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Dune: A visually striking sci-fi blockbuster

by Roisin Gordon. Published Sat 06 Nov 2021 12:33

Frank Herbert’s bestselling novel Dune has been long considered unfilmable by Hollywood, due to its intricate worldbuilding and numerous complex themes, with many failed attempts to adapt it to the screen, most notably David Lynch’s 1984 film.

However, in the hands of the masterful Denis Villenevue, who is easily one of the most exciting filmmakers working today, we are treated to a spectacular epic that can be viewed as on par with the likes of Lord of the Rings. With impressive visuals, powerful storytelling and wonderful performances from its star studded cast.

The decision to split the book into two films has proven to be a clever one, as the book is filled with so much detail about this rich and complex world. Part One really helps to establish the world of Arrakis and the rivalry between House Atreides and House Harkonnen.

Dune isn’t as action-packed as most blockbuster films these days, as it feels more focused on world building and its mythology which makes this feel like more of an experience. During its two and a half hour runtime, everything feels well paced and explained in a way that doesn’t make it feel like it is talking down to the audience.

The film ends on such a cliffhanger, that leaves you wanting more and feeling ready to take the next step with Paul Atreides on his journey.

The production design is breathtaking, from the oceanic planet of Caladan filmed with a blue tint that creates a cool and calm atmosphere, to the scorching and colossal desert planet of Arrakis. The set pieces are filled with so much detail and never feels overshadowed by the CG effects, which helps to bring this incredible galactic world to life.

All of this is complemented by the cinematography by the extraordinary Greig Fraser, who shoots many scenes in deep focus. Whether it be sandworms emerging from the ground or an ornithopter flying over Arrakis, it helps to create such a grand feeling so that you can fully immerse yourself in this incredible universe.

Timothee Chalamet is fast-becoming one of Hollywood most promising lead actors and his performance as Paul Atriedes is one of his best yet. He gives an earnest portrayal of this young man who is troubled by his prophetic dreams, whilst still adjusting to his new leadership role and you are prepared to root for him as the story unfolds.

Although Chalamet manages to hold his own as the lead of this blockbuster, the rest of the cast also turn in superb performances.

Rebecca Ferguson is equally as wonderful as Lady Jessica, who much like Chalamet has this enchanting screen presence that endears you to her. Throughout the film, you watch her becoming conflicted between her instincts as a mother to Paul and training him in the Bene Gesserit orders, especially in the scene that sees Paul subjected to an intense and deadly test by the Reverend Mother.

As for Zendaya, while she only features briefly in the film, her character feels shrouded in so much mystery that you know she will play a key role in Part Two.

Dune is a spectacular blockbuster that fully lives up to expectations, with a story and visuals that go hand in hand with each other. Whilst it is available to stream from home this is definitely a film that should be experienced in cinemas.

Purple Revolver Rating: 4.5/5 - An unforgettable cinematic experience


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