, it is absolutely beautiful and Greg Fraser did an amazing job.
I had a massive grin on my face almost the entire way through the film because of how gorgeous almost every single shot looked.
What made this grin even wider was Han Zimmer’s brilliant score, his best one to date, in my opinion.
Pair this excellent acting, cinematography and score with Villeneuve’s direction, and you have a masterful adaptation of Frank Herbert’s novel that needs to be seen in theaters.
Seriously, I am so glad I decided to watch this for the first time at the movies instead of on HBO Max.
It just provides an experience for this film that cannot possibly be matched on the smaller screen.
I just wish that the studios had realised what they had and agreed with Villeneuve’s wish to film the sequel at the same time, so both parts could be released closer together.
Well, at least we are getting a sequel, with hopefully more on the way, since I have also read the sequel novel Dune: Messiah and loved that as well.
I cannot wait to read the rest of Dune novels now that I have finally finished The Wheel of Time books, and it would be great to see those get future adaptations as well, given how excellent Villeneuve’s Dune was.
In regards to the future of Dune as a movie franchise, I only have one thing to say.
Let the sequels flow.