Dune reviewed: A fresh take on a classic piece of science fiction

By Killian Maree

In 1965, Frank Herbert released a novel that became so popular, by 2003 it already had three attempts at turning it into a movie. This year, the novel was transformed into a blockbuster starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya and is being directed by Dennis Villeneuve, the man behind Blade Runner 2049.

The poster for Dune (2021)

The movie starts on the sandy planet of Arrakis, made up of barely habitable deserts that sit atop sandworms that could strike at any moment. Fremen are the only group of people who can survive on the planet without assistance; only after spending decades developing the technology to do so. 

Arrakis is ruled with an iron fist by the Harkonnens, a house known for violence. The Fremen and the Harkonnens fight daily for the limited resources the planet offers, leading to the Harkonnens getting tired of the conflict and leaving the planet.

This leaves room for the Atreides to move in, another house that has decided to take on the mantle of ruling Arrakis. Finally, we are introduced to our protagonist: Paul Atreides, played by Timothee Chalamet. As the family gets settled on the planet, they must learn how to survive by making peace with the Fremen, as Paul tries to “…Avenge the traitorous plot against his noble family [and bring] to fruition humankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream,” according to what is written on the back of the novel.

If one prefers a slower movie that takes more time to advance the plot over an action movie, then they will love this film. Personally, I enjoyed the movie but thought it was a little long.

Joe Paola, a fan of the book and movie, agreed with me. “…I thought it was a faithful adaptation of one of the most important science fiction books of all time,” said Paola. “It was shot beautifully and had an incredible score which made it easy to get lost in the world. Some of the dialog and characters felt flat – like they didn’t have enough time to develop – but overall I thought it was great.”

Many people did not appreciate the slower approach to the story. “The worst part of the film for me was definitely the pacing,” said Ryan Hinckley, a movie fanatic. “There were many scenes that I felt weren’t very interesting or very intriguing that just dragged the movie down since so much time was spent on them.”

A notable positive for the movie was the strong performances from the stars. Timothee Chalamet is a strong leading man, and it is hard to believe he is just getting started in the business. Zendaya’s performance was minimal, as her character is not introduced until later in the movie, but is also great. 

At the end of the movie, Villeneuve sets up an avenue for a trilogy that could become another franchise made up of huge blockbusters. In the end, I am looking forward to where Villeneuve and the cast take the story and hope the movies only get better. This movie gets 3.5/5 stars.

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