Dune Shines with Its Awe-inspiring Visuals (Review)

Credit: Warner Bros.

Dune is a sci-fi book that has inspired many classic films like Tremors, Star Wars, Mad Max, Stargate, and many more. It has spawned a live-action movie by David Lynch in 1984 and the 2000 miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel. Decades later, Warner Bros. has brought Denis Villeneuve on board to bring the world of Arrakis to life on the big and small screen. The book is very dense, so the filmmakers decided to split the film into two parts. The first film has a running time of 155 minutes, which is longer than Lynch’s adaptation that covers the whole book. Villeneuve’s Dune definitely feels like one-half of the story, but it’s filled with epic landscapes and intriguing worldbuilding.

Dune features a large cast including Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem, James Brolin, and Dave Bautista. The film follows House Atreides, a noble family tasked with taking over the spice mining operations on the desert planet of Arrakis, aka Dune. However, House Harkonnen, which was previously in charge of the spice, has other plans.

Credit: Warner Bros.

The cast all do a solid job as their characters, with no one really shining above another. House Atreides is filled with characters wanting to do good. Chalamet plays Paul, the heir to House Atreides. Ferguson is Lady Jessica, the nurturing mother. Isaac portrays Duke Atreides, the leader of House Atreides and Paul’s father. Momoa is the excited warrior and Brolin is the serious fighter.

Skarsgård plays Baron, the grotesque ruler of the cruel House Harkonnen, and on his side are Bautista as Beast Rabban Harkonnen and David Dastmalchian as Piter de Vries. Their roles are very one-dimensional in this film, and they only serve to be the enemy to House Atreides.

Paul has visions of the future, and it includes a lot of Zendaya as Chani, a Fremen who will form a close relationship with him. Arrakis is home to the Fremen, who considers the other houses invaders. They have adapted to the harsh and hot environment of Arrakis thanks to the stillsuits that can keep the body cool and hold water.

Photo by Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

With the different types of people, the filmmakers were able to capture the distinct look of each. House Atreides has smooth and grand architecture, House Harkonnen evokes isolation and darkness, and the Fremen are known for their glowing, blue eyes. The worldbuilding is fascinating, making it the standout character for Villeneuve’s Dune with the breathtaking visuals including epic landscapes, sleek Altreides ships, rusty mining vehicles, and the vast sands of Arrakis. This is a movie that benefits from the big screen, and it’s truly a wonder to behold.

With the warring houses, expect huge battles. The team has crafted some really heroic fights and dire and tense situations in the second act. With the third act, the action is more intimate, which really hammers down the point that this is just one half of the story.

Photo By Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

Dune has influenced a lot of sci-fi projects, but as a film, it doesn’t really feel like it’s bringing anything new to the table. Remember John Carter, the live-action adaptation of John Carter of Mars? That property inspired a generation of superheroes like Superman, but it came a little too late. The same can be said of Dune.

Final Reaction

Dune is a majestic and grim sci-fi epic. It is just the first half of the story, and it feels like it even though the running time is 2 hours and 35 minutes. The standout is the awe-inspiring visuals like the ship designs, sets, and the grand Arrakis desert planet.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

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