Dune (2021) Review

In 10191, Paul Atreides and his family the noble House Atreides are launched into war for the dangerous desert planet Arrakis between the native Fremen people and the enemy invaders and the former rulers of the planet House Harkonnen.

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*Original Title – Dune: Part One*

Duke Leto of House Atreides is the ruler of the ocean planet Caladan and is assigned by the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV to serve as a ruler of Arrakis and this is the only planet where melange or commonly known as “spice” is left and it is priceless and critical for interstellar travel. Everything is not as it seems though as they move to Atreides and Shaddam is very quickly to have double crossed Duke Leto.

Lady Jessica who is the partner of Leto and mother to Paul, she is involved with Bene Gesserit which is an exclusive sisterhood who have advanced physical and mental abilities. She was instructed to bear a daughter to be part of the programme. However her love for Leto she bore a son Paul. With his then double training he belongs to both parts, having visions and strange dreams which are possibly of what is to come in the future.

As we see what Paul goes through with the different training methods and talk of a chosen one, we are left wondering how and when he will show that this is all about him. Will we get to eventually see the girl that has been in his visions? How else will everything change for the family? I will openly admit that I really did not know much about the story before heading in and at times I felt very lost, I feel as though this is a film that will have to be watched a few times to fully get to grips with the different families, planets and then areas.

It was quite a slow burner though and a few times I did feel a little bit bored, but that didn’t last very long though as the next event would then happen. The way the dessert looked and attempting to cross it and avoiding the sandworms, a little dance will do right? The film is a visually stunning masterpiece and I was so pleased I made the decision to see it on the IMAX screen which was breathtaking throughout. Based on a novel it has always been thought that Dune just could not really be filmed as the 1984 film did not perform well with critics and this version has been built up a lot prior to its release. I haven’t read the novel so cannot compare it to that, but given the way the film has been received that is certainly a massive bonus.

It was very easy to see even prior to the screening just how all out they went in casting the film with very high profile actors and that more than paid off with so many familiar faces putting in some very impressive performances. Led by Timothée Chalamet and while he already has such a huge fanbase this is easily his biggest role yet, having not taken the lead on many occasions. It was more than worth the wait as he really does have a very engaging nature as Paul and quite possible the best casting for the role. His brooding nature fit perfectly in what can only be good character development throughout the film and set up for part two? Rebecca Ferguson has been in many genres of film and this is another in which she steals scenes and works so effortlessly with Chalamet.

Oscar Isaac has terrific screen presence and that is shown in this film in the best possible manner. Josh Brolin offers some good support as well, given his serious nature fits the character as well. Stellan Skarsgard is the ultimate scene stealer though, it even took me a few minutes to realise that Vladimir Harkonnen was him! Zendaya is shown more in visions/dreams than anything else and therefore doesn’t really have a whole lot of lines. I thought Jason Momoa brought a rather real charm to his role and lightened the mood on a few occasions. Javier Bardem another who was just about recognisable again offering some fantastic support.

On screen the film is credited as Dune: Part One, and all we can do is hope that we get Part Two? As already I am curious of what the build up is heading towards and quite frankly what is going to happen next. Obviously I have been searching for the novel, but then wondering if I would actually manage to read it or not. The score was truly haunting and outstanding and that was something that is still in my head days later and that is always a massive compliment to the Hans Zimmer who never fails to disappoint.

Was Dune worth the extra long wait? I certainly think so. Will everyone like it? Absolutely not and given the high ratings from the reviews we will probably see more people then not liking it due to the high level of praise. The best thing to do? Head to the cinema and find the biggest possible screen and make your own mind up!

9 thoughts on “Dune (2021) Review

  1. Loved it, incredible scale, once you settle in the story is reasonably straightforward but there’s obviously a lot of characters and ‘families’, all after different things, definitely needs another visit and on the big screen is – by far – the best way to see it, IMAX even better!

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  2. I found myself very glad I had read the book going into this movie – as it helped me make sense of the beginning. I imagine that would be a bit hard to grasp for people who aren’t familiar with the worlds and the political dynamics. Overall, I thought the movie was fantastic, I appreciate that it stayed pretty loyal to the book and I can’t wait for Part II. I’d say my only gripe was the score – I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I might give it another listen to see if it grows on me at all.

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  3. You make some valid points in your review, and I was very interested in your experience mindful that you hadn’t read the book. Curiously, my own experience was actually hampered a little by being so familiar with the book- while I obviously followed the film easily, I kept on being distracted by differences etc. and things omitted or changed. Very good film but I don’t think I’ll fall in love with it until I see it again, this time at home on the inevitable 4K disc next Spring. Won’t be quite the same minus the huge screen but in other ways I think it will be a better experience.

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    • Oh I can fully understand that happening because you have read the book, that’s certainly something that is difficult when you know the source material really well, noticing things that they have changed or decided to leave out.

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