Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Chang Chen, Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian, Charlotte Rampling, Babs Olusanmokun, and Benjamin Clémentine
Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
Dune is a visual stunner with an appropriately epic score, whether it be from sleek metallic armor to vast landscapes (there’s a breathtakingly tense wide shot of characters trying to outrun a sandworm) to the all-out war that breaks out during the third act (accompanied by slick acrobatic melee combat that is a splendor to behold).
On Caladan, Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet, showing new acting chops as the quiet type unsure of if he wants to take over for his father one day as a political leader and battle general, admirably wondering if anything really changes under different and so-called improved leadership) trains with his mother Lady Jessica Atreides (an empowered Rebecca Ferguson), a member of the Bene Gesserit, a sisterhood embracing the supernatural. Specifically, Jessica is in the process of teaching Paul an otherworldly voice power that functions as instant persuasion to do anything that’s commanded. Paul also undergoes more traditional preparation, such as swordsmanship sparring with Josh Brolin’s Gurney Halleck (a sequence that allows for the flashy touch of blue and red illuminations of the body, signaling protection or a fatal injury) and Jason Momoa’s Duncan Idaho (effortlessly the most charismatic of the bunch), who also doubles as a close friend.
Again, it’s also dazzlingly constructed with several fight sequences, aerial maneuvers, innovative equipment, and marvelous sights that elevate whatever familiarity and outdated tropes there are to be found. Dune is immensely watchable and does feel like the first half of something much more epic that could go down as exceptional hero’s journey sci-fi.
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Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com