Dune is Like Watching a Hourglass Empty and Fill

The Stream: A bit boring and too slow paced.

The Big Screen: Looks beautiful and a big time cast.

The Final Bill: Big time frills with little payoff setting up a sequel.

– S2S: Movie Review
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Jon Spaihts (screenplay by), Denis Villeneuve (screenplay by), Eric Roth (screenplay by)
Stars: Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours 27 minutes
Production Companies: Warner Bros., Legendary Entertainment, Villeneuve Films
Platform: In theaters and HBO Max October 22, 2021

RELEASE THE SAND KRAKEN! Wait, that’s not the right movie. Anyway, long-awaited and overdue, this weekend we have a review of the movie, Dune. A second adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, that tells the story of a young man charged with leading before he’s ready. The synopsis of Dune as provided by Warner Bros. goes something like this: “Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet’s exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity’s greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.” I know that description has you on the edge of your seat! Let’s see how this blockbuster turned out.

I’ll be blunt, but it’s not to discourage anyone from seeing this movie. The movie is a bit boring and slow. It’s just the honest truth; and, quite frankly, parts of this movie feel literally stolen from the Dune (1984). Obviously, it’s images and ideas are adapted from the book, but my gosh, you can be a bit more creative with today’s technology. Nevertheless, I got pretty sleepy during this movie. At times, I felt like I was re-watching the same sandy scene over and over again. I realize that this is just the opening act for what will probably be a series or trilogy but some parts are a snooze fest. Also, do we really want to see another teen-become-leader film? My answer is yes but give me more, darling! I’ll admit that some parts of this movie are super intense, weird, and very pretty to look at. While I understand that there was a lot of set up to cram into this movie, I think it could’ve been shortened so that it felt more impactful. At times, particularly near the end, it seemed the weight of the moment was lost in the lack of urgency.

Nevertheless, the cast of this Dune is absolutely big time. You think about how big the set design, costumes, special effects are and then you’re like Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Javier Bardem and others fill out the cast. Wowza! And yet, I feel like we didn’t get the most out of each actor, except maybe Jason Mamoa. You, sir, are a G. Again, it’s like the rich only get richer. You’ll understand if the movie is nominated for Oscars for set design, costume design, special effects, etc. The budget of this film at a mere $165,000,000 pales in comparison to the production actually displayed. You have to think Avatar scale but much sandier. I could only imagine the box office hype and big numbers this movie would make sans pandemic. There are set scenes that are just breathtaking, individual acting moments that are worthwhile. One caveat is that that creepy fat bad guy was lacking creativity.

S2S: Official Rating Scale

Very long story short, the production and scale of Dune alone makes this movie worth watching. Yes, the movie is too long but do we ever complain about length with Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or MCU films? No, I guess not, especially if you are prepared to live in a theater for 2-plus hours. Dune has it’s faults but overall is a crisp, beautiful, creepy and updated world to dive into with a big box of popcorn for HBO Max, but just a bowl if you’re considering going to the theaters. Even if, it is just to get to the sequel to see how the story progresses.