Denis Villeneuve’s masterpiece adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel “Dune” transports moviegoers into strange new depths of the universe with stunning cinematography and visual effects. “Dune” follows one young man’s journey as his family is sent to a dangerous desert planet to harvest the sacred spice Melange at the request of the emperor, whose motives may not be well-intentioned.
The film follows Paul (Timothée Chalamet), the son of the Duke of House of Atreides, a powerful and influential clan of which the Emperor is jealous, and the visions he has of a girl on the planet Arrakis. He learns the history of Arrakis, the planet the House of Atreides is now in charge of since the oppressive House of Harkonnen left after 80 years.
Paul finds out about his mother, Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), and an all-female, powerful religious organization called the Bene Gesserit, whose goal is for the chosen one to be born after thousands of years of genetic experimentation. Lady Jessica believes Paul is this chosen one because of his ability to see the past, present, and future like the prophecy says.
After settling into life on Arrakis, Paul’s visions intensify, being surrounded by the psychoactive properties of melange. One night, they are attacked by the Harkonnen, who are in cahoots with both the Bene Gesserit and the Emperor. After Paul and Lady Jessica barely escape, they decide to cross the dangerous desert planet to find the blue-eyed Freman, the native people who know exactly how to survive the planet’s harsh sands and giant sandworms.
With amazing production sets, costumes, and visual effects, it felt as though you weren’t sitting in the movie theater or in front of the television in your living room; it felt like you were there. Seeing it in theaters is a must if you can–the bigger the screen the better.
In large action sequences, the heavy bass of each explosion sent vibrations up from the floor, through your feet, and straight-up your neck. It was as if you were experiencing an earthquake.
A star-studded cast did not let down with any of their performances. Each actor was so captivating to watch. Zendaya, although not in many scenes, reminds us all how much of a range she has. Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa, and Stellan Skarsgård all gave fascinating and complex performances that left me not wanting to get out of my seat.
Villeneuve is a master at elevating cinematography and producing visually stunning works, seen even in his other films, “Blade Runner: 2049” and “Arrival.” Each rich, colorful shot is masterfully woven into 2 1/2 breathtaking hours that fly by.
It’s a film that sets up the next part, an aesthetically pleasing origin story that leads to the next part of the Frank Herbert novel. Even with the well-choreographed fight scenes, the film was dialogue-heavy, but it was a strength because it clarified the inner workings of this universe, which people who haven’t read the book could find confusing.
“Dune” is the must-see movie of the year. It is playing in your local theater and streaming on HBOMax.