may not be the finest villeneuve film of the year ago, but it is unquestionably the most recent film of the year. I exited the cinema feeling overwhelmed and parched as if I’d been hammered by scorching desert winds and blinding sandstorms for two hours and 35 minutes. With its futuristic spaceships, enormous castles, and, of course, deadly sand worms, the universe of Frank Herbert’s book seems huge and immersive in a way it never has on-screen.
I’ve never been a big admirer of Denis Villeneuve’s technically brilliant but strangely soulless films like Prisoners and Incendies, nor have I bought into the idea that he’s the next Stanley Kubrick. Nonetheless, as the director of moodily ambitious science fiction films like as Arrival, his greatest film, and Blade Runner 2049, he is unquestionably well qualified for this task.
With dune, Villeneuve and his co-writers, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, have created a clear adaptation of a novel that has long been regarded unfilmable: Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean director, notoriously abandoned his dune in the 1970s, and David Lynch’s 1984 remake was regarded such a flop that Lynch even disavowed it. There was also a mediocre 2000 miniseries that recognized that the novel could be too thick to fit into a single film.
That might be why Villeneuve chose to divide ‘s dune into two films. This first episode is a mostly accurate account of a complex tale. Many millennia in the future, the cosmos has devolved into a massive feudal society – a type of cosmic Game of Thrones — with aristocratic families controlling various worlds. The desert planet Arrakis, or Dune, is the most sought since it is the source of the spice, a strong, life-extending chemical.
As the narrative begins, an imperial edict has been issued transferring the power of Arrakis from the treacherous House Harkonnen to its old foe, House Atreides. It’s a victory for the virtuous Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), but he and his counselors, portrayed by Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin, think they’re about to fall into a trap.
Timothée Chalamet is an excellent possibility for the duke’s son Paul, a spoiled royal heir who may be the “Kwisatz Haderach” — dune jargon meaning messiah figure or superbeing. The film, for the most part, maintains frank Herbert’s invented languages to a minimum. more about more about frank herbert
Villeneuve wants even inexperienced viewers to be able to follow along. He emphasises the novel’s ever-resonant subtexts of colonial oppression and environmental calamity. Even the minor characters have been cast with captivating performers like Charlotte Rampling and Stellan Skarsgard, who keep you watching even when the storey threatens to veer into abstraction. Lady Jessica, Paul’s mother, who escapes into the desert with him after House Atreides is attacked, receives a loving reception from Rebecca Ferguson. And Zendaya and Javier Bardem appear among the Fremen, Arrakis’ brutally repressed Indigenous people who will play a greater role in P2.
will dune 2021 have a sequel
dune movie is unquestionably breathtaking in terms of pure spectacle. The assassination of House Atreides is performed with sombre, quasi-Shakespearean grandeur. Then there are the huge sand worms that wound their way through the plot, so fascinating and hypnotic to see that you almost want to be devoured by one just to know what it’s like.
But there’s something vital lacking as well. Much of the narrative is progressed via mind-reading and mind control, so it’s a pity that the film never truly goes inside the thoughts of its protagonists. The graphics are spectacular, as they are in so many of Villeneuve’s films, but the storyline seems elementary; you get the impression that he’s handled his raw material without truly understanding it. In some respects, Lynch’s dune movie was closer to Herbert’s novel’s mind-bending oddity; it had a touch of visionary craziness that this film could use a bit more of.
Even though Villeneuve’s film’s dune is intentionally unfinished, the moment at which it comes to a standstill is strange and disappointing. Still, it whets your hunger for part two, provided it gets done; that depends on how well part one fares at the box office. I hope Villeneuve is given the opportunity to complete what he began. This first dune isn’t a terrific movie — or even half a great movie — yet film’s dune the planet is beautiful enough that I’d want to return.