An ambitious venture, “Dune” revives a failed franchise

Caroline Vranas, Staff Writer

A master of his art, Denis Villeneuve’s passion project “Dune” shines with its combination of star power and stunning cinematography. As an avid movie fan and watcher, I’ve seen many sci-fi blockbusters, but none as beautiful as this. The film showcases Villeneuve’s talent in the art of cinematography and imagination.

Based on “Dune” by Frank Herbert, Villeneuve’s adaptation is a masterpiece in comparison to the 1984 adaptation by David Lynch, three time Academy Award nominee, which amassed a whopping 30.9 million compared to its budget of 40 million. 

“Dune” stars Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, and Jason Momoa, along with many other acclaimed actors and actresses. The popular names might lure you in to view the film, but the action, acting, and cinematography keep you glued to your seat while watching. 

A slow but entertaining storyline, the complicated world building requires that you stay attentive throughout the entire film. While the film may be a bit confusing, the book it’s based off of is known for its difficulty to read.

While “Dune” has been released on both HBO Max and in theaters, it is definitely not a film I’d recommend to watch at home. If possible, I would definitely recommend viewing this in theaters to amplify your viewing experience.

“Dune” may be beautiful, but that does not mean it is without its faults. Zendaya, who was advertised extensively for the film, wasn’t included for more than ten minutes in the actual film, to the disappointment of many fans. 

Star power may be the way to get people to watch comedies or cheesy romantic movies, but in a movie where a whole new universe is being created, the use of so many famous actors and actresses can sometimes remove you from “Dune” and make you more focused on the actors themselves. It may have been a better choice to choose select characters to be played by stars rather than the entirety of the main cast. The use of this many stars may also not be the best idea when, spoiler alert, half of them are killed off in the first film of an upcoming duology or trilogy.

Speaking of trilogies, as it is revealed in the opening credits that the title of the film is actually “Dune: Part One”, the same fault that looms over every first installment of many trilogies hangs over this film. The film is setting up future films rather than being a valuable standalone, regardless of whether or not a sequel is planned. While “Dune” does a better job of being a standalone film than a lot of films with upcoming sequels, it still has the same faults as others of its kind.

That being said, “Dune” is still a great film. Villeneuve succeeded in making the storyline understandable, something past adaptations have failed to do. While cinematography may be Villeneuve’s strong suit, he has shown that he is also more than satisfactory at other aspects of film.
Overall, “Dune” is a must watch for 2021. Mixing the blockbuster formula and his own film techniques, Villeneuve has successfully made a film with a lasting impression that will leave you wanting more.