Esther Rosenfield’s review published on Letterboxd:
i'm gonna sound like such a dumb guy nerd but full-frame imax is truly and genuinely the best way to see a movie. i would probably love just about anything in this format but villeneuve's style suits it pretty perfectly. so many massive tableaus of spaceships and sand, tiny little figures dotting the landscapes. i can't be a cynic: it's pretty breathtaking.
for the rest of it, i gotta say, it's honestly kind of insane that this movie was released in this form. 2.5 hours and literally nothing happens for the first 75 minutes. nothing but (very stylish!) plotting and brooding and pacing around. particularly loved the scene where paul and jessica have a conversation about the kwizatz haderach while standing about ten feet from each other, far enough that they're both almost completely shrouded in fog. that's what you go to villeneuve for, scenes where characters are swallowed by the weight of the world around them and the narratives they're trapped in. anyway yeah, insane pacing here. it lays low for over an hour and then all of a sudden it starts having a plot, and then just as that plot is getting going it just STOPS. like practically in the middle of a scene. it's unreal and incredibly ballsy, as if having the opening title be "Dune Part One" wasn't enough of a called shot.
i've been up and down on villeneuve before (quite like arrival and enemy, think prisoners and br2049 are quite bad) and while this certainly didn't make a convert out of me, i'll be in line for part 2 in a few years. 40 years ago there were dozens of guys like this in hollywood who were perfectly competent visual storytellers. nice to know at least one is still around.