At long last, the long-awaited premiere of the movie Dune has finally hit the big screens. The movies features a star-studded cast under director Denis Villeneuve with musical accompaniment from the brilliant Hans Zimmer. I recently had a wonderful opportunity to view an early screening of the movie, and as a Timothée Chalamet fan, I only have one word to say: WOW.
If you are an action movie fan, I wouldn’t recommend this film. However, if you are a cinematography lover, you will fall in love with the beauty of how Denis Villeneuve brings life to the world of Dune. Dune is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel sci-fi novel that explores the story of Paul Atreides, a gifted young man who must travel to the dangerous planet Arrakis to continue his family legacy and ensure their safety. Villeneuve dedicated himself to introduce us to the world of Dune on a majestic scale of grand desert sets, colossal sci-fi battalion squads and spaceships that combines the set-like design of Lawrence of Arabia and the intriguing storyline of the Star Wars series. Villeneuve and oscar-nominated cinematographer Greig Fraser bring life to Herbert’s novel through careful set design and world-building meant to wow the audience and leave them in awe of the grandeur of the cinematography. The accompanying storytelling and script delivered by Chalamet and the rest of the cast add to the Dune experience that drives the film’s successful retelling of Paul’s journey.
I have never had the pleasure of reading the novel, so I went into the movie theater expecting to understand very little of the plot. I am not ashamed to say that a part of me was watching the movie solely to watch Timothée shine on screen; however, I came out of the theater intrigued and wanting to see more. Granted, the movie gets confusing at times for those who haven’t read the book. I certainly had some trouble understanding some of the more complex scenes throughout the movie going into depth of the world on Arrakis. The complexity of Herbert’s world and the mystery surrounding Arrakis and its people prove hard to understand at certain point in the film. For some this may be off-putting, but for me, it only left me dying to know more. What the film lacks in action and battle sequences it makes up for in world-building. Villeneuve’s passion for Dune and Chalamet’s dedication are obvious throughout the entirety of the film as other actors such as Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, and Stellan Skarsgård shine.
I hate to break it to Zendaya fans, but unfortunately, our queen does not have as large a role in the film as marketed. Mystery surrounds her character, Channi, throughout the film, as she makes various appearances in Paul’s dreams and visions. We are finally introduced to her character towards the last 15 minutes of the movie as she delivers a few memorable lines of dialogue before the film ends. If you are simply watching the film to watch her performance, you may be left slightly disappointed. But don’t let that stop you from watching Dune as other shining performances from lead actresses such as Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica and Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet-Kynes make up for Zendaya’s smaller role. Both women give outstanding performances that you can’t look away from, leaving me and others departing the theater as fans of both actresses.
Overall, I highly recommend this film for those with a passion for beautiful cinematography and science fiction fans. The beautiful masterpiece of a soundtrack by Hans Zimmer certainly helps bring Dune to life, making it an enjoyable viewing experience (especially in IMAX!!!).