Genre: Action | Adventure | Science-Fiction |
Runtime: 155 min
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson
Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
VISUAL EPIC SPACE EPOS, FLAT CHARACTERIZATION
Few franchises have been remade as the Dune series and did not gain positive publicity, written and created by Frank Herbert starting in 1965 and continuing the series by writing five more novels about the fictitious world. Even Arthur P. Jacobs, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Ridley Scott have failed to envision the world of Herbert’s Dune which inspired Star Wars with its organisms, hostile environments, and structures between different planetary governments. David Lynch was hired to direct the first imaginative version of the books, which failed massively on the box office in 1984. At the beginning of the millennia, a mini-series was produced trying once again to visualize the ambitious project, the world of Dune means.
After several attempts thereafter, Warner Bros has finally released a thoughtful and distinct version of Herbert’s massive complex world. With a budget of 165 million dollars, it is probably one of the few adaptions that is faithful to the inherit the story as it should be told. Maybe now, there are enough visual effects to compose the story effectively and not making it feel rushed, flawed, or effortless. And probably after 2-3 years, writing the story is thoughtful as most characters die at the end of the film. And the story is very simplified.
It’s a slow burn telling of how Paul Atreides prepares to inherit power from the duke, his father. In the novel, he’s a boy on 15 but at the time of filming, Timothée Chalamet was 23 years old. He’s not all charismatic and the much of the story, you can foresee up ahead with the ending. He doesn’t really sell the idea. He’s doesn’t really fit for the part of a young person for his role. He’s a grown man, yet he’s the lead in the story. Rebecca Ferguson makes a thoughtful and integrated characterization of the psychic mother Jessica, trying to teach and prepare for the future. Oscar Isaac does a solid impression of the duke. Jason Momoa and Josh Brolin, as Duncan and Gurney respectively have small roles but make cool fighting scenes awesome. However, Gurney Halleck is a major character in the ensemble.
There’s a lot of exposition and foretelling at the end of part one. There’s a lot of magical, science-fiction stuff and words and whispers and visions from dreams which maybe not be so easy to understand for an outsider of the Dune – universe. The characters, despite the extensive runtime, feel occasionally empty, flat and the writing doesn’t always convince.
The best part of this film, which often is the case with filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, is the visual part. The visual effects, the costume, the soundtracks immensely elevate the cinematic experience. Its storytelling about such a complex world with thousands of details comped down to 160 minutes feature, it’s not an easy task to do.
Even if the characters are bleak and an ensemble of several A-list actors, it works its way up. It set a certain tone of being in the desert, and some dialogue lines not always delivered so faithful and some stiff acting, it works. Don’t know how but, it’s an intriguing world to entering. The world is so vast to explore and hopefully, the secrets of the plot of the sequel will be kept more locked, than this one.