Review: Dune (2021)

5 Star.png
5 Star.png

#Cinema, #Film, #movie review, #Science Fiction

David North-Martino

Oct 25, 2021

Review: Dune (2021)

Review: Dune (2021)

Dune was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) and stars Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy, Little Women), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible, Doctor Sleep), and Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Spider-Man: Homecoming).

It’s hard to review a movie that’s incomplete. Dune was made as a setup for a sequel. The film covers roughly half the novel. Yet, there was no guarantee there’d be another film. The director took a chance, and the risk may have paid off. Those who like it might be in luck. There is talk that the next installment has been green-lighted.

I have to admit, I never made it through Frank Herbert’s novel. Maybe it’s because I was reading the author’s preferred edition instead of the original. And I’ve only seen segments of Dune (1984). That version is murky but has become a cult classic.

What’s easy to see is, if the material in this version of the film is true to the novel, then it looks like Frank Herbert’s Dune inspired or influenced Star Wars, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones), and even The Matrix.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, this is the second film this year (the first being The Many Saints of Newark) that seems to be shot like an HBO original TV show more than a theatrical film. I know I’ll get some pushback on that statement given how stunning many feel the visuals are rendered. This film looks incredibly small-scale despite the epic quality of the source material. Perhaps it’s the over-reliance on CGI

Timothee Chalamet plays Paul Atreides well. He grew on me in the role. I’ll forgive him for weighing a buck twenty. It's hard to take him seriously as a would-be warrior. Although, I began my martial arts training at 16 when I weighed about the same and always held my own. Perhaps he would as well.

Rebecca Ferguson playing Lady Jessica is also a highlight, as usual. I believe her in the role. I’m glad the director didn’t shy away from the darker aspects of her narrative.

Zendaya has virtually nothing to do but look mysteriously into the camera. She does her best with what she’s given.

Dune isn’t a slow burn, it drags. The major problem is that Dune is bland. Nothing much happens. There’s a lot of slow-motion camera work but not much going on. The cinematography is great but nothing interesting happens.

If you’re a fan of the novel or the original film, you’ll probably enjoy this version. As for me, I was pretty bored throughout the runtime. At least the ornithopters (‘thopters) looked cool, and if you know what to look for there are nods to the Filipino martial art of Kali!

Story Doctoring:

I’ll let you know after I finish the next installment. Maybe they’ll surprise me!

Rating: Three out of five stars.