*No twists spoiled of course…
Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence, only those who can conquer their own fear will survive.
“Dreams make good stories, but everything important happens when we’re awake.”
Glorious Cinema is back! That’s what everyone is buzzing about with the new Denis Villeneuve film Dune: Part One. Yes, I will refer to this movie as Part One because this is so clearly half the story, and it literally says Dune: Part One in the title card of the movie. Denis Villeneuve took on Frank Herbert’s so called “unadaptable” story and gave us an experience that we have not had since probably TENET in the theater. Like TENET which is made by a master (Christopher Nolan, The God), Villeneuve is one of the great Directors living today. His credits of PRISONERS, INCENDIES, SICARIO, POLYTECHNIQUE, ARRIVAL, and of course BLADE RUNNER 2049, show that he can do literally any genre, and amplify it to a level we have not seen before. So to see him take on DUNE was very exciting.
In the 80’s we saw another Master of Cinema, David Lynch, take on the story and the movie was riddled with production issues and to be honest looks pretty ridiculous these days. Villeneuve decided to do what was needed for the story and that was split it into to two and make it as big as humanly possible. Everything is filmed on location except for apparently only 2 total green screen shots, and Villeneuve filmed half the scenes it feels like with IMAX cameras, giving it that massive feel that it deserved. All of that is to help tell the story of the Atreides family and their inevitable betrayal. Of course, you can see the influence the novel Dune had on movies like Star Wars and the Matrix, but the story is timeless because it has relatable characters and a compelling idea of a messiah to an oppressed people. Oh and yeah there are massive Sand Worms too!
One of the cool things about this movie is the patience it has with the story. Every scene is very well thought out and gives us time to take in the incredible surroundings with our characters. It does not hurt to also have a Hans Zimmer score banging away and immersing you even farther into this gigantic, yet mysterious world of Spice Mining. However, the cast is really what set this movie apart with how many incredible young stars it has mixed with veteran faces. People like: Timothee Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem, and many more give this production a high level of talent on screen to go along with the masters working off screen.
Stock Up – Timothee Chalamet
This guy clearly is on track to be the next dare I say Damon or DiCaprio even. Hes only 25 and has already worked with Villeneuve, Greta Gerwig, Woody Allen, Luca Guadagnino, Adam McKay, Wes Anderson, and he will be playing Willy Wonka in a prequel soon. He is on the track to stardom and shows with this movie he can lead a gigantic franchise. He can already do it all and we will continue to see much more of him in the future.
Stock Up – Rebecca Ferguson
She is fantastic as Paul’s mom and has been on the rise for years now with movies like The Greatest Showman, Doctor Sleep, Mission Impossible 6, The Kid who Would be King, and even the new Men in Black. She has great chemistry with Oscar Isaac and Chalamet and I look forward to seeing her character in the second part of this story.
Stock Neutral – Denis Villeneuve
As I explained above this guy is just on a plane only occupied by maybe Nolan, Spielberg, Scorsese, Tarantino and maybe a few others as far as cinematic immersion. The way he makes his movies and the way he tells his stories is just so incredibly aesthetically pleasing. I hope he continues to make movies for a very long time.
*A couple other tidbits
- What’s the deal with Bautista’s character?
- If you were hoping to find more of Zendaya and Javier Bardem in this movie, you may be out of luck.
- The duel in the final third of the movie is incredibly cool and very well shot.
This movie is awesome in so many ways, even though at times it can be a bit hard to follow due to the source material. There is just so much there that shows cinematic mastery from the scope, the score, and the overall acting. I am going to waiting on pins and needles until the day they greenlight Part 2 because this story deserves its proper ending, to be told by this filmmaker.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find my Denis Villeneuve Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.