Dune: Finally, an Adaptation Worth Watching

Nov 2, 2021 | News, Uncategorized



Warning: This review contains spoilers!

We have come a long way since the “worst film ever” title in 1984 and then the forgettable mini-series in 2000.

Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel trilogy Dune has been waiting for the right film adaptation since the 1970s and we can safely say it has finally come.

Finding the right director and crew to execute Dune in a way that caught up audiences and actually gained a good reputation seemed impossible with responses to earlier adaptations failing to find their audience.

And Now…

Dune was released October 21, 2021, for UK audiences, and October 22, 2021, for US audiences. It follows a noble family who is deployed to watch over the production of the galaxy’s most valuable substance. It follows Paul, son of the great Duke, played by Timothee Chalamet who is discovering who he really is, why his family has been called to the planet Arakis also known as Dune, and where he fits into all of it. 

Admittedly, I went in as an absolute sceptic. I was ready to write a bad review and just be completely disappointed. In my defence, with so many failed attempts at adapting Dune onto the screen, it seemed like a bit of a lost cause especially after a documentary had been made about how terrible the previous adaption was. Basically, it seemed like no amount of “selling it” would in fact sell it. 

Honestly, it could be that my expectations were so low that I only had one way to go but I was thoroughly impressed. The film had a way of seeming like it was a slow start but by the time you get to the end credits you’ve found that you were actually hooked the entire time. 

There were so many elements that made this film great but I’ll focus on some of the main elements that I’ll still be thinking about and admiring after a few more times watching it. I’ll also talk about what it lacked because, to be honest, as brilliant as it was, it did have some things it could have done better.

What Was Good?

First of all the acting is brilliant on all fronts. Particularly with Timothee Chalamat’s performance as Paul – he just knew what he was doing.

Secondly, the music was made by film score extraordinaire Hans Zimmer who made a score that helped make the film that much more gripping.

Next the narrative – the storytelling was so well-paced. Earlier I mentioned how slow the film can seem until the end credits when you’ve realized that you’ve been hooked. With that said, the storytelling is actually really well-paced. Every scene is purposeful, which really cuts out any potential for boredom which can be hard to do with sci-fi epics like this one. 

Finally and surely not least the absolutely brilliant visuals. All hats off to Denis Villeneuve on a job well done with his direction but can we please point our applause towards cinematographer Greig Fraser Without Fraser’s cinematography Dune would not have been the same. 

What Was Lacking?

Now that I’ve covered the great things about the film here are some things that I feel they lacked. This is more specifically for the audience that has come in with no background knowledge into the Dune world. There were quite a lot of characters that clearly had some depth that some people just felt were misplaced. 

Some things that needed context like who or what the hell is the Bene Gesserit is. It’s kind of thrown out in passing as though the audience is already in the know about who or what Paul’s mom, Jessica, is. Then the movie ends without ever really clarifying anything about it. Granted, there will be a sequel and this is only the first half of the first novel in the trilogy but there still could have been a better set-up as to who and why she is important. 

This doesn’t just happen with Jessica’s character either but with other characters who seem to be “major” in the scheme of things like Duncan who comes and goes without us really knowing why we’re meant to have such a deep connection with him. 

Some Final Thoughts

The announcement back in 2017 that director Denis Villeneuve had got the film rights for Dune quite honestly had me on the far end of scepticism. Now that I’ve seen it, I now believe that a good adaptation of Dune isn’t only possible, it has just been done but it’s something that the Dune series and its fanbase have been waiting a long time for. 

With one too many failed attempts at making something good, it’s safe to say that Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was masterfully executed. From the great performances from actors, stunning visuals to cinematographer Greig Fraser, and the music from Hans Zimmer, we’ve finally got a Dune that is not only worth watching but is memorable. 

*You can catch it in cinemas or on HBOMax (with membership)

If you also like Dune and have been wondering about the sequel check out our article about greenlit production for Dune 2 here

By Rosa Wilcox

Twitter: @eawilcox_

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