‘Dune’ Review- Does It Live Up To The Hype?

Dune‘ is the third attempt at bringing Frank Hebert’s science fiction novel to the silver screen. This time, director Denis Villeneuve partners with Legendary Pictures and Warner Media to handle the project.

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is the son of Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), a wealthy feudal lord, and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), a disciple of the Bene Gesserit, a women’s religious order. Leto has been named Lord of Arrakis, also known as Dune, a planet that holds “spice,” a chemical needed to help pilots navigate the vastness of space. He suspects the emperor placed him in charge due to the political nature of the situation. Paul is tortured by dreams of Chani (Zendaya), a woman from the Dune. When they arrive they meet up with Paul’s mentor Duncan (Jason Mamoa), who arranges a meeting with Stilgar (Javier Bardem), the leader of the local inhabitants called Fremen, who just want the desert to themselves. After a day of investigating the spice equipment, they are attacked by rival Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård), the feudal lord who previously ruled the planet. He swiftly takes back control, killing Leto and restoring order. Paul and Lady Jessica flee into the desert, hoping to find the Fremen and escape.

Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the novel. I did read it but did not find it as impressive as other sci-fi fans. Thus I skipped the David Lynch and Syfy channel adaptions. However, this version had a lot of hype built up to it, and seeing as how it was added to HBO Max, I thought I would give it a go and find out if Villeneuve could deliver.

From a technical standpoint, the movie is stunning. The visuals are truly stunning, even on the roving desert landscapes and the designs of the sets, wow. It was impressive. That goes for the sound editing as well. It was well done. Now, Hans Zimmer‘s score was interesting. While at times it complimented the scenes, other times it felt a bit intrusive but was nonetheless unique.

I often criticize Villeneuve’s pacing. He tends to allow things to go to a crawl with filler scenes that seemingly serve no purpose other than to show off his talent at capturing visuals. I was curious if he would do this with this film since the novel he is adapting is so dense. Turns out, no, he actually paced it very well. It was still a bit slow, but it made up for it with his ability to capture the tone and themes of the novel. It is not a perfect adaption, but it is a satisfactory one.

As for the cast, everyone does a good job. He did a good job of picking each performer for their roles. Josh Brolin as the cynical, but loyal House Atreides guard Gurney Halleck was probably one of the best actors in the film. Although, I do want to give a special shoutout to Timothée Chalamet. As the protagonist, he could have derailed it, but I applaud him for staying on track and delivering on every level.

Now, does it live up to the hype? Not really, but it is a solid and enjoyable science fiction film. You are entranced by all of the characters at hand and their motivations. From the beginning to the end, you want to know the next step of the plot and it keeps you engaged on that level.

Bottom line, Dune is a science fiction film you do not want to miss. The excellent performances, stunning visuals, and overall plot will keep you hooked to the movie.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Sci-fi violence, Some foul language, Disturbing images

FAVORITE QUOTE: When you take a life, you take your own.

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of The Resort and Nobody. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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  1. Also, they never quite get the Harkonnens right. Baron was better than the last 2 but they still don’t get the suspensor thing. He’s not floating THAT high up. LOL. But at least there were no heart plugs or Shakespearean transition poems from scene to scene. LOL. And where is FEYD! He’s kind of important. Maybe we’ll see him in the next movie (if they get there, which I hope they do).

  2. As I long time super fan of this series (My favorite book series of all time), and I’ve seen both 1984 Dune and miniseries Dune. This one was very well done. Visually stunning, great acting, and pretty good script adaptation of a dense novel (as you say). Slow pacing for sure. I would have liked it better if he spent more time adding in a couple of good scenes, like the dinner party, instead. But otherwise, I felt like the 2 hr 35 mins moved pretty quickly. I found more than one scene very moving – they did an nice job showing Leto’s goodness and his love for his wife and son. They did a nice job showing Jessica’s love for her son. Timothy did a nice job as Paul. I know he’s like 25, but he looks so young so he looked almost 15 and that worked very well. They did a nice job of also showing his relationship with his trainers – his only friends. I think they may have added bit too much information about Paul’s visions and his plans, sort of giving away the plot almost. But while I’ve read the books numerous times, I haven’t read them in a while so I don’t remember the details. Either way, I was very happy with it. My kids are 17 and 19 and never read the books or saw the other versions and they now want to read the books. Which is the same reaction I saw after I saw the 1984 movie when it first came out. I think that speaks to the fact that the story is intriguing enough to many people even if the movie adaptation sucks. LOL.

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