Dune Movie Review

Story posted October 29, 2021 in

If there were a list of the most visually stunning and massively scaled movies of all time, “Dune” would now be on it.

Directed by Denis Villenueve, “Dune” is a science-fiction film based on a book of the same name. Set in a futuristic universe, it chronicles the physical and political challenges of the powerful House Atreides as they are thrust into a war for the planet called Arrakis.

Paul Atreides, the central protagonist and the heir to his family’s wealth and power, faces his struggles as he continuously dreams of the future and faces the realities of his true destiny to be the prophesized “Kwisatz Haderach”.

The film opens with a brief explanation of the general setting and the opposing family that previously controlled Arrakis, House Harkonnen. It is also explained why control of Arrakis is so valuable, the reason being that it is where the spice is mined, which is essential for interstellar travel and extending human vitality.

Paul is introduced, along with his mother, Lady Jessica, as they discuss and practice Paul’s mental abilities that she has taught him.

The Atreides family move to Arrakis and experience a vastly different environment compared to their home ocean planet, Caladan. The entire planet is a desert, lacks in water and houses extremely large sandworms that constantly threaten spice mining operations.

Duke Leto Atreides, Paul’s father, has aspirations to ally with the Fremen, a group of people native to the planet. Paul has dreamt of one of the Fremen, a woman, whom he ponders throughout the film.

Soon after everyone is settled on Arrakis, the Harkonnens, with assistance from the emperor’s army, attack the home base and retake control ruthlessly. Paul and Jessica are forced to go on a physical journey, as well as a mental journey, away from the attack.

“Dune” entirely immerses the audience from the very beginning with its incredible visual effects, cinematography, and score. Most of the scenes are shot at very wide and distant angles, encapsulating the scope of the location of a scene and completely absorbing the audience into the universe of the story.

One of the most impressive elements of the film was the music. Composed by Hans Zimmer, the score of “Dune” is a critical aspect of the film for the story, adding the perfect amount of suspense, sadness, or excitement whenever necessary.

Much of the music placed heavy emphasis on fast-paced drums and prolonged singing, making it one of the most unique film scores in recent years yet very characteristic of the talented Hans Zimmer.

This film demands to be seen on the big screen in that the music combined with the cinematography take the audience deep into the story through a remarkable theatrical experience.

The size and scale of the film can be truly appreciated in the movie theatre. The intensity and uniqueness of the score can be truly heard through the larger speakers and base.

While this film is a journey of self-discovery for Paul, it is done without adding a great amount of depth to his character. The film begins almost immediately with Paul’s conflicts being discussed, his futuristic dreams and struggles to master his mental abilities.

The audience does not get to know Paul on a deeper level, unfortunately, but it allows for the focus of his character to be put on his mission and his supposed destiny.

The scale of the film is undoubtedly gigantic in terms of not only its cinematography but also the entire universe in the story of “Dune”. For audiences who may have not necessarily read the book previously, the scale of the film can be overwhelming to understand and therefore overshadows the already complex plot.

Because of the amount of information that needed explaining in the film, the rate at which the plot developed began slowly and increasingly accelerated.

When the film was filled with more action was when some of the most beautiful and intense scenes were shown, such as the attack by the Harkonnens or the emergence of a sandworm.

The film requires heavy attention to detail due to the many factors at play, including the war between the Atreides and the Harkonnens as well as Paul’s developing mental powers.

Overall, the entirety of the film felt like a beginning. There is no true beginning, middle, or end. The main point was to construct the universe of “Dune” and introduce the audience to the key factors that are going to affect Paul’s quest and his eventual transition into a powerful leader and savior.

Though the movie felt like an enormous introduction, it remains an extraordinary story that leaves audiences begging for another.

“Dune” is a visual masterpiece. Denis Villenueve took great care in meticulously creating this film from the original vision of the iconic book. It is the ultimate science-fiction story that essentially sets up a promising future of films that will continue the journey of Paul Atreides for years to come.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Madison Imber is a second-year majoring in public relations. To contact her, email mbi5065@psu.edu