I’m gonna start this review by sounding like every knob. YEAH I HAVE READ THE BOOK AND ACTUALLY THE MOVIE IS SOOOOO DIFFERENT.
In all seriousness, I read the book a little over a year ago and watched the movie four days ago. Neither are exactly “fresh in my mind.” Nevertheless, this will not stop me splurging out my not so controversial opinion of this film.
I want to quickly start off with my opinion of the book.
Dune was definitely a big boy. For the first ¼ quarter of the novel, I had absolutely no fucking clue what was happening. It felt like a new character, planet or currency was being introduced on every page. I was continuously re reading parts to try and make sense of what was happening. However, what did grab me (this is has been said a million times I know) was the world building. Frank Herbet places you into a world that feels like it has existed for a billion years. And Dennis Villeneuve perfectly replicates this.
One thing about Dune that really surprised me was how ballsy Denny truly was. I did not expect him to throw the audience into this world as much as he did. But it worked. The audience (as validated by my family) is sitting there slowly piecing these tiny pieces of information together. Only about ¾ of the way through do I think anyone would know what is happening. As a result, audiences are glued to screen, afraid of missing any vital piece of the puzzle.
Quick sidebar. I hate when movies treat the audience dumb. Over explaining something can quickly turn a good movie into an average one. It ruins the audience’s trust in the director and is basically calling them stupid.
Similar to Nolan’s films, Denny includes this… well.. I don’t know how to describe it but it goes somethi- BWAMMMMMMMM. Yeh you get the idea. Usually, this feels over the top and misplaced. But Denny uses it at the perfect points. Only in moments of life or death does it really kick in. Consequently, you know some serious shit is about to happen. It also matches the expansive landscapes and huge ships that exist in this world. Plus, that subtle hint of bagpipes completely juxtaposes any sci fi soundtrack I have heard, just mmm… chefs kiss.
What made me truly love this film is one key aspect. The pacing. A lot of Dennis Villeneuve’s work seems to replicate a similar pace. Very slow starts and then dramatic finishes. Dune did not do this. Yes it has an extremely slow start and yes there is a dramatic finish. However, it is cut with these scenes of intensity that seem to appear out of nowhere. The box scene, rescue mission and dreams are perfect examples. The result is an audience that while may be slightly bored, has complete trust that the film is ramping up to a pivotal moment.
Before I spoil the fuck out of one scene, I want to talk about Timothee Chalamet’s performance. At the beginning of this film, I was confused as to what he was doing. I genuinely thought his acting was terrible. His performance seemed immature, annoying and over the top. But why did I doubt the King of hair himself, Mr Chalamet. I soon realised he was trying to be immature and annoying to reflect a moody teenager because that’s exactly what Paul Atreides is. As the movie progresses, this act disappears and he becomes the ruler he is meant to be. The fact that Mr Chalamet did this so subtly is a test to his skills as an actor. And also… he’s got great hair as well.
SPOILERS FOR ONE SCENE
I cannot finish this review without talking about one specific scene. It is the part where the Atreides family are in the sky with Gurney Halleck. Everything is going to plan until an arm snaps off the rescue machine as the worm approaches. The following 10 minute scene is probably my second favourite moment from film the whole year. It is some of the most tense and exciting action I have ever seen. The soundtrack, editing, performances and shots perfectly create this almost war like environment. Few films can put you on edge like this scene did for me.