This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Orange_Famta’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The original Dune is one of my favorite Sci-Fi films of all time, and admittedly when I first heard of a remake I was skeptical,
But holy shit.
Dune (2021) is so much better not only than I was expecting, but also it’s far better than the original 1984 adaptation. Dune is a batshit insane series, and this movie will make you feel the same. There isn’t a single second I wasn’t asking “what the fuck?”. Not only is this a constant mindfuck from start to finish, it somehow manages to still tell a coherent story.
The main concern I had going into this was that it would suffer from having too many A list stars in it. I don’t know what it is about newer adaptations, but they always seem to have some big name actor in them and they spend half the movie on them almost as if to go “HEY GUYS LOOK, ITS GUY!!! ITS GUY YOU LIKE PLEASE LOOK AT HIM!!!! HES IN THE MOVIE!!!”, and seeing Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Jason Momoa, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac, and mother fucking Stellan Skarsgård on the poster had me dreading the constant slow zooms as the character turns around to reveal Dude McGuy, everyone’s favorite actor wow look at him. But then, to my surprise,
It didn’t happen.
The ONLY time that they seem to jizz over a celebrity is Zendaya in the vision scenes, but even then it makes narrative sense and it’s not always her, and when it is, it isn’t always focused on her. You could make the case that they focus on Timothée Chalamet a lot but like, he’s Paul Atreides, he’s THE guy, he’s the main character, it’s kind of necessary.
I think Dennis Villeneuve was the absolute best choice for Dune, and while I love David Lynch, Villeneuve has a knack for large, grandiose shots of incomprehensibly sized worlds or creatures, which perfectly fits the atmosphere of Dune. The many many scenes of ships traveling through space are some of the best, partially because they don’t focus on the ships or the people on them, they focus on the giant fucking planet in the background, that massively overshadows these insignificant little ships. The many panning shots of the desert are reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and are masterfully crafted.
My absolute favorite scene in Dune (2021) is one where Paul and his Mother are working their way towards some rocks when they see a Sandworm rapidly approaching. They sprint as hard as they can to the rocky alcove, tripping over themselves as the sand shakes and turns almost liquid. Paul barely makes it in time as the worm rises it’s massive body out of the sand, and there’s this single shot of Paul, standing perfectly still, in awe at the enormous size of the creature before him, and the Worm bend itself over and points it massive mouth directly at him, and he is entirely silhouetted by it, and the utter dread and feeling of helplessness is absolutely otherworldly. Shortly afterwards, a Fremen man (a race of native desert dwellers) sets off a ‘thumper’, a device which beats a steady pulse into the ground to attract worms, and it is the reason Paul and his mother survive the encounter.
Dune is filled with moments that will exhilarate the viewer, and then remind them that you’re not watching a Disney movie, this is Dune, fuck you, something has to go bad at every turn. You thought the woman would escape the imperial soldiers by epically riding a worm? Nope, fuck you, they slaughter her and then they all get eaten by the worm instead. You thought the last resistance of soldiers in house Atreides would push back the imperial and Harkonnen soldiers? Nope, fuck you, they all die horribly and helplessly. You thought Duncan would manage to survive as he is just about the greatest warrior ever? No, fuck you, he has to die so that Paul’s grandson who is a Sandworm and also basically a god and immortal can bring him back to life and then keep him alive for thousands of years and never find a better warrior (like I said, Dune is insane).
Dune left me feeling a very similar way that The Green Knight did, that being absolutely stunned and unable to process what I just saw. Really just an incredible film, and we’ll worth the price to see in theaters on the big screen. Dune (2021) is not only one of my favorite Sci-Fi films, it’s one of my favorite films, and definitely my favorite of the year. Im so excited for part 2 (assuming they’ll make it).