Movie Review – Dune – 2021 – Interesting Entertainer
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary (Storyline) – Dune
Lady Jessica Atreides: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.From the movie Dune
With a stellar star cast and a director like Denis Villeneuve at the helm, there were three ways Dune could have gone – Boom, Bust, or simply Average. It is somewhere in between Boom and Average not because of anything else, but because the basic kernel of the story is nothing that is earth-shatteringly unique. It is the treatment, however, that lifts it above the regular drudgery of movie-making. The movie is based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel of the same name and even though the celebrated David Lynch made the first movie based on the novel back in 1984, in my humble opinion, this is a better adaptation and more true to the original novel.
Normally, Sci-Fi movies take place sometime in the distant future, and this one, though written in 1965, is not far off the mark – at least ecologically. It is set in Arrakis – the Desert Planet, where rolling dunes of endless sand serve a chilling reminder of what Earth could become if we continue living the way we do, but that’s a story for another time. Arrakis is ruled by the fair-minded Duke Leto Atreides along with his consort Lady Jessica and their son Paul. There is reference to the Emperor who rules the known universe, and Arrakis’s biggest enemy are the people known as Harkonnens, led by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who are keen to annex Arrakis.
Paul Atreides: Dad, what if I’m not the future of House Atreides?
Duke Leto Atreides: A great man doesn’t seek to lead, he is called to it. But if your answer is no, you’d still be the only thing I ever needed you to be: my son.Father-Son dialogue from Dune
The Harkonnens want to take over their production of ‘Spice’ – their equivalent of crude oil and thus control the economy of this dystopic universe. What ensues is the visually enthralling onslaught on Arrakis by the powerful Harkonnens and how that battle unfolds and what, thus, is the future of the universe in general. The music by Hans Zimmer deserves special mention here as it really builds up the atmosphere and at times contributes to it as well. The technological advances showcased here – besides the spiritual references and ability to hear thought – are not too far away from what mankind has achieved already, barring free and open interstellar/intergalactic travel.
The visual extravaganza is best enjoyed on a cinematic screen, and thus the reluctance on part of Warner Bros’ on releasing this for the streaming services concurrently. Though, it is bound to happen. Coming back to the movie, this is only the first part which covers about half of the original novel, so there is a sequel coming in the near future and one hopes that it is just as good as this one is. The nagging sensation that this leaves behind is that as much as we talk and discuss climate change and ecological disasters, the reality will hit us sooner rather than later and the collective inaction of mankind will be the end of us all.
Conclusion – Movie Review of Dune
The acting, particularly of Timothée Chalamet, is the right mix of vulnerability and hidden steel, supported ably by Rebecca Ferguson and Oscar Isaac. The Baron, played by Stellan Skarsgård provides the right amount of menace but the acting cake is easily taken by Dr. Liet Kynes – played impeccably by Sharon Duncan-Brewster. The cinematography and CGI, and SFX are all excellent, adding greatly to the atmosphere and ambiance of the movie.
Without a doubt, this is a must-watch, and preferably at an IMAX near you. The grandeur of the visuals and the sound effects of the sand storm are otherwise completely lost. So, if you haven’t already, make your way to the nearest theater and enjoy this visual/total sensory spectacle!
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