Sunday, October 24, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2021
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, Chen Chang, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, David Dastmalchian, Babs Olusanmokun, Benjamin Clementine, Souad Faress, Golda Rosheuvel
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
View Trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Following the wonderful "Blade Runner 2049", director Denis Villeneuve is back with another sci-fi feature, this time around, a new adaptation of the Frank Herbert masterpiece "Dune", which David Lynch tackled in 1984. The film, aptly subtitled "Part One", clearly indicates this isn't the full adaptation of the novel. The narrative introduces us to Arrakis, commonly known as Dune, where a rare spice is mined, one which allows for space travel. That concession of mining has been granted to the House Harkonnen for decades, which has made them wealthy beyond belief. They're also a virulent and cruel tribe, which has resulted in them trying to wipe out the Fremen, the original people of the planet Arrakis, who have tried to liberate their planet since the mining explorations began. The emperor, who oversees the ruling of the system, decides to grant the mining to a different house, the Atreides, who are lead by Duke Leto, who is surrounded by his partner Lady Jessica, mother to his son Paul, and a series of expert soldiers, including Gurney and Duncan Idaho. While Leto suspects of the emperor's intentions, they soon find themselves exploring the planet. Paul, who has dreamed of Arakis, and of its native tribe, has a dormant potential that the Fremen have long claimed for, a savior who will lead them out of oppression. As the Atreides settle in, they soon find themselves engulfed in a trap, which will take every resource they can, particularly from Paul and his mother, to defy a potentially mortal outcome.
While David Lynch's take on Frank Herbert's novel has long been a topic of many articles and conversations, particularly how the film was taken away from him, and edited differently than he had envisioned, there's still much to love about that feature. Denis Villeneuve and his co-writers, Eric Roth and John Spaihts, tackled the adaptation somewhat differently, essentially giving the narrative enough space for its main players to be firstly introduced, and for the relationships between those players to be sufficiently mapped out (save for the Emperor, who made its appearance early on in the David Lynch version, but not in this one). This film takes its time in establishing Paul's pivotal role in what will be the liberation of the planet, but does so while ingratiating him within the mysticism of the Bene Gesserit tribe, simultaneously showcasing his evolution of chosen progenitor, to someone with a higher purpose. It's a film that impeccably defines these universes, politics and rivalries, setting a series of plots in motion, all through the eyes of its young lead, someone who clearly has the heart, and the potential to be so much more for what lies ahead. This context setting and definition, may prevent the film at times of devoting more time to other characters and subplots, therefore giving them more dimension to their actual motivations, but it's nonetheless an impressively crafted film. The sprawling and superlatively talented cast does an impeccable work of bringing these characters to life, including Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Rampling and Josh Brolin. Javier Bardem, Zendaya, have little to do on this first episode, but will be interesting to see their journey on the second chapter. The production team on the film is peerless, including the beautiful cinematography from Greig Fraser, score from Hans Zimmer, production design from Patrice Vermette and costumes by Bob Morgan and Jacqueline West. A wonderfully crafted film, from a distinctive and very talented director.