Denis Villeneuve is one of my favourite filmmakers currently working; not only do I feel that rare hearty and childlike “ooh-we’re-going-to-the-cinema” excitement whenever he unveils something new (which, for a little while was somehow one a year, on average!) – but he seems utterly incapable of making any bad directorial decisions whatsoever. Every minute creative detail just feels comfortable and appropriate, from the tone to the juxtaposition – the pace to the presentation – all of it just feels right. And Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of my favourite books; a magnificent and imaginative epic with fascinating lore and some of my favourite world-building in any fiction. It’s the kind of classic work in which you can spot and pick out all the bits and pieces borrowed, stollen and homaged by almost everything of the same genre that proceeded it. If you haven’t read it then you’re seriously missing out on what is essentially (and I believe I said this in my review of David Lynch’s adaptation): Game Of Thrones set in a galaxy far far away.
So what do you get when you put Villeneuve in the director’s chair for another big screen stab at adapting Herbert’s novel to film? A masterpiece, that’s what you get. No hyperbole, no exaggeration, no letting excitement get the better of me or fanboying because I just want it to be good regardless of any issues and I staked my life on it – no! Denis Villeneuve’s Dune is as orgasmic to the senses as ingesting the Spice itself! It’s a once-in-a-blue-moon beast that makes me proud of my expectations, instead of regretful, as I could not help but unwisely dwell on my expectations due to my greater-than-usual excitement. BUT – Denis’ Dune did it! It matched what I was hoping it would be absolutely perfectly; based on my knowledge of the book, and Denis’ filmic works thus far, I created a picture in my head, a hope – a dream of how the experience would play out (a daft thing to do, as disappointment becomes the more likely outcome).
Somehow, Denis pulled it off, and made not only his best film so far, not only a worthy adaptation on par with the book, but one of the greatest science fiction space opera epics ever to embrace the great screen of cinema – I’m dead-fucking-serious. Denis recently caused a stir when he referred to Marvel movies as “copy and paste”, which led to the internet reacting with all the grace, understanding and intelligence of a conservative government run by psychopathic affluent toddlers (so basically just a regular conservative government). Marvel fans took to the web to review-bomb Dune and call it a, you guessed it, “copy and paste” movie – without having seen it of course; they just didn’t like what he said *that much, eh? This is the same crowd who’ve been calling Snyder Cut fans “toxic” for years… double standard much?
Even Scott Derrickson accused Denis of disrespecting other filmmakers’ hard work, is this what happens when you have anything bad to say about Marvel now? Starting to sound a little tyrannical there, guys! Whatever. If you ask me: these people need to grow up, and even if it’s not about Denis’ dig at Marvel movies for mostly being the same movie (about which he’s 100% correct, don’t pretend he isn’t because they *ARE, and barely just beneath the surface because the fucking things even all look the same, not just feel the same), and is instead legitimately more to do with his new Dune being a remake – then that’s fucking stupid too! Seriously, not only is Dune (2021) longer than David Lynch’s unpleasant attempt with only half the story (I’m implying superior story telling, structure and pacing on Denis’ part) but if you put the two movies side-by-side then you’ll find even less than no comparison in literally ever other aspect.
Again: I speak no hyperbole here.
I’m hesitant to go into plot details because, if you’re reading this, you’re probably already interested and are familiar with book, so I’ll stick to the cinematic nature of the new film, that’s what I think makes it so great anyway so no problem. That being said: where do I begin? Denis, Hans Zimmer, Greig Fraser, Joe Walker, and the entire cast – it’s like they all take turns being the auteur whenever their respected field is handed the spotlight. When the music is the point of focus – Zimmer made me wonder if I ever truly knew what a film score was capable of (he does that to me every time but this was something else!). When the cinematography takes the lead – Greig Fraser proves that the moving image is a God to be worshipped and revered. Then there’s Joe Walker, who edits Fraser’s mighty images together as if he himself were were a God of celluloid, using colour and brightness – abruptly contrasting them together as the story moves, going from the darkness of space to the bright white haze of the desert Arrakis and jolting your attention into full throttle. And holding it all together is Denis Villeneuve, a director of such grandiose skill and aestheticism – I wonder if Apollo, the God of Art itself, sent him here to bring peace to cinema!
The cast fit their roles to a T, also a H, a Z – the entire fucking alphabet! Timothee Chalamet plays the young Paul Atreidies as a young man with as many weights on his shoulders as a medieval prince with a heavy sense of morality and duty – appearing crushed beneath his inherited responsibilities as the future of his house, and the Fremen Messiah that is Muad’Dib. Rebecca Ferguson plays Lady Jessica exactly as I imagined her in the book – a character whose decisions would almost make her a scheming villain if her intentions lacked their purity. Oscar Isaac is perfect as the mightily pressured Duke Leto Atreides, Josh Brolin and Jason Momoa crush as Paul’s mentors and house knights: Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho, and my most anticipated cast member: Stellan Skarsgard as the antagonist Baron Harkonnen, is a frightening abomination of intimidating ruthlessness and horror.
This is a huge cast so I can’t mention everyone, but know that it’s the best cast to character ratio since the Lord Of The Rings. The giant Sandworms live up to their reputation as an ever-present force of nature to be feared above all else, and the make-up and visual effects that brought all of these larger-than-life beings, both human and worm, to life deserve all the applause I can give before turning my palms redder than those of a chronic masturbator! I could go on all day and night about how invigorating this movie was to my eyes, ears and soul, but this review would end up being longer than the source material so you can relax. So, to wrap up, go see Dune, it will give your eye balls emotions of their own and your ears will realise a new lease on life they never knew existed.
If it doesn’t do well at the box office – we’ll never get a part two and that’s just not what I want to see in the cinematic history books. I have no room left in my heart for another beloved franchise killed off too soon, like Zack Snyder’s Justice League saga, or the sequels to David Fincher’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. So help this film to do well, it deserves it, because it gets nothing wrong and everything right, it’s a stunning and masterful piece of art that I was ready to watch again as soon as the credits commenced. If it doesn’t do well and we don’t get a sequel, then I’m holding you personally responsible; yes, you! No not them over there: YOU!