I never finished Frank Herbert’s novel; David Lynch’s movie adaptation put me to sleep; and I read enough about Denis Villeneuve’s latest being all set up with no payoff. This all being said, I went into Dune with no expectations because I didn’t think I earned them.
I left Dune wholly enthralled.
I was and still am in a state of veneration, dread, and wonder. I am awed.
To be only experienced in the theatre, Dune provides depth in its characters, a supporting character in Hans Zimmer’s thunderous score, and a third character in the vast desert setting of Arrakis (gigantic sandworms included).
Preparing “the way” for “the one” to probe space, past, and future is the umbrella narrative, much like The Force in Star Wars. Underneath this narrative are political factions, alliances, invaluable commodities referred to as “spice,” the inevitable warfare behind producing and protecting spice, and a father-and-son leadership to unite two misunderstood communities. It really isn’t that complicated, and Villeneuve seamlessly intertwines obligatory exposition elements with an unsettling spirit. Is this otherworldliness found in his trademark yellow-tinted lens? His timely match cuts to Zimmer’s dissonant, penetrating choral chants? Or, did anyone else observe an ominous ode to Marlon Brando’s Colonel Walter Kurtz in Stellan Skarsgård’s portrayal of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen?
It is all invigorating: Jason Momoa’s melee attacks with blue and red shield indicators, Rebecca Ferguson’s gaze and Zendaya’s blue, piercing eyes, the earth-shaking sandworms, and the fact that Timothée Chalamet effectively holds the epic story on his shoulders. Yes, this is just the first half of an intense, colossal tale, so it does naturally peter out in the end because it can’t actually be the end. This is not a fault but an inevitable yearning for more in the viewer. It is a wonderful problem.
As an indie flick fanatic, I am proud to call this grand sci-fi spectacle the best movie of 2021. I will be back for seconds, and I literally can’t wait until Part Two comes out. According to Villeneuve, what we saw was just the “appetizer.”
****1/2 out of *****