DUNE is a cinematic spectacle with fine performances. However the lack of buzz, long length, and confusing narrative will affect its box office prospects.

Dune (English) review {2.5/5} and review rating

Dune is the story of the son of an aristocratic family who may be The One. The year is 10191. It is a time when a group of planets are part of the Empire and they all set sight on the planet Arrakis. Arrakis is a dry, hot and inhospitable place and the only group of people living there are Freemen. They are dangerous and expert fighters. Still, all the planets are interested in Arakis because that’s where the ‘spice’ grows. It is an invaluable substance that prolongs human youth, vitality and life span and, therefore, is in great demand in the Empire. For nearly 80 years, Giddy Prime has been in charge of harvesting spices at the planet’s House Harkonnen Arrakis. But by order of the emperor, the manor of Arakis is transferred to the rule of the planet Caladon – Duke Leto Atreides of the House of Atreides (Oscar Isaac). Leto and his partner Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are parents to Paul (Timothie Chalamet) and the three prepare to move to Arrakis to take charge. Paul has mysterious dreams in which he sees the landscape of Arakis. He also sees a girl (Zendaya) and is unable to understand what the dream suggests. It then comes to light that Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, an exclusively female group that pursues mysterious political motives and produces seemingly supernatural physical and mental abilities. Jessica invites the Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit (Charlotte Rampling) to find out about the dreams that haunt Paul. His revelations have had a profound effect on Paul just before his visit to Arrakis. Leto, Jessica and Paul arrive at Arrakis and while everything seems to be under control, they are not aware that there is a sinister plan going on behind their backs.

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Dune is based on the novel of the same name by Frank Herbert. The story is complex and it is not easy to understand all the aspects. But overall, it’s a fascinating story and one worth adapting to on celluloid. The screenplay by Jon Spahats, Denis Villeneuve and Eric Roth is captivating. The writers do their best to explain to the audience the setting of the film and the dynamics shared by the various characters. More than action and scale, Dune is a human drama and the three writers deserve congratulations for handling it well. However, the writing stalls in the second half and some aspects of the film are never properly explained. The dialogues are deep and some of them can make the audience go head-to-head.

Denis Villeneuve’s direction is commendable. It takes a lot of courage to make a film like this and give full marks to Dennis with flying colors on this front. The film is a visual spectacle and this is one of its big USPs. Dennis handles this bit to perfection. Some scenes are exceptionally executed. On the other hand, at 155 minutes the film is very long. The first half moves for a moment but in the second half it can be felt that the film is moving and moving forward. Plus, it’s devoid of humor or light-hearted moments. This combined with the complex narrative makes Dune only ideal for specific audiences.

The introduction sequence of DUNE is a bit confusing. Things became very clear later when Paul had a conversation with his father. The sequence of Paul’s training with Gurney (Josh Brolin) and Paul’s intense conversation with Reverend Mother is memorable. The tension level finally rises in the scene where the Atreides group tries to save the members of a trawler from sandworms. In the second half, the film goes to another level as Duke is suddenly attacked in the night. Paul’s escape is dramatic. But the scenes of him running and searching for the freeman get a little long. The fight for the climax is tremendous. The film ends with the promise of a sequel.

Movie Review Dune English 1

Speaking of performances, Timothée Chalamet handles the lead role with panache. He looks dashing and gives a capable and subtle performance. Oscar Isaac is cute. Rebecca Ferguson is excellent and has significant screen time. Zendaya’s presence is charming but sadly she’s there for less than 10 minutes. She has a fan following and they will surely feel small knowing that she is hardly there. Charlotte Rampling made a cameo appearance. Josh Brolin OK Jason Momoa (Duncan Idaho) is entertaining as ever. Stellan Skarsgrd (Baron Vladimir Harkonnen) is in danger and his entrance scene is pretty cool. Dave Bautista (Rabban) doesn’t get much scope. Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Dr. Litt-Kines) is remarkable. Javier Bardem (Stilger) is decent. Stephen McKinley Henderson (Thuphir Hawat), Chang Chen (Dr Yuh), Babs Olusanmokun (Jamis) and Benjamin Clementine (Herald of the Change) are fine.

As expected, Hans Zimmer’s music enhances the effect. However in some scenes, the music is too loud and too ‘cinematic’ and it doesn’t match the scenes playing on screen. Greg Fraser’s cinematography is award-worthy. The desert landscape, in particular, is beautifully captured. Patrice Vermet’s production design is rich and one can really feel that the film is set in a different world. The costumes of Bob Morgan and Jacqueline West are unique and alluring. The action is great and thankfully, not bloody. VFX is top class. Some effects have never been seen before. Joe Walker’s editing could have been crisper.

Overall, DUNE is a cinematic spectacle and decked out with some great performances. However, due to the lack of discussion, lengthy length, confusing narrative and lack of humor and light-heartedness; It will appeal to only a specific segment of the audience.

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