“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert, DUNE
I’m going to start this off with a little bit of a lovefest for the director, Denis Villeneuve. He is one of my favorite working filmmakers and with each new film he helms only further solidifies his place in my movie loving heart. Dune is no exception. But more on that in a minute. I believe at some point in Villeneuve’s career, whether it be in the middle of or at its hopefully far off completion his name will be mentioned among the greats. He will be spoken of in the same regard as Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and so many other legends. He is a modern day shaper. He shapes the medium in which he is, in my opinion, a master of and does so with such commitment and assertiveness. We all have vision inside of our minds but so few can genuinely bring it to life in full form and function. Villeneuve is what modern cinema should hold onto, to believe in and to admire completely. I’m a fan if you couldn’t tell.
Often described as the novel no one can translate into a feature length film, DUNE is the diamond attained only by those brave enough to climb the mountain it sits upon. I believe Denis Villeneuve has reached the mountaintop yet again with his interpretation of Frank Herbert’s masterpiece sci-fi saga, D U N E. No one thought he could create a worthy sequel to one of the greatest science fiction epics of all-time, Blade Runner. But here we are years after the fact with 2049 regarded by many as equal to the original if not even better. I think it’s one of the best achievements in film in the last 20+ years. Maybe since the transformative Lord of the Rings trilogy graced the silver screen. But that’s just one man’s opinion of course.
I’ll admit I couldn’t really fathom a scenario where I left the theater once Dune ended where I was anything but enraptured by its magnificence. As we’ve already established, I’m biased. Sue me.
How could I not love this movie? It was the perfect setup for something amazing. I saw it on the biggest screen in Las Vegas with a sound system that literally shakes the ground beneath your feet. I sat in luxury seating with one of my best friends at my side to enjoy the spectacle with me. The audience was quiet and respectful. Perfect. Now for that last part about the audience being quiet, if they were noisy you would never know it. The score and sound design for this film is astounding. And massive. Hans Zimmer is destined for another season of nominations.
I think for so many reasons the word massive is such a perfect word for this first half of a hopefully-to-be-continued story of space and destiny. Everything about this film is colossal from the story to its breathtaking visuals and of course that score. It all comes together as if it were predestined like Paul Atreides’ future on the planet of Arrakis. It is cinematic narcotic injected into every movie lover’s veins.
For those not familiar with Dune, it tells the story of a young man whose family has been entrusted with protecting the most valuable and vital single element in the known universe. The only place it is known to exist is on the planet Arrakis, also known as Dune. This is a complicated, futuristic take on modern day politics whose behind the scenes antics often dictate legislature far more than any kind of public influence. It is about a young man seeing his future shrouded in mystery but still knowing full well that whatever awaits him will transform everything he understands himself to stand for and to be an example of. The boy that lands on Arrakis will not be the same man to determine the future of Dune. It will be the undertaking of ten lifetimes.
The cast of Dune is eclectic and a-list. It is an ensemble cast that makes you stand back simply to admire the collection of talent featured in such a groundbreaking film. Timothée Chalamet leads with the confidence and bravado of someone twice his age. He is a marvel that will entertain for decades to come. His performance as Paul is one of remarkable peaks that only promises that Paul’s second half of this epic journey is in the best hands possible. At his side is Rebecca Ferguson, someone who impresses in every role she embodies. She is a true actor in every sense and her performance as Jessica is not just commanding but plain badass. She plays a character that knows her abilities and displays them with the kind of conviction that a master only can. They are joined by Oscar Isaac who is one of the best working actors today. Josh Brolin is stoic and intimidating as a protector of the Atreides family. Stellan Skarsgård conjures his inner Colonel Kurtz as the villain determined to wipe the Atreides name from existence. There is not a weak performance among this collection of actors and it is a spectacle to experience.
So much of the advertisements for Dune have included an urgent demand for anyone interested in seeing this film to do so on the largest screen possible. They mean it. This film demands a screen as massive as it is and believe me when I say Dune is what theaters are made for. From simple, but gorgeous shots of Arrakis and the city that hides from the daylight is epic in its own right. Shots of gigantic spaceships fill the screen with pure imagination I think Frank Herbert himself would be proud of. And of course there is Shai-Hulud, the sandworms of Arrakis. Their scale is unimaginable. Their size is gargantuan and as unbelievable as a skyscraper’s scale and existence is to a caveman. To picture it is to see the impossible.
As the visuals ensnare you in the grandeur of its beauty, the score accompanies it with such immensity that in many ways all you can do is let it take you over. As the ground rumbled beneath me I was enveloped with visuals of distant worlds and sounds of a master composer creating yet another auditory masterpiece. I can’t overstate how impressive the score is and from the moment the film begins to second it ends these otherworldly and wholly epic sounds fill the room with magic.
Dune is a journey of mind, body and soul with a soundtrack to match. It’s a film that hype has surrounded and could potentially snuff out but instead is embraced by something worthy of that hype. The performances are award worthy as is the sound design, score and visual effects. Best adapted screenplay? Dune. Best Director? Dune. My favorite movie so far of 2021? D U N E
PLEASE SEE THIS MOVIE. The possibility of a sequel rests on the box office numbers. See it so we can continue this journey. Please.
Rated PG-13 For: sequences of strong violence, some disturbing images and suggestive material
Runtime: 155 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Stellan Skarsgård
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 10/ Acting: 10/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 10
OVERALL: 10 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Absolutely. Yes.
Check out the trailer below:
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