The Awe in Dune

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?

An all-star cast with the ability to not just entertain but allure. I feel like this is what the Star Wars prequels and even Avatar were trying to do but fell monumentally short.

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 *****

26 thoughts on “The Awe in Dune

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  1. I did enjoy it a lot…but still wanted a bit more. Even after all this time, and seeing it on cable after the theatrical experience, I’m not sure what else I wanted. It just didn’t have the impact on me it did on you. That being said, I am very much looking for to the next chapter. This to me was a very good film and I’d recommend it to anybody. I suspect this is one instance where my expectations likely exceeded reasonable levels. Enjoyed this review, and glad you enjoyed the film this much as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Bruce. What you probably wanted was the rest of the movie/story. On second viewing, I thought the same thing. By the time they get to the boy-meets-girl desert scene, the movie drags. The sequel (currently being filmed) will make up for it. It’s too vast a story for a 2.5 hour movie. Thanks for discussing. I’ve been swamped with school and the two little ones. I miss the movie theatre!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Quite literally. This is actually a good time to take a break from movies, as the beginning of the year is notorious for providing decent duds. We’ll see. I’m lucky to have a wife who lets me sneak a movie in when the little ones are asleep. Of course, the odds of those requirements lining up are not promising 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynch’s wasn’t as bad as most claim it is, but this one is on a whole other level. I felt like a kid watching a darker Star Wars, and I really liked that feeling. I’ll be back for seconds and thirds for sure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Bailey saw the last Tarantino movie 5 times in the theater…”Once Upon ……”lol
            The Beatles Get Back…I will see it MANY times and if it was in theaters I would be going back.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That looks so good! Right up your alley too! I remember when Magnolia opened in 1999. I saw it 5 times in the theatre and brought a new group of friends each time. Always a fun convo about the ending 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            2. I did that with Jurassic Park when it opened…since being a kid and seeing dinosaurs that didn’t look real…all of a sudden come to life was great…it also helped that it was a great movie.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Yea I started to get tired of Spielberg’s later movies…they are so damn commercial but that is just him. I then realized…that is him all along I just didn’t realize it.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Yea that is me also. Am I wrong thinking that about him? He is a little too commercial for me now.


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