Matthew Ramsey’s review published on Letterboxd:
I find this adaptation of "Dune" hard to properly judge at this time. First, it's only "Part One." Two, it's a movie of such awesome scope and thoughtful, mature storytelling that it took almost one whole day for me to fully process the experience. There would definitely be viewers who find "Dune" to be dull and too dense, but I find much more good than bad to be found in it.
The feeling of scale in this movie is unparalleled. It's not just impressive, it's scary-good! Many people highly recommend seeing "Dune" in IMAX, and I agree with them. The size of the tangible sets in the tightly composed images on the towering movie screen simply makes you feel, well, like a tiny organism in a vast and dangerous universe. If you can, please see "Dune" on the biggest screen anywhere close to you.
The pacing seems fine to me overall. It knows when to pick up the slack and when to slow down and reflect. While I did feel the time length in spots, there was never a point where I was bored out of my mind and wanted to leave the theatre. I was actually quite surprised to get the cue of the movie ending during its last scene. I thought to myself Are we almost two-and-a-half hours into this already?! I can see myself rewatching this soon either in a theatre again or on HBO Max.
Speaking as someone who has never read Frank Herbert's work or seen David Lynch's film adaptation from 1984, I was a bit lost on the details of the world-building and conflict. However, I was never overwhelmed, and I think I got the gist on this viewing. My advice to you is to be familiar with the premise and names of the major characters before seeing the movie.
When D.P. Gregg Frasier ("Rogue One", "Vice") was announced as this movie's cinematographer, I got skeptical. I wouldn't say that he's bad at his job, but there's always such a heavy use of gray in his style which doesn't appeal to me. With director Denis Villeneuve though, there's the right and distinctive look found here. The lighting ranges from harsh to soft. There's constantly changing locations and colors for certain sets. "Dune" manages to look striking and like it was left in the desert.
The story is in the hands of very talented people, including Hans Zimmer and the big cast (There's even a brief "No Country for Old Men" reunion for Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem). I can't say I was fully invested or engrossed by this. It did leave me kind of cold, and it did lean toward the dull side at times. However, I really don't want to discourage anyone from seeing it. At its best, "Dune" is intriguing, epic, and breathtaking.
UPDATE (4/1/22): I just had my first rewatch of "Dune", and I watched it on the television with my parents for their first viewing. My admiration for the feature has grown, and subtitles helped me to pick up more details. However, I still feel a certain distance between myself and the movie. I await for "Part Two" anyway.