Ever since director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) announced that he would take on the Dune story, his movie became the most anticipated film of the last few years. The more A-list actors joined the cast, the higher the anticipations became. The more the release got postponed, the more hyped-up the film became. Now that Dune is finally out, the question remains: Does the movie live up to its expectations?
Welcome to Arrakis!
For those of you who haven’t read the novel by Frank Herbert or seen the previous Dune movies, here’s what you’ve missed. Dune is taking place in 10191 on Arrakis. This desert planet is the only place where spice can be found. To ensure that this precious product is being preserved, Duke Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac) from the House Atreides has been asked to take over Arrakis from Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgård) and to keep the spice production ongoing. While he’s fulfilling his new function, his son Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is getting all the attention. Ever since Paul was young, he dreamed of Arrakis and its Fremen. While those dreams seemed fictional, there might be a lot of truth to them after all.
Because of his real-life looking dreams and mind-controlling capabilities, Paul might be Kwisatz Haderach, who will lead the universe in the years to come. His mother, Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson), a member of the Bene Gesserit and who has special powers, is being tested by the leader of the Bene Gesserit, Gaius Helen Mohaim (Charlotte Rampling). As if the House Atreides hasn’t had enough to deal with already, their arch-enemies, the Harkonnen, want Paul dead because of his powers. The Atreides family is fighting multiple battles on different fronts, but how long will they be able to keep going?
Villeneuve takes his filmmaking to a higher level
We’ve tried to keep it simple, but we do get that Dune might seem a bit confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with it and its inhabitants. Once you get the chance to absorb the story, the characters and the different worlds, the film will never let you down. This is thanks to the incredible work by the Dune cast and crew!
First of all, there’s the striking cinematography by Greig Fraser. Suppose you have seen his work, such as Zero Dark Thirty and Villeneuve’s Arrival. In that case, you know that both men are experts in creating out-of-this-world cinematographic experiences. So you can already imagine what happens when they work together. Yes, we might be a bit biased as we saw this movie in IMAX (we recommend you do the same). Still, we’re pretty sure that even during a ‘standard’ screening, the cinematography will mesmerize you in an instant!
The special effects go hand in hand with the cinematography of a grandiose sci-fi movie like this one. The spaceships are gigantic and remarkable, and the palaces are splendid and extremely detailed. So yes, the special effects team of Dune certainly deserves all the praise it can get. Especially because of the scenes during which Josh Brolin (who portrays Gurney Halleck) pulls Chalamet into the spaceships during a rescue mission mid-movie.
Speaking of Brolin and Chalamet, both men are part of a massive and perfect cast. Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) puts on an excellent performance as Paul. You can see Chalamet’s confidence and Paul’s determination coming through life perfectly. Isaac (Ex Machina) is extremely impressive and emotional as Leto Atreides and Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Fallout) remarkably conjugates the Atreides family with a fierce and emotional performance Momoa (who portrays Duncan Idaho; Zack Snyder’s Justice League) and Brolin (Sicario) certainly bring the (dry) humour and strength to this movie in a beautiful way. Both Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting) and Bautista (Hotel Artemis) deliver villainous and electrifying performances as Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and Beast Rabban Harkonnen.
We’ve saved the best for last! For this movie, Villeneuve worked together with Hans Zimmer. With around 140 composing credits (including Inception), do we still have to tell you what a fantastic composer Zimmer is? Probably not, but we’re going to do it anyway! His Dune score is epic and incredibly bombastic. The drums and violins create undoubtedly pulsating and extraordinary scenes. After the handful of almost entirely silent scenes, Zimmer intense work feels even louder than ever.
Ready for Dune: Part Two!
When watching the movie, you certainly feel that this movie is part one of a superb and epic Dune-saga. It would be an absolute shame if we don’t get to see part two. Not only because there’s much more to discover on Arrakis but also because if the highly talented cast and the ultra-creative crew work together again, you will get another astonishing sci-fi rollercoaster.
Dune is out now in U.K. cinemas.
Rating: (4.5 / 5)