Movie Reviews: DUNE


Vedika Vinayak

The main Dune: Part One movie poster advertised at Regal Cinemas, Bellingham.

On Saturday evening, I wasted 2 hours and 35 minutes of my life and $15 watching the Dune – a poor excuse for a Sci-Fi movie. It is important to note that Dune is based on the epic science fiction series by Frank Herbert and that the producers are planning to release Dune: Part Two on October 23, 2023, which most likely contributed to the lack of resolution in the film. However, I do hope that the sequel will regain the dignity of the series that Dune: Part One lost.

Although the scenes had almost no connection to one another and left the audience puzzled over the justifications for the characters’ actions, I’ll try to provide a brief summary (with no spoilers). The film centers around Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet), from the House of Atreides, migrating from Caladin, his home planet, to Arrakis, the most dangerous planet in the universe, at the behest of the Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. He completes this migration with his parents, Duke Leto (Oscar Isaac) and Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson). Paul was born with the incredible power of the Bene Gesserit, which includes being able to command anyone to do anything using a “special voice” and seeing visions of a version of the future. As a result, he has immense pressure from everyone around him to use that power to save them from destruction. Once the Atreides arrive in Arrakis, they are thrown into a war involving the  Fremen (a skilled nomadic group inhabiting the desert) for “spice”- a drug that increases lifespan, vitality, and advances interstellar technology. Throughout the film, Paul dreams of Chani (Zendaya), a Fremen girl linked to him somehow, and a planet-wide war being fought in his name. For the spoilers, I recommend you either read the book or search up the plot to save yourself from wasting money and time.

Chalamet’s acting surpassed his prior performances when depicting crying scenes like the one pictured above. (Vedika Vinayak)

I will admit that Denis Villeneuve, the film director, was a genius in casting and marketing the movie. Most all of the actors were A-listers, basically forcing the audience to come and watch the awkward interactions between the characters of Chalamet, Ferguson, and Zendaya. However, Zendaya, marketed as the lead in almost all of the movie’s posters and trailers, had barely 10 minutes of screen time, leaving the audience feeling misled and robbed of her acting. Another moviegoer expressed this frustration, “The posters were misleading but simultaneously genius. People would obviously come for Zendaya, but she doesn’t even enter the movie until after halfway through!” Not only that, but Jason Mamoa’s acting seemed unprepared and lacking substance, especially when compared to Chalamet’s raw cries during tense and suspenseful scenes.

In addition, the cinematography, costumes, and production were unparalleled. The scenes panning over the elaborate and complex worlds made me feel like I was traveling along with Atreides. Similarly, the costume department clearly worked overtime for the unique and intricate costumes. The attention to detail definitely paid off when focusing on the sign-language scenes; the quick shifts to sign-language were nice changes from the predictable screenwriting. Emma Levine, a Franklin High School senior, felt conflicted after watching the movie. She admitted that “I found it hard to connect the events, and it was hard to identify the progression of the plot or even the purpose of the movie” but also believes that it fits into today’s socio-political issues, “yes, it brought up themes of destiny and fate, but it also focused on the consequences of resource competition, unequal distribution of it [resources], and stripping the land of it [resources].” 

The recently renovated Regal Cinemas. The business put in comfortable, recliner seats to help enjoy the show. (Vedika Vinayak)

Thanks to the recent renovation of Regal Cinemas in Bellingham, my experience was slightly elevated. At least I was able to hate the movie in cushioned recliner seats. If you want thrilling adventures, tears of laughter, a sad ending, or just a good film, then Dune: Part One is NOT the movie for you.