Denis Villeneuve’s Dune (2021) is a marvelous cinematic achievement that delivers on everything that it provides to the audience.
The long-awaited adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction novel, Dune, has finally hit the silver screen. What was supposed to be released last year is finally in our hands along with an already confirmed sequel coming October 20th, 2023. You can definitely say that audiences have been eagerly awaiting this film after its multiple delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, the film opened in theatres and on HBO Max as part of their day and date release strategy for this year. I had the privilege of being able to watch this film in the beautiful IMAX format at my local AMC theatre, which will live as one of my favorite theatre experiences of all time. Did Denis Villeneuve hit a home run or did the film fail to meet those expectations? Well, let’s talk about my current favorite film of this year.
Dune (2021) is directed by French Canadian director Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Sicario) and its screenplay is written by Jon Spaihts, Villeneuve, and Eric Roth. This film is the first of hopefully many collaborations between Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Greg Fraiser (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The film includes an ensemble cast of Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Joseph McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem. I was not kidding it is a stacked ensemble cast that includes some of the biggest names we have right now in the industry. Of course, Denis Villeneuve returns to collaborate with one of if not the greatest composers of all time, Hans Zimmer.
For those who do not know about Dune, the story is set thousands of years into the future specifically 10,191. Paul of House Atreides’ (played by Chalamet) father, Duke Leto Atreides, has been given the planet of Arrakis by the emperor of the known universe. Why is this important? Arrakis is home to the most valuable resource in the universe, the Spice Melange, which is needed for space travel and other aspects. Whoever ends in control of Arrakis ends up in control of the spice has some major power in their hands in the grand scheme of things. Arrakis is of course like most places home to an indigenous group of people called, The Fremen. The story unravels itself into a somewhat confusing at times film but is highly interesting from start to finish.
Dune (2021) is an epic in every sense of the word, from the get-go we are thrust into the story of this film to experience it in every ounce of its cinematic glory. It should be noted that this is the first part of a two-part film. Nevertheless, there was not a single moment where I was not completely invested in the film’s monumental story. The performances are fantastic and some standouts are Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho, Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides, and Oscar Isaac as Duke Leto Atreides but none of them compare to the incredible emotionally invested performance of Rebecca Fergusson’s Lady Jessica. The cinematography is exquisitely framed and lit. Hans Zimmer’s score is grand and one of the best aspects of this film, the music truly makes you feel like you are in Arrakis with these characters. Denis Villeneuve directs one hell of a film that cuts off at the worst possible moment because you just want to keep watching and experiencing more of this world that he is building. One thing is certain, Part Two cannot get here any sooner. I am invested one hundred percent in this franchise and I am sure that when the sequel arrives Villeneuve will surprise audiences again.
Watch Dune (2021) in theaters and on HBO Max until November 21st.