Dune – Review


Logo for the movie Dune, credit to Dune movie trailer.

Dune was written by Frank Herbert in 1958 and remains one of the best-selling science fiction novels ever written. On Oct. 14 it was turned into a feature film by director Denis Villenueve and stars Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides.

The movie opens on the watery planet of Caladan, the homeworld of House Atreides, one of the many powerful families that control the universe. Duke Leto, head of House Atreides, is instructed to move his family to the planet Arrakis. Arrakis provides a key resource that allows ships to travel through space and time at lightspeed– melange, AKA “spice”. Before Arrakis was given to House Atreides, it was controlled by their rival, House Harkonnen. When Duke Leto Atreides and his son, Paul, the protagonist, arrive on Arrakis, they find the world left by the Harkonnens in shambles. After the Harkonnens assassinate the Duke, Paul is forced to flee the city and venture into the desert, where he meets the Fremen, the native people of Arrakis. 

The movie had a fantastic cast, beginning with the star, Timothée Chalamet, as well as other well established and renowned actors such as Jason Momoa, Zendaya, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård and Josh Brolin. While I loved all the amazing actors, I disliked that Zendaya was only in the movie for seven minutes, after being so heavily featured in the trailer. 

This Dune is the third adaptation of the novel, after a 1984 movie adaptation which flopped and a 2000 miniseries. 

The original Dune, which aired in 1984, was met with much criticism. Former readers and cinephiles alike disliked the film. Readers were very disappointed because although the movie had a similar pace to the book throughout the first half, the last half of the movie skipped over many major plot points. Those who had not read the book found the movie’s inability to explain Herbert’s complex universe confusing.

Besides the plot improvements, the new movie also had much better animation than the previous. The shields in the 1984 movie made the characters look like “Roblox” rejects, while the new shields were minimal and did not obscure the characters faces while still being visible. 

In the 2021 Dune, the movie followed the exact pacing and plot as the book and explained Herbert’s universe well. This did mean, however, that despite being two and a half hours long, the movie didn’t really surpass the exposition of the book.

While many found the movie boring due to the time it took to set the scene of the Dune universe, I think the movie was set up for a sequel quite well. I look forward to seeing all the Dune movies to come.

Final Grade: A-