“Dune” (2021)

MOVIE REVIEW: “Dune” stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Doctor Sleep), Zendaya (Spider-Man: No Way Home, The Greatest Showman), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina [2014], A Most Violent Year), Jason Momoa (Aquaman [2018], The Bad Batch), Stellan Skarsgard (Good Will Hunting, The Avengers [2012]), Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, The Avengers: Infinity War), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Fences, Lincoln), Javier Bardem (Mother!, Skyfall), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Imagine Me & You), Chang Chen (A Brighter Summer Day, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049), David Dastmalchian (The Suicide Squad, Ant-Man), and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years, Swimming Pool). It is directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival), who wrote the screenplay with Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange) and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).

Based on the book, this story follows Paul Atreides (Chalamet), son of a royal family who travels to a distant planet to oversee the production of a vital element to the galaxy.

Guys, I’m scared… there’s a chance I might be losing my taste for sci-fi epics. Of course, that sets the mood for what this review might entail, but this is a serious problem. For a long while, science fiction has been my favorite genre. But in recent memory, things have been shifting. Granted, my viewing experience of 2021’s “Dune” didn’t really benefit the film.

When word got out that Denis Villeneuve was directing another project, I was onboard. The man is a genius, a true master of his craft. Science fiction has been his realm for quite a bit of time, with movies such as “Arrival” and “Blade Runner 2049” proving his chops for the genre. I was gitty, though as time went on and the trailers of “Dune” kept coming… I became less interested. Not sure why. Could be other elements of my life that detracted me from movies in general. But the fact is, I wasn’t eager to rush to the theater to see this one. Hence my renting it on Redbox and ultimately watching it on the worst television (with motion blur smoothing to give it a soap opera look). Thankfully, I switched to a better TV halfway through.

“Dune” is an expansive story with plenty to chew on. It’s a visceral world that Villeneuve takes advantage of in the fullest. The costuming, visual effects, and set design make this eye candy (per usual), with the cinematography only complimenting it. It’s not my favorite movie of his in terms of visuals (that may fall to “Blade Runner 2049”), but it’s Oscar worthy for sure. The narrative of these separate houses being plunged into a war of a vital element to mankind (called “Spice”) makes for a sci-fi/fantasy lover’s dream, though I will admit to not being as interested.

I’ve told some people this before, but I believe I have been made inept in terms of fantasy world-building. The names, houses, realms, etc. of stories can be rather daunting to me. I can’t retain the information, and find myself zoning out. This has been an issue for a long while, and I do not blame the movies I watch for it. However, “Dune” just didn’t appeal to me as much as I would’ve wanted it to. All of the elements in place are pretty top-notch. The look of it, the direction, the acting; it’s enough to warrant a recommendation. There could very well be the possibility that I wasn’t in the mood to watch it when I did, but the fact remained that I wasn’t all that invested. As the story went on and we came closer to the third act, things picked up steam for me, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bored of the first half.

I’m sure I am in the minority. And being a reviewer means displaying your opinion to the public, no matter how popular it is or not. I want to give “Dune” credit where it is due, but I believe it would take a second viewing to appreciate it further. That’s if I get in the mood to see it. When will that happen? I have no idea. The fact that this is only part one (yes) makes me wonder how part two will fare. I would assume that I would like it more, given how the latter portion of a story tends to have more action and higher stakes. It’s not that I don’t like dialogue pieces. This one has some good moments backed by strong performances (my gosh, the stars attached to this project). I guess my mood for the night desired things to be more upbeat. Which is no one’s fault but my own.

At the end of the day, “Dune” is a sci-fi juggernaut that doesn’t come around often. The girth of this project is helmed with ease by the ever-so-talented Villeneuve and a cast that comes to play. Though I proved to not be in the best of places the night I saw it, I do admire it for what it has achieved, and believe I would appreciate it more given another viewing (that is why I am grading higher than I feel). If you love science fiction, you will grapple to this. FINAL SCORE: 84%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Dune” (2021)

  1. Pingback: January Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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